Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
My rating: ★★★★★
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?
Oh my God! I thought the first book was good but this one was freaking phenomenal. I've said it before and I will say it again, Laini Taylor's writing is AMAZING. Every page turn brought something new and great and exciting. The structure of the story was perfect. The characters were perfect. Everything that happens was unexpected and shocking and made the story that much better. I literally had moments where I had to stop and process because it was just too much to handle. At moments, the book was so overwhelmingly great that I would sacrifice five seconds of reading so I could tell whoever was in the room "This book is so good! You have no idea" or "You seriously need to read this book right now" or "OMG!... OMG!" I've never been so enraptured or mesmerized by anything before.
Karou. Poor Karou. She's dealing with so much in this book and she blames Akiva for a lot that. She feels like she should hate Akiva but she can't deny the connection that is there. The entire book she struggles with her feelings for Akiva and I totally understand her. A part of me wants them to be together and have a happily ever after but at the same time I completely get why Karou is so resistant and why she's fighting her feelings. I think if I had been in her place I might have done the same thing. But being in her place is really an unfathomable thing because who knows what it's like to have all your people murdered and killed and to know that it was all possible because of that boy you loved. That's crazy, heavy stuff and I can't even begin to even try and understand what that is like. My heart went out to Karou and she struggled to figure out what it is that she should be doing and what she believed was right or wrong.
Akiva. I felt so bad for Akiva. Like I said, I really want them to have their happily ever after but I understood Karou and poor Akiva was carrying all this guilt around and trying to do what little he could to fix what was already done, the whole time knowing that it would never be enough. He's pretty much accepted that Karou is going to hate him forever and yet he still tries.
Zuzana and Mik were hilarious. I love the two of them together. They're just perfect and loveable. Speaking of lovable, Ziri! I don't even know what to say about him and what happens to him. He was the one likable chimaera in the camp and then BAM! Laini Taylor throws that twist in the end which I NEVER would've seen coming. I don't even know what's going to happen with him. There's also Rath. I really like Rath despite the very small time he is in the story. I hope he makes it into the next one. He was this vicious looking chimaera who was immediately assumed to be bad but he had honor and I liked that about him.
Don't even get me started on Thiago. I just wanted to punch his face. I wish I was powerful enough to punch his face and knock him around because... he's freaking Thiago! Same with Jael.
(On a side note, someone made a post on Tumblr saying that they imagine Jael playing this song while he commanded his army and I thought it was hilarious yet perfect so I'm going to share it.)
I love this book so much! I couldn't put it down and it was just too good. There is so much that happens in those 500 pages that if I talked about even just the major things I could go on for quiet a while. (This post would be 10x as long as it already is)
The point is, I was absolutely captivated. If I had been sitting in a chair while reading this book, I would have been at the absolute edge of that chair or fallen on the floor the entire time. Laini Taylor is a genius. Enough said.
If you haven't read this series, you definitely should.