Days of Blood and Starlight picks up after the events of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This is not the light romantic book you expect after reading the first one; this book is about war and grief and loss and consequences. It is darker and more depressing than the first book, but it is oh so good. I love the world Laini Taylor has created and I love that her formula for this series does not seem to be following a formula. This is not a happy ever after world; this is a world of slaughter and war and I don’t think anyone in this book is anywhere approaching happy.
The angels have burned the portals into the human world and have waged a violent war on the chimera. Most of the chimera have been slaughtered and those left are running for their lives ahead of the angels war machine. Akiva, thinking Karou is dead, is back in the fold of the Misbegotten. Sure he has his doubts about the killing of innocents but he is part of something larger than himself. We find out that Karou is not dead but alive in the human world. She has brought some of the survivors of the war to a kashbah in the desert where they strike at the angels in Eritea and where she has become the resurrectionist since Brimstone is gone. She is working with Thiago to create his army or revenants, but she is also wallowing in her guilt of the world she believes she created. Both Akiva and Karou feel responsible for bringing about this war and both deal with it in their own ways. They feel guilty that they dreamed of a better life; a life of peace where angels and chimera could live together. Instead they have a life of war and blood and death. Their relationship is doomed and their is no way they can come back from the genocide of the chimera people.
This book is heavy; there were times when it was so dark and depressing I really had to put it down for a few minutes. But I quickly snatched it back up because I was so invested in these characters and wanted to know how they were going to resolve the situation they found themselves in. Karou was so sad and shamed during the first half of the book that I came to realize how much I missed her character from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She reacts in such a true way to her circumstances that I am just in enthralled with her. Who wouldn’t be sad and depressed after the genocide of your people and realizing that your forbidden relationship brought it about. However, in the second half of the book she finds herself and her strength again and starts her quiet rebellion. Akiva doesn’t have quite as much character growth but in his way he too overcomes is shame and starts working for the better world they dreamed of.
This book ends with blood and hope. The war is still raging but some of the players have changed. Is there hope for Eritea? Is there any chance for Akiva and Karou? What is in store for the human world? I really can’t wait to see where the third book in this series goes.