Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3), Laini Taylor

dreams of gods and monsters by laini taylor
Title: Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor (author website)
Release Date: April 2014 by H&S Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

A foreign queen is hunting, a fleeing daughter hiding from terrors in the night, and Akiva and Karou, lovers crossed by stars, godstars, moons and mighty rulers alike, fight a desperate battle for a dream that has spanned three lives between them: a dream of a future free from hate. A dream of peace.

From Goodreads:

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?

If Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a love story, and Days of Blood and Starlight a tragedy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters knits the two together in a conclusion that, while an ending, feels anything but final. Which is satisfying... And not.

In those final pages, Dreams of Gods and Monsters leaves so many questions unanswered; futures and histories left untold... Yet it doesn't feel like a missing dessert, or an 'improper' end. Rather, it feels precisely how I believe its author intended: Dreams of Gods and Monsters ends with beginnings. With life, and possibility, and resurrection. As it should--with hope. It feels the right place to leave Akiva and Karou to their new beginnings. But it doesn't feel an adequate conclusion to the histories it tells. Having turned the final page, I feel as though its characters have more stories to tell--and wonder if Taylor has plans to do so, or is simply teasing with a lingering, poetic ending.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters encompasses so many beloved (and hated) characters, so many versions of their lives, so many threads in Taylor's grand tapestry it's difficult to comment on a single point, play, or page. This story carries a weight, a vastness, to it. While, 'what happens?' seems a fair, if unspecific, question, cover closed on Dreams of Gods and Monsters, I'm at a loss for an answer. Words fail, which seems a tiny irony, for a book weighing in at no less than 600 pages. Yet, 'stuff happened. And love. And cake,' seems to do Taylor's rather splendid work a slight injustice.

Karou and Akiva are thrust front and centre in Dreams of Gods and Monsters, both to the reader, and their people. They assume roles as leaders, far beyond their own comfort, and the responsibility both pulls them together, and apart. We see them even more intimately than before, and they've grown (oh, how they've grown!) since misty Prague, dusty Morocco. But they share their stage. Zuzanna and Mik return, more charming than previously imaginable; Ziri shoulders an incredible burden--the fate of the Chimaera rebellion resting firmly on his shoulders; Liraz, icy-cold half-sister to Akiva, reveals pieces of herself, and even begins to thaw... But what kept me skipping pages ahead, desperate to know more was an enigmatic young woman named Eliza Jones--who has many, many big surprises up her sleeves. Anonymous, hiding Eliza, who finds herself anything but anonymous and hidden by the story's close.

As I've commented, often, before, I believe that, there are great writers, and great storytellers, and is a rare and wonderful joy to find an author who is both. Returning to Eretz, and a slightly more magical Earth than our own, Dreams of Gods and Monsters reaffirms Taylor as both. Between a story that flows like narcotic dream, and prose which dances seductively throughout its pages, the conclusion to the Smoke and Bone trilogy is as beautiful, intoxicating and breathtaking as its predecessors, though seems to lack something satisfying, as though it is the end of a love story, but not a world story.

The Verdict:

Goodbyes are hard and, if you are to believe Seraphim warriors' folklore, farewells are bad luck. So it's fitting that it proves a difficult task, farewelling not just Akiva and Karou, but the families they've made for themselves. Perhaps (for me at least) the true measure of a good book is the desire to unread it, more than to re-read it--so as to fall in love and lose oneself in its pages all over again, and how I long to do so here. Eretz may be closed to us all for now, but perhaps like Akiva and Karou, I'll dream an impossible dream and hope that while it's gone, it's only gone for now.

Books in This Series:

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (September 2011)

  2. Days of Blood and Starlight (November 2012)

  3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (April 2014)

An enormous thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of Days of Blood and Starlight!


  1. I agree completely; Laini Taylor is one of those rare, extraordinary storytellers and this trilogy has been a true masterpiece. I did struggle with aspects of this conclusion -- and goodbyes are so, so hard -- but this one left me satisfied, despite it all. :)

  2. I skimmed the review because I haven't read this yet and I NEED to. But your rating is awesome, so I just need a weekend where I can do noting but read ... and I'll be all set!

  3. Oh my gos, Sarah, how I have missed you and your reviews! That was just beautiful!

    I loved this book! I did, I did! SO good, but yes, so many questions! So much more to discover! I read Taylor say on Twitter that (paraphrased, or rephrased - same drift) it was written with an intent of returning to the story, but she's going to take a break for now and tell some other stories. Fine by me, as long as it's not the very end. But SO beautiful! Oh my god, I just loved this story! And Ziri! God, that guy near broke my heart so many times! And I do love Zuze and Mik! And Karou and Akiva! And, oh my god, I just love this world. Beautiful, beautiful!

  4. I still need to get to DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT, but I'm glad that you mostly liked DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, though hmm. I don't think I'd feel very satisfied with the ending, even though you said that it did suit the series very well. I kind of like my endings to be nicely wrapped up with a bow, with no loose ends. That was partly the reason why I was so unsatisfied with REQUIEM, which had a REALLY open ending. :/

    I kind of skimmed through your review (afraid of spoilers!), but lord, does this sound like a grand finale to an amazing series -- not counting the ending, haha. I absolutely love how you described Karou and Akiva's character development, and I'm so glad that Zuzanna returns! You know, I hate it when an author introduces a friend of the protagonist and then forgets about them halfway through the book/series. Unfortunately, that seems like a returning trait in many books. So yeah, I'm really happy that Laini didn't follow after that path.

    "Perhaps (for me at least) the true measure of a good book is the desire to unread it, more than to re-read it–so as to fall in love and lose oneself in its pages all over again" -- Have I mentioned how absolutely GORGEOUS your reviews are? I totally get what you mean here -- I feel the same for the HP series. Call me narrow-minded, but that's probably about the only series I've ever felt that way about. I guess this is why I should finish the SMOKE & BONE series ASAP, huh? :)

    Wonderful review, Sarah!

  5. I can't wait to read this. I am waiting a bit, to savor the feeling of the inevitable ending. I am not sure if I like the sound of this conclusion though. I like things a little more wrapped up. Possibilities are great, but I need closer.

    Happy it was great though. I will be reading this no matter what.

  6. I have just got book two from the library and I have this one from publisher to read. I skimmed your review, because I am a tad behind on these big reads. Glad you liked it and you are back with your honest reviews. Congrats!


  7. Eee . I still need to read this trilogy . Read it , read read , read it soon *in a sing Songy tune *

    Tnx fir the well thought out review, saz

  8. Look at you being all posty posty. It's almost as impressive as my little buddy's ability to sit up on his lonesome.

    Of course I haven't read any of these so my answer to most of it is YES but I liked your thinking thoughts about the openness of the ending purposefully being there to create new futures and hope and the like, very thoughtful thoughts and also it's that little bit of giving all the answers you want combined with still having a little bit of wriggle room to dream on your own.

  9. Ha I almost didn't even recognize this one. I so have to read this I loved the first and really enjoyed the 2nd (though not AS much as book 1) and it sounds like such a wonderful finale. I love the "Ends with beginnings" bit! I'm so happy the verdict on this one has been so positive so far! Wonderful review, Sarah!

  10. I felt the same about the first two, Giselle! It really was a terrific conclusion, too. And YES! The cover in AU/UK are SO different from the US ones!

  11. YES! It's like in Deathly Hallows--we know they're alright, but we have ALL THE ROOM to imagine and dream what they got up to... You know what you were saying about HP--how you don't mind getting all the answers, because you're so distracted and caught up in everything else? This is exactly how these books and their worlds felt to me. They were so beautiful and magical that it didn't occur to me to look for the man behind the curtain, or what else could have been at play and... THEY WERE PERFECT.

  12. I love this series, Roro! Thank you! Xx

  13. Oh, I hope you love the rest of the series as much as I did, Mich! Xx

  14. This is such a beautiful review! I loved this whole trilogy and was completely satisfied with the final book for a change. I agree that it's hard to describe what takes place here, only that it does, and with Laini Taylor's magic. Her writing is some of the best in YA for me, and I really cannot wait to see what she does next. And yes, I will completely miss the characters here, but look forward to revisiting them in the future one day. :) Thanks for sharing your wonderfully eloquent thoughts, Sarah.



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