I finished the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy just the other day. Today I’m here to share my thoughts on the final installment Dreams of Gods & Monsters. Welcome to a book review!
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Hardcover: 613 pages
Published: Little Brown publishing, April 8th 2014
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Synopsis: (Spoiler Free)
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 must say I’m a little bit disappointed with the concluding novel in this trilogy. I had higher hopes. Let me break it all down for you.
This book takes place in very slow detail. We follow our main characters in a minute by minute then hour by hour format, I guess to ensure we get all the details leading up to the climax but for me it felt a little bit unnecessary. Just show the most important scenes with dialogue that furthers the story.
I also felt as though some things that happened were way too convenient. Without spoiling you all, there was one new character introduced and brought into the story and her background and identity was the most convenient coincidence ever! There are a few examples of this including battle scenes and political scenes that fell a little bit flat for all the convenient things that happened in them. Suspending belief can only go so far.
Speaking of this new character introduced. Her POV sections were so boring. Every time we had her point of view I just wanted to skip ahead to more interesting parts. I recognize her semi-importance to the story but I couldn’t fathom her story arc.
Similarly, I thought that Taylor created unneeded tension between the two main characters. The whole time I was thinking “I thought we got passed this in book 2” but apparently we had to carry it through to 75% of the way through the concluding novel! Like…no! Just get over yourselves. I was so over it by this point.
The magic system was really awesome and cool to see in action. However, I felt as though it could have been more explained. What are the limits to magic in this world? Why is it that some characters seem to have endless power? I’m not sure.
Lastly, on the negative side, was the absolute confusion I felt. Towards the end, when Taylor thought it was a good idea to introduce a stupid new plotline and thus had to be explained in detail, I had no idea what was going on. New history, magic and races were talked about (more like info-dumped about) and the audience is just expected to understand their whole weird ways of living and be able to envision it in their heads. I still have no idea what these new introductions are all about, I tried to take it in stride but I shouldn’t have to! I partly put this down to the writing which is such a shame because that was something I really enjoyed in the first two books. I also put it down to Taylor wanting to make a more-epic-than-needed ending by introducing all manner of weird new things.
On the positive side, I really loved the character development. I thought Karou matured the most in this book. She became more thoughtful and well-rounded as a person. Some things I think she lacked in the first two books. I also thought Akiva, our main male protagonist, developed into a more selfish character (trust me, he needed it though) which made me really happy to see. He needed to see that he was worth more than he initially thought. It was heart-warming to experience. Many other secondary characters grew the most in this book too. Namely, Liraz and Zuzana. Two seriously kick-butt females!
Then, like all the other books, I really enjoyed the writing. Apart from the confusing aspects, I thought the way Taylor conveyed emotion through her writing, especially in this novel, was extraordinary. I felt what the characters felt and understood them on a deeper level.
For the most part I was fond of the plot. I mean, as outlined, I certainly had problems with it but I liked the overarching storyline and the way war and sacrifice was explored. But yeah, there were bits that I wish were left out.
Lastly, and probably mostly, I liked the expansion of the world. Whole, wide dimensions are opened up to the audience and Taylor explores all of this. We see Earth through the eyes of the angels and devils, we see Eretz in its beautiful state, and more. This development was what I’d been waiting for!
Overall, not the best of conclusions to what was a series with astonishing potential. I’d still recommend the books due to the awesome first two. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like the third book. I’m very conflicted about this one. Torn in half. Which is why I’m rating it: (leaning to the higher of the half star):
If any of you have read this book, let me know what you thought! Do you agree with me or not? Or have I convinced any of you to give this series a go? Let me know!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you in my next post!