Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor *Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars*

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the conclusion to the gorgeously poignant Daughter of Smoke & Bones trilogy. I'm still mooning over the sheer beauty of author Laini Taylor's prose, her way with words... not to mention her incredible and overwhelming imagination. So fair warning: this review might will involve gushing.

Where to even begin describing all the feels I have for this series? I feel like it's all be said before so I'll try to focus on just Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I think it's safe to say that the conclusion Laini Taylor delivers here was surprising - to say the least. The series seemed poised to set off in one direction and ended up just blossoming into something even more layered and mystifying than I could have imagined! Some authors try to pack too much into the final book in their series - they try to surpass everything that came before and sometimes it can come off redundant: oh we had a huge battle in book 2? Well we *must* need a BIGGER battle for the finale! Laini Taylor managed to achieve a perfect balance here without rehashing what she's already accomplished previously. The result is a wholly unique story that is simultaneously fitting to the DoS&B series while also managing to bring the series someplace completely unexpected. It was strange and thrilling all at once!

The character development is easily one of the best aspects of Dreams of Gods & Monsters. Honestly I'm still drowning in all kinds of feels for Karou, Akiva, Ziri, Liraz, Zuz & Mik...for how far they've all come since the start of this series. Every single one of them grew so realistically and beautifully that just thinking about them all makes me misty-eyed. The old days in Prague are far behind them all but it was incredibly gratifying to witness each and every one of them evolve so wonderfully. Of course, I still have a soft spot for my beloved Karou! My heart ached for her terribly in Days of Blood & Starlight and seeing the feisty, creative and strong heroine she's become melts my heart. Naturally, I can't speak about melting hearts without thinking of Akiva. Oh how I adore you Akiva with your fiery eyes, tortured soul and your unflinching devotion to Karou *swoon* I believe in Akiva and Karou - they're one of my favorite fictional couples of all time.

This time around though, the story was spread out a bit more so we got to know a lot of beloved secondary characters even more. Like Ziri, Liraz, Zuz & Mik. Having already fallen totally in love with Mik & Zuz's love story in the Night of Cake & Puppets novella, I was happy to see them both still at the forefront in this one. The rabid fairy and her violin boy definitely brought it for the finale: they became legendary and it was awesome. Ziri for his part crushed me with feels in book 2 and I was shattered all over again in Dreams of Gods & Monsters. That boy has my heart for ever. And Liraz. Oh gods, Liraz had me by the feels as well throughout this one. I have to give all the props to Laini Taylor for giving us a host of so many incredible characters!

Another aspect where Dreams of Gods & Monsters shined? Creating moments. Memorable, delicious, moments. Ominous, blood-curling moments. Earth-shattering, heart-pounding moments. All the best and worst kinds of moments you could possibly imagine in your dizziest daydreams. The story itself read very much like a slow-burn romance would (ideally) develop...I was hooked from the very first pages where it began setting the tone for what was to come. The more I read, the more the entirety of the world, it's characters and their collective moments began to take up space in my mind. If I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about it constantly. As I got closer to the end, it was almost torturous in how many emotions it brought on: anticipation, dread, excitement, fear and, as always hope. ♥

If I'm being totally honest (which I am), the resolution between the 'Gods & Monsters' so to speak, was a tad bit anti-climactic, in the sense that the crux of it all was more or less resolved behind the scenes. This served to fully incorporate a new element to the story - and a new threat. While I would have liked more information on how everything was wrapped up so neatly, I was also fascinated by the direction Laini Taylor opted to go with the story. I feel like we might have benefited from another book to wrap everything up nicely and get all that extra info that I'm still craving. Despite that, I finished Dreams of Gods & Monsters feeling blissfully satisfied. We all knew Laini Taylor wasn't going to deliver a typical candy-coated ending and I love her all the more for taking her story in such a surprising direction. I pray to the angels and chimeras that we'll eventually get more stories set in this world but until then, I'll be forever grateful with what we've got!

This review was previously featured on my blog: Photobucket