Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Published: April 8th 2014 by Little, Brown & Company

Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

“People with secrets shouldn’t make enemies. People with destinies shouldn’t make plans.”

SYNOPSIS:

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. 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.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

MY REVIEW:

5 of 5 stars to Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

★★★★★

 

Heart-wrenching. Tear-jerking. Healing. And of course, hopeful. That’s what this book is.

Coming from a dread-filled book two, it was hard for me to continue on with book three, having not completely recovered from the death of Hazael and expecting similar events to unfold here. Once again, I was not wrong. The first half kept me in constant fear of who could die next because it’s always a possibility—they are at war so casualties cannot be helped and the author has proven herself capable of killing beloved characters. I would even stop and read something else (light, romantic reads) just to be able to tolerate the heaviness that was as abundant here as was in book two.

It was even harder to hope, in fear of getting disappointed AGAIN like what happened in book two when I thought Hazael—and even Brimstone—could still be saved. But hope here was finally rewarded, and it was so much more touching and beautiful knowing how much the characters suffered before finally given relief. When Ziri died, I dared not hope he could still be resurrected. When Liraz sacrificed herself so Akiva and Karou could go to Earth, I dared not hope she would make it. I was prepared for the worst. I didn’t want to hope because I didn’t want another heartache. But then the author actually let them live and hopeless though I was, the relief was still immense and the happiness overwhelming. I could say it was because Ziri and Liraz had endeared themselves to me and I was rooting for their happiness as much as I do with Karou and Akiva (perhaps even more); I could say it was because they both have suffered so much and deserved more than what they were given; but what it really comes down to is Laini Taylor’s amazing writing skills. She gave these two such solid character development that not only made them likeable but also unforgettable. 

There is also a lesson there. Laini Taylor expertly manipulated this emotion ‘hope,’ so that readers not only know its real value, but feel it too. By killing Hazael, she showed that ‘hope’ can fail you; and by letting Ziri and Liraz live, she proved that not all hope is lost after all. In fact, the whole series is about hope—its death in Madrigal and its resurrection in Karou. Truly, a master story-teller.

Another proof of Laini Taylor’s writing prowess is her crazy creativity and imagination. Having read Strange the Dreamer series first, it astounded me that this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is in fact set in the same world. The plot about twelve Angels piercing the sky to connect all the worlds—six in one direction and six in the other—it was the same story told in Strange the Dreamer. Eretz and Earth are from one side; Zosma (where Strange the Dreamer is set) is from the other. Because the Seraphim from Eretz’ side sealed the portal connecting the one side to the other, Zosma and the other worlds from its side are technically closed to Eretz. In the end of Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2 and finale), Lazlo and his motley crew venture out into the other worlds in hopes of saving or freeing the others of their kind. Here in Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Akiva and his motley crew will venture out into the unknown in hopes of defeating the nithilam or the darkness. Is it possible that these two worlds will finally cross via a third series from the same arc? With Laini Taylor, it’s always possible.

I’ve said so much already and I haven’t even talked about Karou and Akiva and I guess that reflects my general feeling about them in this book: they didn’t really stand out much. Liraz and Ziri stole their thunder so to speak; but that is not to say they didn’t leave an impression, because they did. I’m definitely glad they got back together and even got to live their dream: in a paradise with only the two of them. They’ve been through so much so it was really nice knowing that everything they sacrificed paid off in the end. Their getting together just wasn’t as groundbreaking as I had hoped it would be perhaps because it was dragged on until the very final moments.

Meanwhile, Zuzana still annoyed me to no end (I’m never going to like her) and this new character, Elazael/Eliza? I couldn’t care less about her. I skipped her chapters, to be frank. Her chapters felt like a nuisance, a hindrance to the actual plot with Akiva/Karou and the original characters in it. Just when things on Karou’s side get exciting, it’s followed by Eliza’s chapter so in a way her chapters felt like a cockblockers of some sort. And I’m in no mood for cockblockers so I happily skip hers.

Anyway, to conclude this review, Dreams of Gods and Monsters felt dragging in some parts (specifically in the beginning and Eliza’s chapters) but just like what I said in an earlier update, there are big moments towards the end that made all the difference. These moments are too beautiful for words and too touching for a rating lower than five. I can’t wait to read more works from this author.