I stopped reading Days of Blood and Starlight about halfway through. I didn’t want to read anymore. Every word I read meant I was one word closer to the end of the novel and I never wanted that to happen. And so I stopped reading. But then I started to hate myself a little bit because I wanted to read so badly. So I picked it back up and started to read.
<Days of Blood and Starlight is a book that doesn’t hide away from the ugliness of war. If Daughter of Smoke and Bone was about the relationship between Karou and Akiva, Days of Blood and Starlight is about the war that is tearing their world apart. It doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war. It throws them right in your face and makes you confront them.
In Daughter, there’s only a hint of the war that has been going on. Yes, it is mentioned, but Daughter mainly focuses on Akiva and Karou and their romance. It tugs on your heart in a sweet way. Days tugs on your heart frantically, trying to make you see the horrors of war. War doesn’t affect only those fighting, but it affects every single living thing. It only gets worse when those leading the charge stop fighting for what they view as right and start fighting for revenge. It is then that all the rules go out the window and nothing becomes sacred anymore.
Karou is everything I want in a strong heroine. She has her flaws and weaknesses, but she knows that. She uses her strengths to overcome and start working towards finding a better way for her people to live. She sacrifices what she has to and asks for help when she needs it. She knows when a battle is worth fighting and when it is smarter to concede the point and wait for the right moment to spring her attack. She is powerful, but not perfect, and that makes her the perfect character to read.
Akiva also shows his strength when it is needed. He knows the war in his world is tearing it apart more than putting it together and he wants to change that. Not for Karou, not for himself, but because he knows that this war is destruction and there is a better way for peace; one that doesn’t involve one side being obliterated.
<Days of Blood and Starlight is one of those extremely rare sequels that manages to not only match the first novel in its strength, but surpass it. It is dark, gritty, and raw, but it makes you think. It is easily one of the best books of the year. Days of Blood and Starlight is a must read over and over and over again kind of book.