I wouldn’t usually review an entire series together but I decided to binge them in a weekend and now I’m not 100% sure I can tell the difference between the books. Trying to do minimum spoilers but be warned the successive books’ reviews will probably reveal a lot about the one before!
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
I loved the premise of this series TEETH and PORTALS. How can that not be amazing? Narnia with a weird ram headed wish dealer.
I would have really liked to have spent a bit more time with just Karou being Karou in Prague, the world felt so intriguing and I loved the weird contrast between her time through the portals and her art classes.
One of the reasons I loved Karou so much (besides Zuzanna who is enough reason on her own) is she used wishes in exactly the same way I would use wishes i.e. turn my hair blue, give myself new languages and disappear tattoos I regret. She is a representative of the reasons teenagers would make awful magicians.
Akiva I was slightly less fond of, he seemed like a bit of a stand in for a personality, the sort of moody corner dwelling that seems to happen in MCR videos (not that I’m not a fan of that!)
The plot went a bit fast for my liking and I think it prioritised pace over character development, over all however, I raced through this book and I loved the world building. I mean, I’ve said already but, TEETH and WISHES.
DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—andwhat 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.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight 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?
I found the start of this frustrating, if the first book skipped character development you kind of understand why in this book as we are handed a completely different main character who has regained memories we’re only vaguely familiar with.
I think the most challenging thing about at least the start of this book is the amount of world building Taylor had to catch up on. In the first book she had written a fully functioning, rich, and interesting world. However, in this book she has moved worlds and has to start from the bottom.
Saying this I still thought the book was plotted well, I really enjoyed reading it, it definitely holds your interest. It was really interesting to start finding out more about the Chimeras, I was less interested in the Angels. It sounds weird to say I liked the pain tithe but I thought it was a really interesting aspect of the story.
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
So up until this book I was really enjoying this series. However, in this book I felt like the internal logic of the plot was lost. There are only so many times that you invent a new reason for your main couple to not be together and then used strange coincidences to push them together again.
The previous books had great narrative pace and interesting world building but when it came to this book it felt confused and overwrought. I feel like the plot really tripped over itself and the ending made little sense.