Genre: YA fantasy, angels and demons, paranormal romance
Target audience: YA
My review of the first part you can find here
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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?
What I liked:
Not much...the curse of the second book, eh? Firstly let me assure you that angels and demons/chimaeras are and act as just ordinary guys and gals in this series which was a kind of relief. If you keep it in mind all the time you'll be fine. I was also rather pleased that the author didn't forget about humans and Prague although there was less of it than in the first part. I also appreciate that Laini Taylor tried to show the ugliness of the war and politics.
Liraz and Hazael I found the most likeable characters. Their change of heart and reticence to kill the chimaera felt real in comparison to Akiva's fickle compassion towards Karou's kin.
What I didn't like:
The romance between Karou and Akiva made me yawning too many times. Let's face it, the author continues with a Romeo and Juliet cliche at practically every turn PLUS a comedy of errors, not my favourite plot device either. Karou behaves like your average befuddled teenager - she struggles and is shamed and digs deep to find her inner strength again. But watching her struggle is boring because it is also predictable.
I thought Mik and Zuzana were pretty pointless characters. I don't even know why Zuzana had a POV, as she could add little to the story. I guess her romance with Mik was supposed to sweeten a bit the lack of hot scenes between Karou and her beloved but I didn't really care about either of them.
I was also surprised that one of secondary characers was named Festival. I swallowed Madrigal in the previous part because it was a less common noun but Festival, honestly? Can't you think of a more original, fresher name without so many ordinary connections?
Still my main carping and the thing that disturbed me the most during reading was the lack of intelligence among practically all characters. Karou is being deceived by the simplest trick on Earth and, although she now remembers her previous life and experience, she can't see through it, at least until the truth bangs her on her head. Akiva is an angel and a seasoned warrior, far older than Karou, but he behaves exactly as a teen boy would: he dithers and doubts his girl not seeing the obvious, he lets his superior to manipulate him into an assassination and then he has to bear very painful consequences. Honestly, has anybody out there heard about strategy and planning?
The baddies are no good either. Thiago, the leader of the Demons, is crudely cunning but not intelligent enough to hide his 'scorched earth policy' guerrilla war from Karou or at least find a good excuse for it. Finally in the end happens something which looks like a big plot hole: (spoiler, highlight to read) another chimaera guy called Ziri takes the control over the body of dead Thiago, killed by Karou during a rape attempt, in order to hide the killing from other chimaeras and let Karou live. Excuse me? How exactly it could happen, without a resurectionist, a necklace, magic, and so on? How come we haven't been told about it before?
I liked the first part far better. I fear in the last installment love will simply have to conquer all, especially the common sense, interesting narration and logic. Perhaps sweet but so boring...