FICTION

Days of Blood and Starlight

518p. Little, Brown. 2012. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-316-13397-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-21540-4.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up—Rebellion foments in secret places in this complex sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Little, Brown, 2011). The battle between chimaera and seraphim moves from one world to another as estranged, star-crossed lovers Karou and Akiva struggle to stem the rising tide of annihilation embraced by their respective leaders. While Karou attempts to resurrect the chimaera army in a remote Moroccan kasbah, in a parallel world Akiva desperately seeks to atone for his past by warning civilians fleeing the advancing seraphs. Occasionally overwrought language is leavened by humor supplied by Karou's human friends, Zusana and Mik, who arrive at the kasbah and make unlikely places for themselves among the resurrected chimaera. The dream of peace cherished lives ago by Karou and Akiva achieves a shaky foothold when chimaera soldiers and seraph rebels reluctantly unite to battle the greater evil: Jael, the psychopathic new emperor of the angels, who is poised to invade the human world in his search for powerful weapons. Assassinations, betrayals, and revelations drive the plot through decoratively ornate prose that sometimes slows the pace, but deepening characterizations anchor the action, and the emotional and political stakes are higher. Multiple worlds teeter on the edge of apocalypse, unaware that a curious magic is reaching out from past exile to affect the present. The rising tension of the coming battle overtakes the unexceptional unrequited love story to make this a suspenseful, satisfying sequel.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
Star-crossed lovers Karou and Akiva, torn apart by unforgivable betrayal at the end of Daughter of Smoke & Bone (rev. 11/11), are now engaged in the renewed war between the chimaera and the seraphim. Both are repulsed by the escalating brutality and the callous disregard for the sanctity of life but feel powerless to effect change. Karou has taken over the position of resurrectionist from her fallen mentor Brimstone, almost singlehandedly repopulating the chimaera army under the direction of Thiago, the ruthless White Wolf. Akiva, believing Karou to be lost to him forever, reluctantly takes a lead role in the fight against the chimaera. As one of the Misbegotten, the emperor's bastard children bred solely to fight and die, nothing less is expected of him. The first half of the novel is full of rage and anger, carnage and destruction; the second half is dominated by surprises and revelations that ratchet up the suspense and forge an uneasy alliance between the chimaera and the Misbegotten for the battle against the seraphim that looms on the horizon. If Karou's journey in the first book was characterized by coming of age and falling in love, here it has taken a turn toward personal sacrifice and emerging leadership. The future of Karou, her ill-fated romance with Akiva, and the survival of both of their races await readers in the concluding volume; it promises to be a doozy. jonathan hunt

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