Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone)
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Synopsis: 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.
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. 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.
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.
Check out my review for:
~ Book 1: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (4 stars)
~ Book 2: Days of Blood and Starlight (4 stars)
Check out this book’s Goodreads page!
The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy is unlike anything I have ever read before. Demons and angels falling in love and things not ending well seems like something that you would just be immune to by now, but I’ve never read anything revolving around this plotline before. This was my first series about demons and angels, and I’m so glad that it was.
I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and Days of Blood & Starlight was a solid, solid sequel (even though I know a ton of people disagree). I went into Dreams of Gods & Monsters expecting an epic finale where everything ties up with a bang. I was expecting to feel all the feels and leave this series as I went into it: completely satisfied.
And while this final installment was good, it just wasn’t what I usually expect from a finale.
- The writing, as per usual, was stunningly, achingly, whimisically beautiful. I don’t know how Laini Taylor takes everyday words that we’re all exposed to and twist them to make them seem like magic. Her writing expression, the fluidity with which she makes her readers imagine what she’s describing so vividly, the effortlessness of her figurative language. It’s stunning.
“Something was lost in her. Karou saw it and mourned. War does that, nothing for it. Reality lays siege. Your framed portrait of life is smashed, and a new one thrust upon you. It’s ugly, and you don’t even want to look at it let alone hang it on the wall, but you have no choice, once you know. Once you really know.”
- The characters undergo so much development in this one. One of the best things about this series is Taylor’s employment of a fairly large cast but you don’t feel bogged down with all the different characters. Because they are all brilliantly developed. I love Karou and Akiva and Mik and Zuzana, of course. But we got to see multiple layers of the characters that were introduced or expanded upon in the sequel. I was completely invested in Ziri (or Thiago) in this one, and I grew very fond of Liraz.
- The relationships feel so freaking real! Akiva and Karou are one of my most-cared for OTPs. Their story is so unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in fiction, and even though it’s angsty and full of longing, it somehow works for me. Maybe it’s because they’re so well-developed as individuals, maybe it’s because the romance is a part of them but doesn’t define them. Whatever it is, it works. The other relationships in this, – romantic or not – like Zuzana and Mik, Zuzana and Karou, Liraz and Akiva are also so brilliantly done. I really like how Taylor gives just as much attention to platonic relationships as she does to the romantic ones. It’s just real.
“He was as fixed on her as she was on him, and there was hunger where their eyes met. It wasn’t passion, simply, or desire, but something bigger that contained those things and many others. It was hunger and satiety at once – ‘wanting’ and ‘having’ meeting, and neither extinguishing the other.”
- I’m a big fan of civil war plot-lines, and this entire thing of demons vs angels, but there are good demons and bad angels and vice versa, and that demons and angels need to form an alliance to fight the Big Bad. That was such a delight to read. I love it when two adversaries join forces; I enjoy seeing how they maneuver around their mutual discomfort to unite for ‘the greater good.’
The Bad (or rather, the okay-ish)
- For one, it was way too long. And I don’t mind long books; I mean, come on, I’ve read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. But there was so much in this book that could’ve been left out. The entire Eliza plot-line was unnecessary so late into the series. It seemed like there was too much going on for one book; either it should’ve been divided into two separate books, or it should’ve been condensed in a way that the new plot-lines and characters should’ve been left out.
- The Big Bad did nothing for me. Jael was a shit villain, to be frank. I could not – for the life of me – take him seriously. He wasn’t ominous like a Big Bad should be. He wasn’t intelligent, he wasn’t cold, and I wasn’t invested in him whatsoever. Since villains are some of my favorite characters, this was a huge let-down.
- The civil war plot-line was too neatly wrapped up, but the ending as a whole felt too open to be of significance. Personally, I’m confused. I legit have no clue what happened at the end…
- The pacing felt off. I think this ties back to the ‘too much going on’ point. Because there was so much happening, Taylor would cut off the storylines I was interested in to make room for the storylines that I was not. That broke the flow for me, and it was perhaps why it took me almost 20 days to finish this. Pacing is important – if pacing breaks off, I lose interest and stop reading.
So, in conclusion, while this series was beautiful and unique and enjoyable, the ending left something to be desired. I would still recommend this to anyone who digs lyrical prose and smoldering relationships and themes of civil war, and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for anything else Laini Taylor puts forth.