Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile. You can also view it, and other reviews, on our Tumblr here.
Overall GR rating: 4.35 stars.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse."
I've said this before and I will say it again: I thank the Lord for giving us Laini Taylor who has restored my faith in paranormal YA. From the outside, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogymay look like any other overused-to-death plot, but once you start reading, you will realise it is so much more than that.
In the last instalment of this beloved trilogy, Taylor gives uspassion, suspense and laughter. Where others failed, she excelled. Where others have tried, Taylor has tried and succeeded. Trust me, there's a huge difference there.
I fell in love with Karou from page one of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and she has not - not once - let me down. If you're looking for a typical Mary Sue, a boring and annoying character, with little action and little coherent thoughts, then this book is not for you. Dreams of Gods and Monsters is action packed, exciting and the characters will not let you down.
"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."
Dreams of Gods & Monsters picks up where we were left in Days of Blood & Starlight. Karou has taken control of the chimaera army and is intent on turning the dream she once had with Akiva into reality. As Jael's seraphim army invade the human world, Akiva and Karou ally their enemy armies and prepare to fight an impossible war.
Usually, I would've grown bored and restless by this point in the series. Too many loose ends, too many unfinished stories and too many words get between me and the ending and, usually, I'd want it to just end already. For the first time in forever -- cue Frozen here -- I didn't want this trilogy to end. Although it's a beast of a book, and it took me a good three days or so to get through it, I dreaded the moment it would reach its climax and end.
*cue happy dance*
Character development? Check!
Characters know their priorities? Check!
Love on the back burner? Check, check, check!
Taylor ticked all the boxes in my Guidelines to An Awesome Book check list. I was so sick and tired of seeing important main characters putting important tasks on hold so that they can kiss/dry hump themselves to death. In this book, I think Karou and Akiva kissed a total of two times -- both after the war. Their priority was to stop evil from causing a disaster in the human world, rally their armies together and defeat said evil and restore faith to their world, and they made sure they did all this before running away to a deep, dark corner and chewing each other's faces off.
The character development is almost perfect. Karou is a kick-ass heroine who don't need no man, who knows what she has to do and actually does it for once.
We get to know Akiva much better in this last book -- who he is, where his powers come from and what his powers cause to the world -- and it's refreshing that he doesn't go all depressing emo on us when Karou says no.
The only question I have with the characters are with Zuzana and Mik. Where the fuck are their parents?! How on Earth (or Eretz, heh-heh) do they manage to disappear for months on end, without a phone call or email, and get away with it? Surely their parents are worried sick? You know, since the apocalypse started?! I love the fact that Karou doesn't abandon her human friends shortly after falling in love and running away to another world, but I would've liked a bit more explanation as to why they could just up and leave without anyone questioning this. Especially since we get our fair share of Zuzana's point of view as well as a number of other characters and not once are her parents/family mentioned.
Sliiiightly weird, but other than that, I love them all!
In Dreams of Gods Monsters the point of view switches from Karou to Akiva, to Liraz to Zuzana, to Ziri to Mik and Jael. So we have a lot of switching, but each voice is so distinct and different, I didn't mind at all. The only thing I would change (and this is for all the books) is the flashbacks. We're given a bunch of flashbacks at random times. You might be reading from Karou's POV, start a new chapter and suddenly you're reading from Madrigal's POV from a quarter of a century ago. It can get confusing but I found it easy to tell once the second or third flashback happened.
It thickens! Although it started off as your typical overused, overcooked and overdone angels-come-to-earth-hey-instalove story, it quickly evolved from there and became much more. We're given legends, history and language that no other books has given us before. We're given races and armies and a war that rallies all other wars. It's incredibly well done and I would pay gold to have been inside Taylor's mind as she thought all of this up. Not only did she give us a new world, she gave us more than one and a "system of energies" that helps us make sense of it all.
The romance takes a back burner. Seriously. We were faced with the dramatic, annoying insta-love in the first book but it slowly develops from there at a snail's pace. I can honestly say that, although the dream and war are based on the love felt by two enemies, it doesn't play much of a role in the books. It's not as important.
However, to satisfy the love saps out there, Zuzana and Mik are over-heels in love and aren't afraid to show it.
Definitely left something to be desired. I was hoping and hoping that maybe the series would be continued, but it seems not. The ending is pretty open -- we're left with new characters and a new, bigger impending war between the Stelians and the creatures of the "great All" and it felt a bit jarring, because we really don't know what's going to happen next. We're given some pretty good closing paragraphs for every character, but with something so big at the end, I was disappointed that we're not given more. Taylor should have omitted it entirely or give us a novella to completely conclude the trilogy.
Overall: 4.5 stars. Incredibly happy with it.