Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Published April 8th 2014 by Little Brown & Co

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.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

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?
Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the conclusion to the gorgeously poignant Daughter of Smoke & Bones trilogy.  I'm still mooning over the sheer beauty of author Laini Taylor's prose, her way with words... not to mention her incredible and overwhelming imagination. So fair warning: this review might  will involve gushing.

Where to even begin describing all the feels I have for this series?  I feel like it's all be said before so I'll try to focus on just Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I think it's safe to say that the conclusion Laini Taylor delivers here was surprising - to say the least.  The series seemed poised to set off in one direction and ended up just blossoming into something even more layered and mystifying than I could have imagined!  Some authors try to pack too much into the final book in their series - they try to surpass everything that came before and sometimes it can come off redundant: oh we had a huge battle in book 2?  Well we *must* need a BIGGER battle for the finale!  Laini Taylor managed to achieve a perfect balance here without rehashing what she's already accomplished previously.  The result is a wholly unique story that is simultaneously fitting to the DoS&B series while also managing to bring the series someplace completely unexpected.  It was strange and thrilling all at once!

The character development is easily one of the best aspects of Dreams of Gods & Monsters.  Honestly I'm still drowning in all kinds of feels for Karou, Akiva, Ziri, Liraz, Zuz & Mik...for how far they've all come since the start of this series.  Every single one of them grew so realistically and beautifully that just thinking about them all makes me misty-eyed.  The old days in Prague are far behind them all but it was incredibly gratifying to witness each and every one of them evolve so wonderfully. Of course, I still have a soft spot for my beloved Karou!  My heart ached for her terribly in Days of Blood & Starlight and seeing the feisty, creative and strong heroine she's become melts my heart.  Naturally, I can't speak about melting hearts without thinking of Akiva.  Oh how I adore you Akiva with your fiery eyes, tortured soul and your unflinching devotion to Karou *swoon*  I believe in Akiva and Karou - they're one of my favorite fictional couples of all time.

This time around though, the story was spread out a bit more so we got to know a lot of beloved secondary characters even more.  Like Ziri, Liraz, Zuz & Mik.  Having already fallen totally in love with Mik & Zuz's love story in the Night of Cake & Puppets novella, I was happy to see them both still at the forefront in this one.  The rabid fairy and her violin boy definitely brought it for the finale: they became legendary and it was awesome.  Ziri for his part crushed me with feels in book 2 and I was shattered all over again in  Dreams of Gods & Monsters. That boy has my heart for ever.  And Liraz.  Oh gods, Liraz had me by the feels as well throughout this one.  I have to give all the props to Laini Taylor for giving us a host of so many incredible characters!

Another aspect where Dreams of Gods & Monsters shined?  Creating moments.  Memorable, delicious, moments.  Ominous, blood-curling moments.  Earth-shattering, heart-pounding moments.  All the best and worst kinds of moments you could possibly imagine in your dizziest daydreams.  The story itself read very much like a slow-burn romance would (ideally) develop...I was hooked from the very first pages where it began setting the tone for what was to come.  The more I read, the more the entirety of the world, it's characters and their collective moments began to take up space in my mind.  If I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about it constantly.  As I got closer to the end, it was almost torturous in how many emotions it brought on: anticipation, dread, excitement, fear and, as always hope. ♥

If I'm being totally honest (which I am), the resolution between the 'Gods & Monsters' so to speak, was a tad bit anti-climactic,  in the sense that the crux of it all was more or less resolved behind the scenes.  This served to fully incorporate a new element to the story - and a new threat.  While I would have liked more information on how everything was wrapped up so neatly, I was also fascinated by the direction Laini Taylor opted to go with the story.  I feel like we might have benefited from another book to wrap everything up nicely and get all that extra info that I'm still craving. Despite that, I finished Dreams of Gods & Monsters feeling blissfully satisfied.  We all knew Laini Taylor wasn't going to deliver a typical candy-coated ending and I love her all the more for taking her story in such a surprising direction.  I pray to the angels and chimeras that we'll eventually get more stories set in this world but until then, I'll be forever grateful with what we've got!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

9 comments:

  1. I agree with you, I really wanted there to be another book, haha. And I really really really need there to be another trilogy to deal with THAT THING at the end >.> NEEEEEEEED!

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    1. I think a fourth book would have wrapped everything up with more detail...plus and extra book is always a win, especially with a series like this ♥ And yeah THAT THING. I need more info on it, it's kiiiilllling me >.<

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  2. Hooray, I'm glad you loved this so much! I too loved all the character growth, it was perfect! And while I don't think we'll see a follow up book or a spin off anytime soon, I think we might see one in the future - wouldn't that be awesome?

    Wonderful review, Mich!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. Those characters all came so freaking far, even from one book to another but considering the series as a whole, it's IMPRESSIVE. Gah! I loved seeing it all unfold ♥ I'm hoping *someday* Laini will grace us with new adventures set in this world! Thanks Mands xxx

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  3. Hey cool, I reviewed Dreams of Gods & Monsters this week too! I loved this trilogy as a whole but I still have a soft spot for the first book which was my favorite. I was just so emotionally exhausted after the roller coaster ride that is Akiva and Karou's relationship :)

    Thanks for the follow! Awesome blog here, following you on Feedly now as well :)

    ~Mogsy

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    1. For real?! How did I miss that?? I'll head over again to check it out :D Personally I think book 2 was my favorite but the first one will always have a special place in my heart ♥

      Thanks for stopping by and following!

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  4. Your review is awesome!! I loved this book, this SERIES, as well :) Everything is so gorgeous, the writing, the world-building, the amazing characters :D

    Interesting you mention a slow-burn romance, because that is actually one of the only things I disliked in this book. It felt like Taylor held back the ... consummation ... of their relationship artificially, and after the ten billionth interruption, I thought it was getting a bit ridiculous. In everything else I think she stayed quite true to her characters, but I didn't agree with the decision to make that aspect of their relationship a prize for when everything was over.

    Also, I liked the ending! I seem to be the only person who did, but I love the sense that even though I've left the characters, they don't just stop living. Many trilogies just give 18 year old characters happy endings and that's unrealistic because they have their whole lives ahead of them, so I love that we see the cast's goals and hopes for the future. And I totally hope Taylor returns to them one day and shows us their next adventure!

    Wonderful, wonderful review! I'm very glad you liked it :D

    Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic.

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  5. Okay, first off, absolutely SUPERB review! Really well said. Especially the part where you talk about Laini being good at creating moments. I never thought about it before like that, but you are SO right. And yes, I agree completely with everything else you said. THESE CHARACTERS. Oh, I love them so much and I hope we get to see them again in some format. And yeah, I was a bit disappointed with how things played out with respect to the original conflict, but then when you think about the SCALE that Laini took the story with instead? I mean, it was completely mind-blowing! Crazy, crazy. That woman is SO talented!!

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  6. Awesome review! I 1000% agree about the character development, definitely one of my favorite parts, although the entire book was amazing just in itself. "This served to fully incorporate a new element to the story - and a new threat." Right? So strange... If this is the last book I think that element could have totally been left out, it seemed a bit thrown together at the end. I did hear something about a rumor of a spin-off but who knows.

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