Friday, November 30, 2012

Audiobook Review - Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 2) by Laini Taylor (2.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 528 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 6, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316133975
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. A third book is scheduled to be published in 2013. I really did not enjoy this book as much as the first book in the series, it was just so scattered and depressing. Definitely don’t start with this book, start with The Daughter of Smoke and Bone or you will be totally lost.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was decent. The narrator captured different character voices well and was easy to follow. It wasn’t a spectacular audiobook but it was good enough.

Karou is still in shock from events in the last book and is using her resurrection skills to help the White Wolf, Thiago, rebuild a new and more gruesome army of Chimera to battle the angels and seek revenge. Akiva believes Karou is dead and is doing his best to atone for all the damage he did to the Chimera by diverting and undercutting some of the Angelic attacks he leads.

I had a lot of problems with this book. The constant POV switching kind of gave me whiplash and really broke up the story. The other thing that fractures the story is the erratic time changes and jumping around. Taylor will leave an event hanging and then come back some time in the future to resume that character's POV, then she'll have them go back to explain what happened in the gap after they've been telling the story in the current time. It makes for kind of a fractured mess.

The descriptions are still beautifully written at points and the world very detailed and creative. This world has become epic and massive. We end up reading about a lot of politics in both the Chimera and Angelic regions.

I still am having trouble enjoying Karou and Akiva as characters. Karou is so passive and makes the glaring error of never trying to leverage the service only she can provide to bargain with Thiago. She spends a good 3/4’s of the book whining and being inactive; when she does take action it is to destroy and distance those around her.

Akiva is a bit better, at least he is trying to help save lives throughout the book. Still it takes him a good 3/4’s of the way through the book to actually take decisive action. He is still way too emotional and angsty for me.

The two characters that really lighten, and at times made, the story for me were Zusana and Mik. Zusana and Mik do bring some light and fun to the story. They are both way more interesting than Akiva and Karou and a lot more fun to read about. I am still not entirely sure what the purpose of them being in the story was, but I do think the story was better for their presence in it.

Things are so dark and so violent in the story that at times I felt like the violence was more than actually necessary. This is one bleak story, so don't come to this book looking for anything even remotely uplifting. It is truly the most depressing book I have read this year. Some scenes are so violent and emotionally wrenching that they actually made my stomach turn. There is also an attempted rape scene that is very violent, so just a heads up.

Taylor over explains a lot of the characters emotions as well. It comes off as patronizing at points. As a reader we understand that the tears a character is shedding means they are sad; we don’t need the fact that they are sad spelled out in multiple sentences following the fact. There are a number of places in the book where I felt like things were over-explained and ended up rolling my eyes and thinking “okay I get it already. let’s get on with the story”.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, like the last one. Again I am not a fan of cliffhangers...I think books should have some sort of resolution so that readers come back to read a series because they enjoy the author’s writing and the story.

Overall I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I guess I didn’t realize how much I disliked this book until I sat down to write the review. I really don’t have much positive to say about it. I do think Taylor’s writing is beautiful at points and I think the world she has created is incredibly creative. I have problems with the bleakness of the story, the inactivity of the lead characters, and the way the multiple POVs and jumps in time fracture the story. By the end of the book I thought the whole thing was kind of a mess and really didn’t care at all what happened to these characters. Given all of my problems with this story I probably won’t read the final installment in this series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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