This book is a sequel to The Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.
If you have not read The Daughter of Smoke & Bone, do not read this review.
Days of Blood and Starlight
by Laini Taylor
Synopsis (via Amazon):Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.
What I thought:
The following is a quote by Robin Hobb taken from Laini Taylor's blog:
(Robin Hobb): Fantasy allows us to drop all our baggage and look at the big questions in the world with no preconceived loyalties. If I invent a world with two battling religions and neither one is yours or your friend’s, you can look at the conflict and think about it in an unbiased way. If we look at slavery in a way that has nothing to do with race or racial guilt or U.S. history, I think we can perceive more about what it does to both a slave and the ‘owner’ of the slave and the world it creates. Sweep the stage clear and set out the conflict anew, and you may end up surprised with who you are rooting for. Sort of like taking two football teams, and stealing all their jerseys and team equipment, and sending them out to play against each other as unidentified teams. Imagine a big bowl game in which you didn’t know who was playing or who you would normally root for. That’s what fantasy does to life.
Days of Blood and Starlight deals with exactly that, "The Big Questions".
Through this richly built world, we are allowed to see that not everything in war is black and white. While we have great sympathies for Karou and her people, at the same time, her methods, and the methods of her "superiors" are reprehensible. Even as Karou carries out Thiago's wishes, she can feel it, the weight of what she's doing, and how wrong it is... but she is driven by a need for atonement and revenge that outweighs her feelings of disgust at her own actions.
We watch characters struggle with what they are told is "right" and what they feel in their hearts to be right. We watch as they defy their leaders to embark on suicidal missions, rather than allow the helpless to be slaughtered. There is no true angel and no true beast in this novel, because each side has a little heaven and a little hell mixed into it, regardless of how we might let their looks define them.
For me, the end of this book is the most shocking and terrifying of all, because now that we have watched this world unfold, and seen what has been wrought by both sides of this war... the action is taken to our world, where I do not doubt that our own prejudice will cause even greater problems.
I am incredibly curious to see how far Laini Taylor will go in exploring this new aspect of her story. Will this be a Pullman revisited? Will we see a "god" die? Will we be South Americans looking at Spanish Conquistadors? Impressed and awed for but a moment as we struggle through our initial confusion... trying to align belief with reality?
One thing is for sure, it will not be a smooth ride.