Review of “Dreams of Gods and Monsters” by Laini Taylor

dreamsDreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Book page. Author. Goodreads. Book Depository. Amazon.

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? (Goodreads)

srcek

My rating: 5/5

I’ve spent more than an average amount on the Daugter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, as I’ve already translated the first two parts to Slovenian (see my Translations page) and I’m currently working on Dreams of Gods and Monsters. This trilogy was the largest commission I’ve received from my publisher and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Dreams is huge (it clocks in at more than 600 pages) and more difficult than Daughter and Days, but I loved having the opportunity to follow the characters’ (and the author’s) evolution through roughly 1500 pages.

When I got this book back in April, I started reading it with a tiny sense of dread festering inside me. I was afraid of questions being left unanswered, of loose ends being left untied. Laini Taylor doesn’t disappoint – her prose is as brilliant as ever and she brings the series to a very – very – nice conclusion. That said, I was struck, somewhere in the middle of Dreams, by the very different structure of the three novels in the series. I tried to put this feeling into words, but I think this graph (poorly executed – forgive my abysmal MS Paint skills) shows it better:

laini-graphics

This is how I feel the story progresses – and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that the plot in Dreams is quite … wide. In case it’s unclear, the different colours represent different storylines. The first two parts are relatively linear in their matter (though by no means boring, never that!), but the third part encompasses a truly epic array of plots, subplots and sub-subplots, almost to the detriment of the story.

But never fear: Laini’s got you covered. She’s thought of everything and brought the story to a great ending. I imagine she has this wall of crazy at home, stuck all-over with pictures, newspaper cutouts and scribbles on Post-It notes all linked by snarls of red string – all so she can keep track of everything. Probably not. (Though if I imagine other, even larger series like The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, my theory doesn’t sound too crazy.)

As for the characters … I have to admit that as much as I love Karou and Akiva, it’s Zuzana and Mik (and others!!) who really made this last part so brilliant. Akiva might be the drop-dead-gorgeous, fire-eyed, soul-deep-loving hero, but if I had to choose, I’d go for Mik or Ziri any time. Akiva is just so INTENSE I feel like it would take a constant effort to be around him. Me, I’m the cuddle and relax type of person.

I loved Zuzana’s snark and eyebrow action, I loved the slow and shy courting, I loved the gentle path of forgiveness that Akiva and Karou set out on. Laini Taylor is the master of heart-squeezing, warm moments that made me go all squeaky and soft and I hurried through the scenes to see if she finally, FINALLY made some decisions I really hoped she’d make (she did, she did!). I’m sorry if I’m not making enough sense, I just want to avoid spoilers because you really don’t want to know about this before you read it in the book.

But Dreams of Gods and Monsters is also serious, deadly serious about some things. One of the best quotes, I think, is dead-on true: “‘We have so many enemies, Lisseth,’ said Karou, keeping her voice light. ‘Most of them are our birth-right, inherited like duty, but the ones we make for ourselves are special. We should choose them with care.'” Dreams is also about accepting responsibility, about actions that have far-reaching consequences even when you didn’t mean it. It’s about settling the score and putting things to right. It’s about putting others first. And it’s about the knowledge that happy endings come about (and last!) only if you work for them. And it’s perfect.

srcek

Have you read Dreams of Gods and Monsters? Or maybe just the first book or two?

What did you think?

I’d love to hear from you! :)