A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Days of Blood & Starlight, the sequel to the romantic fantasy Daughter of Smoke & Bone, has the word "blood" in the title for a very good reason. It's much bloodier than the first book, with constant battles between angels and chimaera in another world that turn gory as corpses are mutilated and prisoners are fed ashes of their dead. There's also a scene of brutal near-rape. But the book doesn't contain mindless violence. It makes a strong point that war and violence just bring more of the same and that a hope for peace can live on. Other mature content includes talk of angel harems breeding bastard children as warriors. Strong languare is pretty light for mature teen fare: "hell," "damn," "bastards," and "a--holes," uttered infrequently.
What's the story?
Karou and Akiva, once forbidden lovers in other lives, are now separated by Akiva's betrayal at the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. But they fight for the same thing: the continuation of the chimaera race in Eratz after their near-decimation in the great war. Karou fights for the chimaera by resurrecting fallen warriors in remote Morocco to send them back into the battle through the portal in the sky above them. She makes each chimaera even more menacing than before with her trays of teeth and tithes of pain. Akiva fights by remaining in the angels' army with his brother and sister and finding secret ways to warn innocent chimaera that a slaughter is coming. But as violence escalates and more innocents are targeted -- angel and chimaera alike -- both Karou and Akiva realize their efforts will never be enough. The warmongering leaders on both sides need to go, and Karou and Akiva need to act.
Is it any good?
If you've arrived at this fantasy-romance sequel to see more wild and forbidden chemistry ignite between Karou and Akiva, you may be disappointed. At first. Then you'll get drawn into the story. It's bloody and gripping and full of surprises. And a few times readers are led astray oh so carefully (whose soul did Akiva find?), making the twists even more compelling. All that is surely enough to put true love on hold for a while. There's always Book 3, and the lead-in teases up some serious possibilities.
Author Laini Taylor's writing is consistently great, which is probably why she has an adult following too, along with the fact that with a heroine like the blue-haired, dead-raising Karou there's absolutely no pigeon-holing DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT into the trite angel-romance category.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the gore in this fantasy-romance series. Is it shocking to you? Do you think it helps the book make its point about violence begetting violence? Or do you think it's gratuitous?
Can you think of books you've read where the violence had little message behind it? Do you watch any TV shows where it's for pure entertainment value?
Consider this line from Days of Blood & Starlight: "Mercy ... made mad alchemy; a drop of it could dilute a lake of hate." Why is mercy so important? How does it play out in this story?
- Author: Laini Taylor
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: November 6, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 528
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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