My rating: 4.5/5
Life lesson: Love conquers all. (but first there might be war, death, and maybe even resurrection!)
(This review is really vague, because I couldn’t figure out a way to write without spoilers.) Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the final installment in Laini Taylor’s truly epic fantasy trilogy. The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot lately, but Taylor’s novels deserve the adjective; she creates these beautiful and complex worlds full of fantastical creaturest, but it’s her way with words that elevates these novels far, far above other YA fantasy series. Here are a few of my favorite snippets from Gods and Monsters:
“And for the third time in his life, Akiva felt within himself the chrysalis of fire and clarity — an instant, an then the world changes. As if a muting skin were peeled back, all was laid before him: steady and crisp-edged, gleaming and still…Akiva was poised inside a moment” (118).
“Here was no storm, no fury. There was some new quiet in her, but it didn’t shrink or wilt her. Rather, it seemed to enlarge her. She was no mere weapon as she was trained to be, but a woman in full command of her power, unbowed and unbroken, an that was a dangerous thing” (503).
The premise of this trilogy is based on an improbable love between two warring species: a chimera (a.k.a. monster) named Karou (female) and an angel named Akiva (male). Karou is the primary narrator of this story, and it’s wonderful to see her become confident in her self and her abilities throughout the trilogy. Karou and Akiva’s love spans universes and time periods, and oh man, do they suffer for it. Taylor does a really great job of showing how much the two care about each other without being either too explicit or too sappy.
This, like the other novels in the trilogy, isn’t really a happy novel, but it is very satisfying. I knocked off a half star because I think Taylor tried to get a little too epic. She introduces a new species of angels, and then gives them a new language; it’s a lot of make sense of in one novel. It seems like she’s setting up a spinoff series, because the ending is very open.
If you like fantasy or novels with a strong female narrator, you should give this trilogy a shot, the first novel is called Daughter of Smoke and Bone.