Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Published: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 613 (Hardcover)
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Source: Bought
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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?

 I feel like every time I read one of Laini Taylor's books I come away breathless. The writing is absolutely stunning and most definitely one of the best qualities of the book. I bet if I picked up some of her writing, I would be able to tell right away that it's hers.

It would have been helpful to reread the previous books because during the beginning I was feeling a bit lost, but after a little bit of reading it all started to come back to me and if it didn't, a brief reminder was given that didn't seem stuck in there to remind the reader of something. It fit perfectly with the story because there's just so much to all the characters and everything that there's no wonder I forgot all the little details.

The depth of all the characters is something that I simply adore. Even the characters that aren't as important as Karou and Akiva have their own story and seem three-dimensional instead of characters set up to just move the plot forward. Laini Taylor always perfectly describes emotions so that not only did I know what the character was feeling, but I could imagine how it would feel. It makes the angels and chimaera more relatable because even though they aren't human they experience the same emotions.

I remember having an issue with Karou and Akiva's relationship in the last book (or the lack of relationship) but in this book I didn't mind the fact that they didn't kiss until more than halfway through the book because the timing was perfect when it happened. Although both Karou and Akiva never stopped thinking about one another, and sometimes the tension between those two got to be almost a little too much, I was ok with that because they are fighting a war after all.

My one complaint (and also the reason I rated it four stars not five) is that the introduction of a very key character this late in the series felt strange. There are already so many characters in the story and adding Eliza to the mix created a whole new part of the story. A little more than halfway through the book one of the conflicts is resolved and yet there is still at least two hundred more pages left. The conflict that played out in the last part of the book just didn't work for me like the rest of the book did. It seemed strange to have all this stuff about the Stelians there and having an almost immediate solution to it. It didn't fit with how everything else had been such a struggle for Karou and everyone else.

This series is one that I will remember for a long time and will probably end up recommending to anyone that will listen.

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