I practically raced through my reread of this. I’m excited to read the third book, and I’ve also been spoilered a bit for some of the contents, so I spent a lot of time reading very attentively, looking for the hints. It’s not an easy book to read, because you’ve come to care about all these characters and then dreadful things have happened, are happening, will happen. But it’s certainly interesting, bringing together strange alliances and showing us more of the world — this time, Eretz, the world of the angels and chimaera.
I forgot how much of a game-changer the end of this book is; honestly, in remembering Karou and Akiva’s relationship trajectory, I forgot about the political/racial plot a little. That is very much a part of this book, along with difficult stuff like choosing the lesser of evils, atoning for wrongs done, etc. It’s not just a book about a romance and the angst along the way. It’s also a powerful story about two races, both doing awful things, and how that awfulness begets more awfulness.
You’ve got to love the range of female characters available here, too, though the threat of rape is sadly conjured twice here as something to crush the female characters. Still, Liraz the asexual angel, Zuzana the tiny fierce girl whose love for her friend is her only qualification to be involved at all, Issa’s strength and love for Karou and the trust she puts in her, Ten’s unwavering support of Thiago… And there’s plenty of interesting male characters too: Mik, Hazael, Ziri, Thiago, etc.
Finally rereading the first two books so that I can finally get round to the third one without getting confused. Or that’s the plan, anyway. I wasn’t as wowed by this on a second reading, somehow; little things niggled at me more than they did when I first read it. Not so much plot things, just bits of description or interaction that didn’t quite ring true; things that seemed a little over the top. But it’s still an enchanting world, and a really quick read; it just skims past effortlessly, lovely images, little bits of worldbuilding, a lovely physicality of the love/attraction between Karou and Akiva.
Sometimes, I think it tries just a little too hard to be whimsical or affecting or magical. And then sometimes it works really well.
There’s a really cool array of characters, here. Humans and chimaera and angels of all different motivations and beliefs; loving relationships you can really believe in (particularly Issa and Karou, and Karou and Brimstone), with conflicts you can also believe in. There isn’t really any manufactured misunderstanding here, or silly drama; Akiva and Karou’s differences are real and deep, as are the differences between their peoples. There is a bit of black/white good/bad thinking when it comes to the angels/chimaera (I don’t think there is really a way to sympathise with what we know the angels have done), but there are also moral ambiguities. (Do you support the chimaera’s destruction of valuable archives? Their resurrections? Their magic, based on using pain?)
I’m looking forward to finishing the series, in any case; there is a lot here to enjoy.
Is it Saturday again already? Whoa. I’ve been catching up on blog stuff all this week, thanks to the readathon — which is not a complaint.
I have finally got round to writing a review of The Buried Life, which will be up soon; Cities and Thrones is the sequel. You can still check out Carrie’s post here from her blog tour for The Buried Life, too! I got The Eye of Strife via LibraryThing; I’ve been meaning to read Dave Duncan for ages, so this should be interesting.
I’ve been interested in Sword for a while, so I picked it as my win in one of the readathon giveaways. <3 Dreams of the Golden Age was my pick for another win; that hasn’t arrived yet, which is probably good, because I need to reread After the Golden Age, and I think my partner has my copy.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Drowning City are both rereads, to get me back up to speed for the next book in the series/trilogy. Crown of Midnight is obvious, since I just read Throne of Glass (but I’m sorry, I just don’t love it as much as some of you guys seem to). I have The Deadly Sisterhood somewhere, but goodness knows where. And I just like Susanna Kearsley.
Quite a contrast there between the covers, heh. I reaaally need to actually read the issues of Silk I have… I’ve been tearing through Kowal’s series lately, just in time for this last book. I’m excited!
I usually prefer to listen to audiobooks I’ve already read for myself, hence Among Others and Rivers of London (the latter of which I’d like to refresh my memory on anyway); Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes Our Genes is a new one for me, which I couldn’t really resist because epigenetics! Non-fiction! Science!
How’s everyone else been doing? Behaving yourselves?
Days of Blood and Starlight, Laini Taylor Reviewed on 16th June, 2013
Mmmm. I don’t know why it took me so long to get round to finishing this. There’s something very compelling about Laini Taylor’s writing, prompting me to read it in great big gulps. This was a harder read than the first book, emotionally, because here are all these characters you care for and they’re split up, dead, misled, in over their heads… There’s lots of pain and betrayal and more pain. There is still some hope left, at the end of the story, but it’s a battered hope. And when I started out writing that sentence, I wasn’t thinking about the double meaning there, given the meaning of Karou’s name. But that works, too.
I wasn’t expecting the ending — not the key event, anyway, the thing that allows some room for hope. I wasn’t thinking along the right lines when a certain character got involved and spilt all they knew to another certain character. I did guess some of the other stuff, but there was enough going on to keep me intrigued and on the edge of my seat.
I didn’t love this as much as I remember loving the first book, but I did like it a lot and I cannot wait for the third book.
This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is ‘Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To’. I probably just need to look back at my Netgalley account for this one, ha.
Willful Child, Steven Erikson. A spoof on Star Trek, by Steven Erikson? Yes, please. I had this as an ARC, but… Yeah.
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley. I’m just hangin’ my head here, guys.
Half a King, Joe Abercrombie. Uh, ditto.
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley. Had an ARC. Am terrible. ’nuff said.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Laini Taylor. I love this series. I think I might be a bit afraid to read the last book.
Landline, Rainbow Rowell. In fairness, I didn’t ‘discover’ Rowell’s work until Landline was already due to come out.
Illusive, Emily Lloyd-Jones. Superpowers! Heists! An ARC I still need to get round to…*
The Girl With All The Gifts, M.R. Carey. I think I picked up a library copy of this near the start of 2014. I dread to look.
Of Metal and Wishes, Sarah Fine. I’ve seen some mixed reviews, but I wanted to pick this up just from the cover… I don’t quite know why.
The Falconer, Elizabeth May. I picked this up a few months ago and still haven’t got round to it. Gah.
There’s just too many books, too little time, am I right?
*I should perhaps at this point note that I will get round to every ARC I’ve received, though in many cases I have to order them from libraries or buy them now that they’re no longer available to download.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor Reviewed 5th June, 2012
I’m not entirely sure what hooked me about this book. I just know that I picked it up intending to read a couple of pages, and put it down a hundred pages later feeling dazed — and had that same experience every time I picked it up to read it. Laini Taylor’s writing is good, with only a few points that struck me as missteps — the reveal of a certain character’s history being one of them; it felt wrongly placed in the narrative somehow — and a sense of humour, a good eye for the right details to include, and with an excellent pace.
It’s technically part of the whole trend of paranormal romances, with ‘angels’ and ‘demons’, but Laini Taylor doesn’t take the existing mythology and stick to it. Her worldbuilding is quite inventive. I loved the characters, too, particularly Brimstone: unsettling, fascinating, and comforting, all in one.
One of the plot-twists was obvious to me, but the reveal at the end took me a little bit by surprise. I’m looking forward to the next book, to see how everything is going to be resolved. And fingers crossed for more about the chimaera we come to know and love…
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)”. I suspect we’re going to see a fair amount of agreement on this one? I’m betting there’ll be plenty of “Hogwarts”, “Middle-earth”, etc.
Middle-earth (The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien) — imaginary. I didn’t say I was exempt from that.
Tywyn (The Grey King, by Susan Cooper) — real. And Cadair Idris, and… everywhere else that Will and Bran visit.
The Lost Land (ditto) — imaginary. It sounds so amazing, and I want to look in their library.
Fionavar (The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay) — imaginary. Okay, it’d be a little bit like Middle-earth, really. But still.
Camelot (Arthuriana) — somewhere in between. Possibly even both the imaginary courtly version to see the knights of legend, and the nearest real equivalent to see what it was really like.
Scotland (Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy L. Sayers) — real. My mother has actually traced the whole route of solving that mystery. I wanna.
Everywhere (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor) — real. All the travelling Karou does…
London (Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman) — real and imaginary. Okay, London Below sounds pretty dangerous, but also really cool.
Wherever Moomins live (The Moomin comics/books, by Tove Jansson) — imaginary. Because Moomins are cool.
The Clangers’ moon (Clangers, by Oliver Postgate) — imaginary. Because I can totally communicate in whistles and I wanna know what blue string pudding tastes like.
Night of Cake and Puppets is a short story/novella about two of the side characters from the main Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It’s not required reading, if you’re a fan, but if you’re impatiently waiting for Dreams of Gods and Monsters, it might hit the spot.
I didn’t find Zuzana and Mik all that inspiring as main characters — they couldn’t have carried a novel for me, at least not as they’re seen here — but it is very sweet and I enjoyed the quirkiness. I agree with another review I saw somewhere that mostly, there’s a problem with the fact that it’s a very straightforward romance. There’s no mystery or angst, which wouldn’t fly in the main trilogy, but it is a sweet little thing of its own.
Still, I can’t rate it as highly as the actual trilogy.
What did you recently finish reading?
Well, I’ve been reading like fury today, so the answer is a lot of things. The last thing I finished was Brenda Chamberlain’s The Water-castle; before that, it was Laini Taylor’s Night of Cake and Puppets. Reviews for both of those are coming up on the blog over the next couple of days. Suffice it to say that I’ve been having a glut of books today. People normally have chocolate cravings? I have book cravings.
What are you currently reading?
As usual, the key word would be “actively”, and I’ll stick to that. I’m reading The Earth: An Intimate History, by Richard Fortey, which I’m enjoying: I’ve now read a couple of Fortey’s books and I enjoy his somewhat rambling style that conveys his sense of wonder. I also started reading the biography of Beatrix Potter I’ve got from the library, by Linda Lear. I knew even less than I thought about Beatrix Potter, and am rather enjoying the sketch of family life I’m getting here.
Fiction-wise, I’m still reading Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Wizard’s Promise, though I haven’t picked it up in a couple of days. I really should, because I know I’m going to enjoy it.
What do you think you’ll read next?
The plan is to make a concerted attack on my ARC list before the end of Clean Out Your Ereader, so I think that will entail finally finishing up Seven Forges (James A. Moore) and The Holders (Julianna Scott), for a start. After that, I’m not sure. Probably The Darwin Elevator (Jason M. Hough), because I’ve been partway through that for too long, and Sandman Slim (Richard Kadrey), since that’s been hanging around my to read list for so long and I did start it a couple of weeks ago, only to get distracted.