I never throw around this word, but I will use it with capital letters right now:
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor, the conclusion to her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, is truly epic… Not to mention, it’s poetic, incredible, stunning and one heck of a (perfectly solid) finale.
Honestly, I will tell you right now: I am a hugely insane, forget everything you thought you knew about me because I am out of control, fan of Laini’s writing. There was very little chance that this book wasn’t going to “wow” me. I mean, yeah, there’s always a chance, but… no. Disappointment didn’t happen at all here. Not even one ioda of disappointment. I was in love with all 624 pages – and most likely 150k+ words – of this book. Will it be for everybody? I don’t know – and really, I don’t care. I loved this book… The series… Everything. As a (basically rabid and salivating at the mouth) fan of the series, I can tell you that the conclusion will not disappoint.
From chapter one, there were fireworks between me and DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS. Starting with the first chapter, I was reminded as to why I love Laini’s writing so much. Even the simplest of passages, such as…
“Revenant soldiers and Misbegotten, together. At best, it would be miserable. At worst, devastating. But in spite of his misgivings, it was as if there was a brightness beckoning to him – the future, rich with light, calling him toward it…”
“…For just a moment, in spite of the burden of the weapons bag, and the thuribles, and her pack – not to mention the anvil weight of her duty and the deception and the future of two worlds – Karou felt almost light. Hopeful.”
If you recall, Days of Blood and Starlight was rife with sorrow and death and deception and pain (literally, lots and lots of pain). DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS is still full of pain and deception and plenty of things bad, but where there is sadness here, there is also hope lining every page. The entire book contains a perfect see-saw of emotions that will keep readers turning the pages, forgetting just how many of them have been turned and how many have yet to be touched.
In the end you may not physically be in the happiest place on earth (or, who knows, maybe you will be), but you will certainly feel as though you’ve been there thanks to DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS.
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS begins mere hours after the conclusion of Days of Blood and Starlight (3 hours, to be exact). We are introduced to a new character right off the bat – someone who will play a larger part than you can presently imagine. Some people may boo and hiss at this detail, but alas, the character is almost as likable as Zuzana and Mik or, at the very least, as much as Liraz. Eliza… What an intriguing character to follow. (And that is all I will say about that.)
Just as intriguing as the new character are the interactions between our two most familiar characters, Karou and Akiva. Their story begins at the kazbah in Morocco. Over and over again, their paths cross – with the shadow of previous deceptions still weighing on their shoulders. More than once I found myself yelling at the two of them out loud to just TALK to each other and work things out... But that’s really only because I am such a mushy-gushy Madrigal/Karou-Akiva fangirl. Yes, I admit it. I am a shipper. I was devastated at the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and seeing them as enemies in Days of Blood and Starlight was pure torture. Will they ever get together again? I will not say. Either way, their story is so, so very satisfying and ends in the most appropriate of ways, regardless of whether or not they get their “happily ever after”.
But back to the story: In DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, the combined troupes of chimaera and Misbegotten must work together to save their world and ours… Honestly, I have often wondered how humanity would react if beings like “angels” or “demons” ever did descend to our level. Laini answers these questions in the most logical of ways, with people reacting to their presence in the name of both religion and science. She handles what could easily become a touchy subject both tastefully and with grace. No obvious opinion on the subject of religion can be seen within these pages. Although religious themes are present, the reader can still enjoy the story for what it is: pure fantasy, through and through.
In DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, Zuzana and Mik are featured more prominently than ever before. Thanks to their novella, Night of Cake and Puppets, we know enough about their relationship to have strong feelings for both of them. Thanks to them we witness some very, very creative usage of wishes – one or two of which have a major impact on the overall story. On that note I say: Keep on keeping on, Zuzana and Mik! You two have proven that I want you in my corner if anything bad were to happen to me!
Did I mention that this book is beyond gorgeous? Not just Laini’s words – which anyone who has already begun the series can see are quite impressive – but also the scale of her world(s) and her story. The book is divided into parts; half taking place in Eretz, as the chimaera and Misbegotten attempt to work out their “truce”, and the other half on Earth. First we get to experience the building tension involved in an unsteady alliance and the planning of war and and then we get even more tension as an “espionage-esque” mission is carried out. Somewhere in-between there’s also some glorious flying, including a scene that contained some of my favorite words in fiction, ever.
Alas, just when you think the story is over – and there couldn’t possibly be anything more to befall the surviving characters – the ultimate bombshell of the entire series is dropped.
You’ll have to read it to believe it.
- Gorgeous writing.
- Unforgettable characters
- Worlds beyond imagining.
- Romantic fantasy at its best.
- It is everything that a conclusion should be.
- No seriously. Nothing.
- …I mean, maybe the page count might scare people off?
- But seriously, don’t let that scare you…
- Or the epic bombshell at the end.
- (It’s perfect.)
I hereby declare DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS THE BOOK of 2014. In addition, I implore EVERYONE… be you a reader of young adult fiction (or not), a fan of fantasy novels (or not), a man or a woman, beast or god-like in appearance… to read this epic series.
Let the fireworks commence.