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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Warning!  Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the finale to a trilogy.  Check out Tynga's review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and my review of Days of Blood & Starlight by clicking on the titles to avoid series spoilers!

Starcrossed lovers Karou (a monster) and Akiva (an angel) join forces in a new and unique twist on the classic good vs. evil battle.  Angels are descending on Rome in battalions, thousands of angels, through a tear in the sky.  Concurrently, Eliza, a genetics researcher, is called to Morocco to investigate what appears to be a mass grave full of unnatural monsters.  Karou has managed a great deception and set up a puppet leader of the chimaera.  Through him, she's able to unite the misbegotten and the chimaera to battle the invading seraphim.  Yes-- that's the great twist on the classic good vs. evil battle:  in Dreams of Gods & Monsters, angels are seen as a malevolent invading force and the monsters (chimaera) are the good defenders!

As with the first two books, the characters are so incredibly rich.  The reader literally gets inside many of the character's minds, so we see firsthand their struggles and doubts and confidences.   This series is solidly YA; we can be sure which characters are "good guys" and which ones are the "bad guys."  But they're still more complex than that.  Karou is definitely a "good guy," but we see her struggle with battle plans, knowing that some of her kind may perish.  And although Akiva is on Karou's side, the reader can feel his confliction, going against his own kind.  By the end of the book I was nearly crying and/or cheering out loud!

Speaking of characters, of course we must talk about Zuzana and Mick!  How could anyone not love this brave pair?  They are fully human, and don't always understand what's going on, but they are always always always ready to stand by Karou's side.  Even when that leads to a serious lack of chocolate cake in Zuzana's life.  Ya'll, I have never shipped two characters as much as I ship them!  I haven't yet read Night of Cake & Puppets, but I plan to asap.

Not only is Laini Taylor good at developing characters for us to love, she's also a top-notch world-builder.  You might think it'd be hard to wrap your mind around a world populated by creatures composed of many different species (such as a gray wolf head on a human body, or a jaguar body with a human head and bat wings), a world lived mostly deep inside a system of caves, but the author does such fantastic descriptions that you can really picture yourself there.

So, the plot.  Here's where Dreams of Gods & Monsters lost one of it's five stars for me.  The final battle did not go as I expected it to.  I felt like it fell a little flat compared to all the build-up.  I also felt like there were a few loose ends, or tenuous connections, at the end, considering that it's a series finale.  It wasn't too terrible; if you're already invested from reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight, you should definitely still read Dreams of Gods & Monsters... but just be prepared.

And finally, the narration:  I listened to Dreams of Gods & Monsters on CD and the narration was great!  The narrator had good, clear annunciation and pacing.  The production quality was great; I never had to fiddle with the volume.  I never tuned out.  And the narrator did a great accent for Zuzana and Mick.

This is such a unique, well-written trilogy, and I definitely recommend to folks at work (and now to you too)!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Hi Marie, I read about 75% of the first book and looooved Laini writing. After reading your review I'm planning on finishing it next week. :)

  2. I love this series so much! You definitely need to read Night of Cake & Puppets, it's sooo cute.