Dreams of Gods & Monsters
In this stunning conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor does not disappoint as she weaves together the lives of angels, chimaera and humans in a world that is just as true to life as it is fantastical.
DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS has a somewhat jarring beginning as Taylor introduces a new character, Eliza --- a graduate student at the Smithsonian who awakes from a nightmare to discover, along with the rest of the world, that angels have come to Earth. Mad, scarred and brutal, Jael has led his seraphim army of Dominion to the human world in search of weapons of mass destruction that will allow him to destroy the last of the chimaera back in Eretz, and take on the Stelians as well.
Upon hearing the news of the angels’ arrival, Zuzanna and Mik rush back to Karou at the Kasbah in Morocco in time to witness the new and improved Thiago (now Ziri) strike an alliance with the Misbegotten army of seraphim, led by Akiva. Together, chimaera, seraphim and humans fly back to Eretz to concoct a desperate scheme to unite the two enemy races in a fragile peace in order to defeat Jael.
"Laini Taylor does not disappoint as she weaves together the lives of angels, chimaera and humans in a world that is just as true to life as it is fantastical."
In the Kirin caves --- Ziri and Karou’s former home --- angelic beasts and bestial angels struggle to find a way to work together, but old enmities and betrayals prove harder to overcome than anyone could have foreseen. Despite all this, there is hope to be found in Ziri’s self-sacrifice, Liraz’s determination, Zuzanna and Mik’s optimism and Akiva and Karou’s unwavering devotion to their dream of a better world. But will this be enough to overcome 1,000 years of war and imbedded prejudice?
Taylor delves much deeper into the magical and secretive world of Eretz than ever before and finally reveals the truth behind the origin of the seraphim, unearthing an older and graver conflict that will cause the reader to throw their arms up in despair wondering if Akiva and Karou will ever live happily ever after. Apocalypse seems nigh and Akiva and Karou definitely have their work cut out for them. But it is their dream and yearning for a more harmonious world, peace and love that truly makes this story beautiful.
Taylor has never been a writer who gives much away and she seems to delight in teasing her reader with tantalizing clues and tiny tid-bits of truth revealed slowly. DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS will make even the most devoted of fans’ heads spin with its dense plot twists and reversals. As the story jumps wildly between new characters, old legends and unforeseen dangers, there’s a sense that perhaps Taylor has tried to cram too much into a third and final book. The story, which suddenly seems so complicated, comes to a somewhat surprising and abrupt end.
Still, readers will not be disappointed; Taylor’s absolutely superb and magical writing style makes it all worthwhile. This book is pure poetry and what it lacks in clarity and definition it makes up for in wistful and sweeping sentences that emphasize feelings and emotions rather than logic. With chapter titles like “The Abyss’s Mad Gawk” and “Nightmare Ice Cream,” this is an absolutely delicious read. Taylor conveys the power of dreams and the hope to be found in believing in fairy tales and happy endings.
Despite its somewhat rushed resolution, this finale is a magnificent and strikingly innovative drama, with characters that feel as if they have always existed in your dreams.
Reviewed by Alice Dalrymple on April 23, 2014