Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, paranormal romance/urban fantasy
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy
1. Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Tori's review; Amanda's review)
2. Days of Blood & Starlight
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.
We find Karou in Morocco, having taken over Brimstone's job as the resurrectionist. The chimaera are rebuilding their army since the seraphim brutally attacked the caged city where the chimaera live and killed off a lot of them. The seraphim are now scouting the forests of Eretz, their home world, for any more chimaera that they can kill or enslave, with Akiva leading one of those parties. Flashing back to Karou, she is working to create new bodies for the chimaera army, who are being led by... Thiago. Oh yes, guys, the tension is high!
This book took me almost a week to finish, which says something because once I'm stuck in a book, I find it very hard to put down. I didn't feel that draw I felt when I read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, probably because I thought there needed to be more Akive & Karou moments! This book wasn't about them getting together - because Akiva was responsible for Karou's family's death - which made me both sad and happy, considering that I love that Karou had a backbone. But I still miss their cute romance from the first book. I also felt that this book dragged on a bit during the scenes in Eretz where Akiva & the angels are trying to flush out the chimaera. The best bits of the book come in the last third, I reckon, leaving off with quite a big cliffhanger at the end.
So, speaking more about my love of Karou: Karou is definitely one of those strong heroines who can kick butt and doesn't rely on anyone for protection. Karou finds solutions to her problems and carries on despite some pretty terrible losses and traumatic events that occur in the book. She's interesting in the way she handles things and I liked reading her inner monologue as she's funny and smart; a real pleasure to read, honestly.
Another dynamic that I loved was Zuze and Mik's adventures in Morocco. This couple definitely picked up the slack in the romance department and they make one cool team. These two are smart and resourceful and charmed the pants off every chimaera they met. Though maybe not Thiago...
I can't say much more about the plot without spoiling it all, but I'll say this: it's a great continuation of the first book and I loved the writing. There's something about it that made me love it, a kind of flow to it. Laini's writing is something that I don't come by often and I found it very refreshing because it was so... different and rich and good. Much better than some of the recent YA books that I've read.
My verdict: This book is a must-read due to several factors: the characters, the strong heroine, the plot and the writing that will sweep you off your feet. I loved it and hate that I have to wait so long for the final book in the trilogy!