Sorry about the shifting formatting of reviews I’m still trying to work out what works for me.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor (book three in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy)
Genres/Descriptors: fantasy>paranormal>angels; paranormal romance; YA
Check it out on Goodreads
I’ve stalled as long as I can in reviewing this book, for a few reasons. Mostly because I was so irritated and disappointed by it. If someone had told me, before I read this, that I was going to read a book by Laini Taylor that just didn’t do it for me, I would have laughed about it and thought it was a joke.
The characters were absolutely the best part of this one, and saved the rating from being shamefully low (my shame, because I did not expect to not love this book). Buuut…there were issues with the characters, too.
Eliza is dumped in at the beginning of this book, and I didn’t dislike her character. (My issue isn’t with not liking the characters, it’s the way they were all just poured into the story. More on that later, though.) I just feel like we didn’t get enough time to really grow to care about her. By the end, I liked her, but only barely. I was mostly indifferent, not wishing for her to be killed off, but not cheering for her much, either.
Then there were the Stelians, finally making an appearance on the page. But, once again, we didn’t really get much from our time spent with them. It was basically enough to establish that they’re powerful, with a tiny glimpse into what life is like for them, and that was pretty much it. I. Want. More. I want more information, more character development.
Our surviving cast from the previous two books return, and I loved them. Mostly. I found it really strange that I just stopped caring about Karou and Akiva (as a couple) about halfway through. I expected them to end up together, but I just didn’t care anymore. That said, I did still like them on their own, and I was rooting for them. Just not as a couple
Mik and Zuze make a return, and I absolutely freaking love them. They actually might be my favorite characters from this series, even above Karou. Karou might be one of my all-time favorite protagonists, but Mik and Zuze are just wonderful. They’re so cute, and brave. They’re kind of like the heart of things, helping to keep spirits and hope up for the others. Not to mention their loyalty, oh my gosh. I thought they were impressive in the second book, but in this one? Seriously determined, and it leads to a pretty freaking awesome scene that continues to bring a smile to my face every time I think about it.
Ziri, oh man. What do I even say about him? My heart breaks for him, and he is my precious cinnamon roll book child. Then there’s Liraz. I liked her a lot in the first two books. In this one, I liked her, but there were some things, changes in her, that felt a little rushed and artificial. It’s not that I think she was incapable of them, just that they came about so quickly, which made it hard to believe.
Even minor characters we get to know are amazing in these books, and you really grow to either like/love them, or hate them. Well, that was my experience, at least.
The writing was still superb, because Laini Taylor can write. My issues really come in with the plot. This should have been a quartet instead of a trilogy. There was too much dropped in, especially closer to the end, that just wasn’t expanded enough. I don’t care about seeing how everything ends, because I’m fine with the book ending with the future being uncertain for the characters. My complaint is that there was just too much happening, too much being added, and not enough explanation of it all. I really wish the stuff with the Stelians had been added in at least the second book, to introduce that whole situation. (I also think Eliza being introduced at the end of the second book might have been good, because we really needed more of her.)
There was also a really irritating hint that two of the female characters were going to get together, but it was mentioned so briefly and vaguely that I didn’t even catch it until I was checking out some spoilery discussions about the book after I finished it (to see if I was the only person who wasn’t really happy with everything).
There’s another pairing that annoys me, but talking about it would involve either blatantly stating spoilers, or dancing around them in such a vague way that’s just too complicated. I’ll just say I’m not really happy about it. I thought I shipped it, before it actually happened. I don’t hate it, I’m just tired of characters being paired up in finale books.
This book had some ridiculously awesome things in it, but there wasn’t enough detail. There was a huge bombshell dropped, and then…that’s it, the story is over. It made the story feel rushed and even a little incomplete. It wasn’t a very satisfying experience for me, and I hate that. There was so much that could have been expanded, with the mythology and the universe and the characters, so this didn’t really feel like a conclusion to me. If I didn’t know the series was over, I would be wondering when the next book was going to be released.
I have a lot of feelings about this book, and I think the not-so-good ones outnumber the good.
Thing were ended so neatly it was kind of hard to believe. I mean, I did hope for some of it, but it all felt a little too tidy, especially after the huge thing that was revealed, and the consequences of some actions that might have made that huge thing a bigger problem than it already was. Basically, it wasn’t tragic enough 😛 I didn’t want all the characters to die, or be miserable at the end, but everything felt too perfect, despite the looming challenge of the huge thing I keep mentioning.
I could ramble and rant about this book for ages, but this has already gotten pretty long, so I’ll wrap it up.
I was so disappointed by this book, and I almost wish I’d never read it. It’s turned me off Laini Taylor’s books (I was planning to read Strange the Dreamer this month or next) for a while, until I can get over this one 😦
I gave it a grudging 3.5 out of 5 stars, mostly for the characters and writing. The rest was just mediocre for me.