Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some spoilers regarding Book Two, Days of Blood & Starlight. Slight spoilers for this book.
Oh glory! Oh godstars! Oh! Oh! Oh Akiva! Oh Ziri! Oh Karou! Oh Liraz! Well, I could go on and on with that ohs, but I’ll leave it at that.
There is a sort of artistry at work in Laini Taylor’s writing style, kind of tinged with a bit of abstractness, or maybe non-linear-ness, that either I didn’t notice in the previous two books in the series, or that she had wanted to expand on in this this one. From my point of view, I’d say it was the latter. But to be fair, I didn’t re-read the previous two books before delving back into this world, so it’s possible I could be wrong.
However, the way that Laini has pieced together this final part of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone saga, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to concentrate of what was being said or what was going on so fully before. I’m not sure if it’s because of the phrasing or the repetitiveness of some words (for example, the simple 2-lettered word “oh” is a constant in inner-thought-speak, as is the word “godstars”). What’s weird about it is that I didn’t know whether to be annoyed about it or intrigued about it. I think for the most part, I was just confused as the mention of the words time and time again.
Because of that, and the way the story is told, from not only Karou’s point of view, or Akiva’s point of view, but of several others as well, some being new characters. This can be frustrating to some readers, I would think, but it does add more mystery and suspense to the story, which eventually adds more complexity to the conclusion.
I will say that if you’re looking for some full-on action throughout the book, you might be slightly disappointed. There are a few times that violence is had, but for the most part, this is all drama and fantasy and emotion and pulling in pieces of a story together, some pieces having been only found in this book. It’s a mystery in that way. In a way, although many of the characters in this series are warriors and have been at war for all their lives, this is more about the longing to achieve peace from those warriors, both in mind and body. I guess from the beginning, that’s what it’s been about.
There is enough brutality, I think, that these characters have experienced (which we’ve already read about) that this third book is more of the long and hard process of said goal. Is it achieved in the end? Well, I can’t say.
What I can say is that I love Laini’s characters. They all have a purpose and they serve it well. We see growth in them. We see pain. We see longing. We see remorse. And love, and joy, and oh, more love. But it’s not an easy love. It’s a very, very hard love. A patient love.
Akiva and Karou are dealt with the harshest when it comes to this love. But there are scenes that are just lovely between them. I did, however, want more. And I’m pretty sure that was well intended by the author.
Mik and Zuzana grew on me, maybe for the sake of finding some kind of lightheartedness in moments of darkness throughout the book. Zuzana especially, that little ball of spitfire, became essential in just being who she’s always been.
Liraz was a surprise to me, although I should’ve seen it coming. With the loss of her brother Hazael in book 2, it was only right that the author would delve more into the mind of Liraz. And it was a good thing to see.
Ziri. Oh Ziri. What a character, to have to command an army he would just as soon run from if it were not for the fact that he had to play his part for the sake of Karou, and them all.
Laini did not let me down with her interpretation of each of them.
Even with that said, I found myself wanting more. Of course, the Epilogue helped. But considering what I said about Laini’s style being sort of a piece of non-linear or abstract art in a way, it makes sense that I would still want.
I’m the type that always wants a happy ending (old-fashioned, I know). But I’m okay with this “ending”.
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