Days of Blood & Starlight - Laini Taylor I don't think I've ever tried harder to like a book than I did with Days of Blood and Starlight. Alas, it was a futile effort, one that I should've expected despite high hopes since I strongly disliked the first novel in the series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And although, yet again, Taylor ends with a cliffhanger that is making my finger itch to add the third book to my Goodreads TBR, I'm going to stand strong and resist. Because, honestly, why would I waste my time reading another overlong book in which I care nothing about the two main characters? The characters are my biggest issue with this series. Akiva and Karou, Karou and Akiva. Their story is a typical one, one of forbidden love and tragedy. The author herself compares them to Romeo and Juliet. But unlike Romeo and Juliet, who I sympathize with while also thinking, "Oh my god, you two are so STUPID," I care NOTHING for Akiva and Karou. It's not because they're unlikeable, though they are, like am I really supposed to be rooting for Akiva to reunite with Karou? Root for a boy who nearly killed her entire race because he was sad she died? Taylor goes on and on about how these two had a dream created by love, a dream of a world without war, but why should I believe that if Akiva so easily resorts to violent tactics when his love is taken away? That's a wisp of a dream; it's nothing. It's because they're just so painfully boring! I get it! You're angsty because your world sucks and people won't stop fighting and all you want to do is be together but it seems impossible! I get it! Taylor presents this as a highly unique condition, like these two are the only ones tired enough of this state of war to change it, so as a result it's their burden. But really, Akiva and Karou (especially Karou) do little about it. They mostly just wallow. I also find it hard to believe that it's just them desiring some change enough to take action. For the sake of Eretz, I wish it weren't just Karou and Akiva out to save the world because they're pretty poor heroes.The saving grace of the first novel was the beautiful writing. Beautiful is actually too weak a term. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Taylor's writing was a revelation. Romantic and gentle yet interspersed with bright flashes of vivid emotion, the prose was magnificent. I found it less compelling in this installment. I wondered if maybe she was rushed writing the sequel or if the shine had worn off for me or if perhaps, simply, I decided that even if the words were wonderful, I cared so little about their content that I wanted to skim rather than savor. This book is overly long for what happens in it. Like its predecessor, much of the action is crammed in the final 100 pages or so. There are some breathtaking images; I especially liked the description of Karou as "priestess of a sandcastle" when she lived in a Moroccan kasbah and this line: "perhaps Fate laid out your life for you like a dress on a bed, and you could either wear it or go naked." But again, these short strikes of beautiful prose are not enough to force myself to slog through a 500 page book. It's not a good sign when I desperately TRY to love a book and even then I fail. Normally I can find redeeming qualities, but after two books, it appears this series is anathema to me. I made it 2/3 through the series and am VERY interested in the third due to the cliffhangery events of the final pages, but I will resist! I will not be lured in by the pretty covers and titles or the playful blurbs, because this series is like a lie. It should be great, but for me, it never is.