Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Days of Blood and Starlight

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Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback 528 pages
First published 6 November 2012 by Hodder Paperbacks

Goodreads synopsis
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.
This book 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?

For those of you who want a review without any spoilers (even tiny tiny ones), don’t read this one because I fear that it has to many tiny tiny spoilers.

“Daughter of my heart,’ was the message Brimstone sent just for Karou. She wanted to cry again right here in the court, thinking of it. ‘Twice-daughter, my joy. Your dream is my dream, and your name is true. You are all of our hope.”

Re-reading this book absolutely made my week. Forget the beauty and the loveliness of the first book; this is grim, bloody and filled with war and backstabbing. But luckily for us there’s also a little bit of sunshine and rainbows (tiny tiny bit though)!

This book will take you on a magical journey to Eretz, where the war is seemingly over, but not entirely so because there is still some resistance against the power of the Angels. There’s detail about Eretz, a map even :D, and there’s so much more information than we had in the first book!

overjoyed-gifWe have multiple points of view (aside from Karou and Akiva) and they give us such a great picture of what goes on with the surviving chimaera, and within the Misbegotten angel army, among a series of other interesting scenes. Taylor isn’t avoiding the dreadful killings and the horrifying images either, she works them into her story to make us see what this never ending war does to both sides.
While all hell breaks loose on Eretz, Karou is hiding in the south Moroccan desert, in one of the kasbahs where she is a priestess of a sandcastle in a land of dust and starlight. Well, that’s certainly true, and what she is doing there is something that nobody would ever suspect.  I will not go into too much detail, but let me tell you that aside from the war there was also heartbreak and sacrifice on so many levels.

This book seemed to be all about the character development because it was simply a window into so many characters’ minds, it was just so confronting. Where at times I’d love to hate some of the characters for behaving the way they did (one of them I actually continued to hate no matter what, so that’s something), that moment of insight made me feel sympathy for them. I absolutely loved Karou’s character development because, in a way, her behaviour was completely understandable (even though she broke someone’s heart into a million tiny pieces… I don’t think that I have to name that person). It was amazing to see how she came from so far, dealt with a horrible situation that would probably make everyone want to run away and hide, and still grew stronger. Mind that this was not in a; o my goodness I’m such a specimen of pure awesomeness, I can get through this. NO. She learned it the hard way, and I think that most of the girls/women reading this book would totally support most of her decisions.

“Are you saying you don’t love me?” Hazael asked Liraz. “Because I love you. I think.” He paused in contemplation. “Oh. No. Never mind. That’s fear.”

Taking a look at my review about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I really think that this book was actually better than the prequel because my two conflict points were (almost) not existing in this book. Yes, there was still a lot of beautifulness, but this was contrasted with the internal ‘weakness’ and the struggle that most of those characters went through. In this sequel, beautiful on the outside didn’t immediately mean beautiful on the inside, and vice versa. Me wishing that there would be some more writing from other characters’ perspectives, which was my second point, also came true in this sequel. So, I should mention that I might even like this sequel better than the first book… shocking right? No second book syndrome here! (No idea what second book syndrome is and you’re thinking; Cindy… you don’t make any sense at all. Read this blogpost by Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs and she will explain everything to you).

Like the prequel, the writing was easy to follow, and I didn’t feel like there was any forceful adding of information, which gave a natural quick flow to the whole story. No chapters that were forced to be more than 5 pages (I think that’s just an amazing thing and that it should happen way more often… I don’t particularly like books that have about 100 pages per chapter… makes me want to crawl into a corner and cry).

All in all, the world building was splendid (again), my wishes came true (bringing me more points of view and less beautifulness in one way or another), and the writing was just as good as in the previous book. I might even argue that the writing was better than in the prequel simply because Taylor was able to write down terrifying events  in a way that made me feel sympathy for most characters. I give this book a shining 5 stars!

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Have you read this sequel already? What did you think? and if you have already read the third book; I’ll be reading it after my exams (because school needs some attention too I’m afraid). Leave your thoughts in the comment section below 😀

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