Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#AllHallowsWeek Review - Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

  Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3 (Finale)
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: April 2014
Hardcover - 613 pgs

Rating 3/5

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.

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? 

At the end of this series I am conflicted. While the first two books were stellar, I struggled with this final book. There were moments of greatness and I loved following our main characters to the end of the story. However there were some things that majorly affected my view of the book and ultimately lowered my rating of it. 

First the good. Many of the characters are full fleshed out and beautifully written. Like I mentioned, I loved diving back into this story and seeing what their fates would be. I was surprised and impressed by the new characters and fell in love with the old ones all over again. The relationships are intricate and both new and old grow and change throughout the book. The characters were my absolute favorite part. I was so connected and engaged with the characters we knew from the previous two books.

 There were emotional scenes that brought me to tears and the writing continues to impress. It is beautiful and Taylor writes descriptions like no one else. It is stunning to read and to listen to. The themes of Us versus Them play out beautifully. Those themes are easy to relate to the world today and I was thinking about this book for a long time after finishing it. 

Now for the things that didn't work as well. To start this 600+ page tome didn't have enough space to fit in the whole story. There were too many plot lines and the story became unwieldy. In this final book we follow more characters than ever before. We travel between Eretz and Earth while following a multitude of different POVs. It simply became too much and I never felt like we spent a sufficient amount of time with any one character. Instead throughout the book it felt like each change in POV was meant to be a cliffhanger instead of a complete scene with a character. It kept me engaged in the story, but it also caused the plot to move very slowly.

Quite a few new ideas and characters were introduced and they all feel rushed. Instead of feeling like essential parts of the plot of this story, there were moments when it felt like a new story was starting. They were introduced too little too late. The initial two books in this trilogy set up a lot of back story for everyone involved. Karou and Akiva have lived a long time. They have a lot of past and so do the other Angels and Chimera from Eretz. While the new characters received a lot of page time in the third book, I still wasn't connected to them as strongly.

Also the climax of this final book fell flat to me. The story built for hundreds of pages up to the climax of the book and series, but it fizzled. Quite a few events fell into place very easily after so many things going wrong. This finale essentially felt different than books one and two. It became its own story rather than a completion of the larger story. I was disappointed, but overall this is still a good book.

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