Friday, November 16, 2012

A Story of Pure and Utter Beauty

"Once upon a time,
an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two."
--Laini Taylor, Days of Blood and Starlight

Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Little Brown, Books for Young Readers
Pages: 517 pages
Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Source: Bought
Find on Goodreads
Previous Books in Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Goodreads Description

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Wow. I'm a little shell shocked to say the least. After my marathon binge read of Daughter of Smoke and Bone I immediately picked up Days of Blood and Starlight...and the binge didn't end after the first book concluded. I finished this book in less than 24 hours...I really do probably need an intervention of some sorts but I'm still on too much of a high to honestly care. Whew, where to begin? At the beginning? Ok...

Days of Blood and Starlight starts with another amazing epitaph (is that the correct word?) that features the quote at the top...which also concluded Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Brilliance. Loved it already. I look forward to these little interluded epitaphs for the entire book. I just love love love them! From there we hear from the ever-entertaining Zuzana and Mik, get a glimpse into what Akiva is up to, and Karou...well, you'll just have to read to find out now, won't you? Yes...I really am this evil, muahaha. 

The second installment of this series is nothing short of the brilliance that was showcased in the first book. The writing does not disappoint. It is passionate, poignant, full of hope yet brutally honest about the consequences of actions...and unfortunately the consequences of war. Laini Taylor has this breathtaking way of writing that makes it feel as if she is reaching with her thurible into your very soul. Anguish and heart wrenching brutality is laced throughout the novel yet she finds a way to still make the story beautiful and poetic...that's a good word for her work...poetic. I find myself reading certain sentences of the novel over and over again because not only are they thought provoking, they are so profound and raw. My very FAVORITE quote from the entire novel is this:

"All matter came from the
explosions of stars."

Is that not one of the most beautiful things you've ever read? Soft yet hard, beginnings but also endings, strong yet intimate. I think I read it 5 or 6 times before moving on. Gah, love love love.

SPEAKING of love! I absolutely gush over how the different depictions of love are portrayed in this book. Sibling, parental, romantic, friendship, awe. It is all there in so many different ways. And how love changes and makes you better and want for better things in a world that is so wrought with hatred and anger. We see in this book how that in certain situations how love can mature from something superficial to something deep. How it can make you turn your back on everything you once thought right and fought for. How while it can make you soar so incredibly can also cut you down so incredibly low. While we do not get to see an ultimate conclusion of where all these different types of love end up I can only HOPE it turns out the way I want it to in my head.

The characters in this book are unlike any other. Deep, tormented, anguished, raw, loving and so much more describes ALL of them. Zuzana probably is my favorite character in this book. She is feisty and rabid (to quote Laini and Karou) and her comic relief in the book is just perfection. And the world building that Taylor expands on in this part of the story is uh-may-zing! Envisioning the different chimaera in my head is just cool. Nothing intelligent in my vocabulary there, just plain cool. And then I start to wonder what kind of chimaera I would want to be?...If you've thought this too, leave a comment and let's discuss because I actually am totally intrigued by the thoughts of creating my own chimaera body. 

 And the other thing that I LOVE (and there are a LOT!) is how torn I was about whose side I wanted to be on and who I wanted to inevitably root for. Both sides have done wrong, both sides have horribly evil people but both sides also have people that are so incredibly right. I feel like it is a true interpretation of what war really is. Neither side is ever faultless and each side believes that what they are doing is for the right reasons. Ah, the morality of it all!

But seriously. I got chills reading this book. I teared up multiple times. The whole book felt like a huge weight on my chest because of how emotionally involved I became. On one hand I could not read fast enough but on the other I just never wanted it to end! The characters are pure and raw and honest in their emotions and the entire book is heart-wrenching. Both good and bad...because isn't everything just that? Both good and bad... ;)

If you love gorgeous writing, fantastical worlds, and feels...this book's for you.

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