Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a great take on the somewhat tired paranormal romance genre of young adult fiction. The wildly creative, borderline philosophical introduction to a series that was, unlike less-talented writers' work, transcended both the paranormal romance and the young adult genres. Days of Blood & Starlight, Taylor's second novel in the series, picks up pretty much where the first one explosively ended. While our heroine Karou is currently MIA, the novel gets moving around her. Her one-time angel lover Akiva is mourning her absence and trying to figure out his place in the war his people are waging against his beloved's. Her human friend Zuzanna is finding herself somewhat distracted by her violinist boyfriend, but is still worried over her disappearance. The novel starts out slower than its predecessor, and moves in a different direction. It's a very different reading experience, but not an unpleasant one. The series is moving from paranormal romance to some kind of fantasy war epic, and by the novel's finale it's clear that this novel is meant to be a transition book. If it had been a little shorter, it might have been dynamite. As it is, it's still pretty darn good.
There are a few plots that pop up over the course of the novel that might have been cut. One involving a small group of chimaera--Karou's group of animal-people--is interesting at first, but they eventually disappear from the plot with minimal resolution, seemingly unlikely to appear in future volumes. Perhaps it is the structure of the novel that made it a slower, more labored read than the first. When we finally do get to Karou's plot, her situation doesn't change too much over the course of several hundred pages. Situations around her, mostly regarding antagonist Thiago, change, but Karou's role in the novel stays stagnant mostly. Seeing the events of the novel primarily through Akiva's point of view would have been more interesting, as his role is more active in this novel.
Bottom Line: The first novel in Laini Taylor's series is a must read in young adult and fantasy fiction. This second entry is less essential for folks outside the genre, but makes for darn good reading nonetheless.
You can find Laini Taylor's Days of Blood & Starlight at your local chain bookstore, online, or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). Also look for the eBook download on your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Apple iPad.