The second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series was released this past fall to excellent reviews. At over 500 pages, Days of Blood and Starlight is not a small book and the prose inside does not make it a quick read either. However, the series that started with a strong entry has become perhaps one of the best contemporary fantasy series available.
Karou now knows about her past; she has discovered her connection to Akiva and she has heard the tragic news about the chimaera. Days of Blood and Starlight opens without Karou, however. She is missing and in the first ten chapters, readers see Zuzana still living in Prague and wondering about the fate of her friend, as well as Akiva searching the ruins of Loramendi and the Kirin caves in Eretz. Later, as we learn of Karou's fate, we watch the characters try to pick up the pieces of several damaged lives and attempt to resolve a peace that is no different or better than war.
Laini Taylor may just be one of the best writers working today. Although this series is labeled as YA fantasy, it does not read like YA. Karou is 18 and so the young protagonist leads booksellers to stock it with other teen titles. The writing in this series, though, is superior to most YA fantasy; it is really superior to most books being published. An example? It was one of those dreams that invade the space between seconds, proving sleep has its own physics- where time shrinks and swells, lifetimes unspool in a blink, and cities burn to ash in a mere flutter of lashes.”
This is a rare sort of a book and it is fortunate that it is part of a series, because that will mean more books like it. This is the type of book that reminds readers of not only the pleasure of reading, but of the pleasure of language as well. It brings the reader back into the process of creating images and sounds from words. Days of Blood and Starlight is highly recommended, even for those who do not traditionally enjoy fantasy. It is important to start with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though, as Taylor does not rehash more than is necessary.