Friday, March 15, 2013
Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Tags: YA, fantasy, angels, demons, love, war
…And here, my interest in this series comes to an end. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a heart-pounding whirlwind of an introduction into a magically complex double-world and a fascinating protagonist. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT took all that and beat it into the ground until it turned into dust. All. At. A. Very. Slow. Pace.
I think my interest started waning upon Karou and Akiva breaking the wishbone in Book 1. Since then, the narrative has drowned in a pathetic ocean of romantic angst. I don’t mind moping so long as there are other things going on in the story, but there’s nothing—repeat, nothing—to alleviate the patheticness that continues to emanate from Karou and Akiva. Karou spends the whole of Book 2 basically a prisoner in an isolated “castle” in the deserts of Morocco, helping Thiago exact his brutal plan of revenge against the angels. And yet I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for her. I probably could have if it seemed like there was more to her than just her apocalyptic feelings regarding Akiva’s betrayal. But I didn’t see it.
Taylor’s writing tries to take on this objective “observer” tone to allow readers to feel their own horror at the scenes of warfare that unfold. It only sort of works. A heart-wrenching chapter or two in the midst of more plot, more action would have been great. It would have been the literary equivalent of poignant silence in the midst of a Hollywood warfare movie. Instead, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT chooses to string several dozen of these chapters together to make up the majority of the book—with the result that its attempt to move readers into lingering contemplation over the horrors of the war gets drowned.
Poignant chapters, great love, and musings over war are all great, and necessary, but they need to be done in moderation. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT did not do any with moderation. And as a result it made what should have been an enjoyable, moving, and tear-jerking read into a slog.
Cover discussion: It makes for a cool movie-esque poster, but I don't really associate these titles with the books without those titles written in such a large font.
Little, Brown / Nov. 6, 2012 / Hardcover / 528pp. / $18.99
e-book received for review from publisher and NetGalley.