Publishing Info: April 8, 2014 by Little, Brown
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 20, 2014
Related Posts: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1), Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2), Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5), Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she's ever known.
When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat--and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves--maybe even toward love.
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.
** This is a SPOILER-FREE review of DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS but beware that if you haven’t read the first two books in this series yet, there may be some spoilers for those! **
This was by far the hardest book of this series for me to read — that’ snot necessarily a bad thing, although it may sound like one, but I really felt like I needed to give it my full attention and unfortunately as of lately, I just haven’t had the time or mental clarity. If you’re a fan of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, I’m sure you’re aware how deep, how detailed, and how complex this series is. It’s not one to be taken lightly and really does require the perfect mood and proper amount of time so when I tell you that it took me a month and a half to finish it, that’s a good and a bad thing all at the same time.
I read the first two books no problem. I actually streamed pretty quickly through DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and tried to take my time and really let myself soak in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. But DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS was a different story. Yes, I decided to really slow myself down and make sure I was really taking it all in, but there were actual weeks where I completely ignored it because I just didn’t have the motivation to pick up such a daunting book. I was overwhelmed by the amount of pages and the time I knew I’d need to read it. Was that the book’s fault? Well, no, but the sheer size of it really did factor in to my reading plans and with time being a pressing issue lately, it was a bit frustrating to me when things felt a little too drawn out.
Laini Taylor’s writing has been beautiful from the start, but DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS was the first book where I felt like the gorgeous, lyric-type prose was getting a bit too drawn out. I usually enjoy the way a plot point is revealed and then we back-track to see how it all evolved, but in some places it felt unnecessary and I was frustrated that I felt like I was reading a whole chapter here or there that didn’t feel entirely necessary to the development of plot or characters. I could chalk that up to my personal impatience or just my experience with reading… I think it was actually a little bit of both.
The introduction of Eliza’s character was not entirely unwelcomed but I wasn’t a fan that she was thrown in as a new main character with POV chapters and everything. I really did like how she fit into the story and it was very exciting to see all of those pieces click together but… I didn’t really enjoy her chapters much at all. The book kicks off with one of Eliza’s chapters and that was actually a really exciting one. I was so excited to see the book start with a bang and I was anxious to get to know more about Eliza, but the more I got to know about her, the less I liked. I didn’t hate her, but I think I would have liked to see her as more of a secondary character because I felt like I lost so much of the focus of Karou and Akiva as well as secondary characters from the previous books (Ziri, Liraz, Mik, Zuze) who were starting to grow into more of a main focus. I think it was too much for me to meet a brand-new character who had such a strong presence in the book, taking over chapters, and also having a strong personality. I wanted to spend so much more time with characters I already knew instead of a brand-new one who wasn’t that important to me and who I wasn’t connecting with.
I really did enjoy the book — I always appreciate how beautiful the writing is and how the books really make me focus on what I’m reading. Everything is so wonderfully detailed, thoroughly thought out, and sort of paradoxically magically realistic. I’m so glad that things were pretty well wrapped up at the end of the book and it was sort of one big sigh of relief to see how everything ended. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending and I felt like some things ended up being glossed over. For example, Eliza’s entire part in the book is explained and then seemingly dropped to make room for Karou & Akiva, which usually I don’t mind since I’m more excited for Karou/Akiva plot, but I felt like I was finally getting answers and then they happened but I didn’t get any detail.
All in all, I did enjoy DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS a lot, but it seemed like this was the book I had the most issues with out of the series. Some things had been weighing on me since the beginning but it was new love and not a big issue to me. Some things didn’t really seem to appear until the last book and I was at a point where I wasn’t in the mood for things to be drawn out. It was a stunning conclusion but I was left just a bit unsatisfied, to be perfectly frank. Maybe it’s just that it still feels unreal that the series is over! Maybe I’m just hoping that Laini Taylor writes more in this universe… (oh please, oh please!!) but I don’t think I was quite prepared for this series to end!
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Eliza // Character Obsessions: Dreams, monsters, apocalypse, hiding.
Eliza was one ball of mess for me. I sympathized with her and yet I really didn’t enjoy a lot of her story. I could appreciate where she was coming from and I actually really liked the grand concept and how it all tied in (I just loved the backstory once we got to it), but I didn’t care for the chapters from her POV and her personal conflicts. Looking back…? I feel like that entire plot of the book could have been adapted without her as a main character. I would have loved to see her flitting in and out of the background. That would have actually made me more curious and anxious — those small pieces here and there — than her constant presence in the book with a lot of guesses and no concrete answers.
Liraz // Character obsessions: Akiva, family, decisions, strength.
I love how much more prominent Liraz became in this story. From the moment we got to know more about Akiva’s siblings in previous books, I wanted so much more face time from them so I was really excited to see Liraz really shine (no pun intended) and to explore her personal conflict and feelings. Let’s not even talk about how much I was shipping here and Ziri. Because I need so much more of THAT.
Kept Me Hooked On: “Creature” fantasy. Back when I first started dipping into fantasy, I started to realize that I did better with more high fantasy (Game of Thrones, Graceling) than what I called “creature” fantasy which is basically anything with non-humans that have human aspects. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE was really the first book I fell in love with that had a big cast of non-human/animalistic creatures and I was hooked on the series from start to finish.
Left Me Wanting More: Conciseness. I don’t usually complain about the lengths of books, especially when it’s a series I love reading, but something about DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS just felt like things were a bit too drawn out. Was I anticipating too much? Was I letting hype get to me? Was I just intimidated by sheer size and daunted by impatience? Maybe. But that still didn’t change the way I felt, unfortunately.
Despite my airing of grievances in my review, I really did enjoy the book. It took me a lot longer to finish than I expected and I did have some issues, but it was an epic conclusion nonetheless and of course important for anyone who’s a fan of the series. The size is a bit intimidating but of course it’s worth the read!
(Click the cover to see my review!)