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Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

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What power can bruise the sky?

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera's rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited—not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as—from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond—humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

613 pages, Hardcover

First published April 17, 2014

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About the author

Laini Taylor

35 books37.5k followers
Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out :-) Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It's about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas.

Thanks for reading!!

www.lainitaylor.com

@lainitaylor

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,261 reviews
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 10 books7,420 followers
April 15, 2018
In my review for Days of Blood and Starlight I basically said that Laini Taylor could re-write the phone book and I'd give it ALL the stars. So she wrote me a phone book. And I found out I was mistaken.

If this had progressed like it opened, I would have fangirled over it as hard as I did for the first two installments. The characters we've come to love have formed a shaky alliance with those they've called enemies for all their lives (<--- plural, get it? BECAUSE RESURECTION, HAHAHAHA). They're about to attempt the impossible, try to bring peace to their world. It's filled with dialog, action, suspense, etc. In short, it's filled with actual frigging scenes.

But then everything goes horribly wrong for our heroes and heroines, as it does, and we find ourselves back on earth, following the lives of new characters and trapped in chapters made up of huge blocks of narrative. The problem with this type of storytelling is that it drags. I, the reader, knew that shit was hitting the fan elsewhere and I lamented over being stuck inside the head of a person whom I'd just met and didn't give a shit about.

The further into the book I got, the worse things became. I didn't feel as though I were reading a book, I felt as though I were being lectured by the author, and I began to really notice it. So much so that it took away from the story progression.

Then repetition was introduced in that every single time that Karou and Akiva were near each other scratch that, every single time I found myself reading from their perspectives, I was subjected to their never-ending musings about each other. I find that sort of angst-filled repetition to not only be annoying, but patronizing. You've already told me three times that they pine for each other. I get it, really I do. I'm a semi-intelligent human being, I'm not going to forget this fact after taking a break from their internal monologue-filled narratives to read about Jim Whogivesafuck for thirty pages.

Between the long-winded pining, the info-dump expositions, and the repetition, I found myself starting to skim towards the end.

And then there was the never-ending Karou-Akiva-Contrivance. How many times are you going to have your main characters almost get together before pulling them apart again? You can only do this so much before it starts to feel forced and the reader becomes aware of the author's machinations. The last time was the final straw for me, and my skimming became full-page flipping for the last fifty or so pages, where I found out that three books of buildup led to a disappointing conclusion in their story arc.

In short, where the fuck was her editor?

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Profile Image for Jebediah.
203 reviews230 followers
August 27, 2016
Outside, the moon hung low. It sang of tremulous shadows and evenings past, of urban gunpowder and decay. In trembling hands, the reader held it. Alas, not the moon but something better. The solid weight of the book, after months of yearning and patient waiting. A creep of color in her cheeks, an imperceptible shiver of anticipation. Finally. She held it, not daring to believe -- but unable to stem the tide of hope and eagerness. It felt heavy. Six hundred and thirteen pages. An ending. A beginning. A dream. Of God and Monsters. The uncommon love story held within the desperately thick hardcover beckoned. She unfurled in her couch and began reading beside a steaming cup of decaffeinated tea that hinted of cinnamon and apples, of autumn long past. Would there ever again be such an autumn , she wondered absently, for a moment, before the tide of language pulled her under.

On and on she read. Akiva was manly but also beautiful. She was reminded repeatedly that his eyes were fire. Godstars and silverdust, they were fire. And Karou was a woman independent, strong, and brave. She led an army of revenants but she burned in the flames of Akiva’s eyes and his devotion to her, which knew no bounds. Karou stood fast, gulped, and joined her eyes with Akiva’s. In the known universe, there was nothing like these two sets of eyeballs, the same yet different. The eyeballs of Akiva and Karou. Each contained such intensity, grief, and resplendence, that the universe was destroyed and reborn each time their gazes locked. It was a thing indescribable in language. But the author tried anyway, over three books that sung with grief and hope. Across the nation, readers held their faces to the glimmering night sky and wept. They wept tears of moonshine and starlight. And they read.

After the universe reconstituted itself in the wake of Akiva and Karou’s soul-shattering look, the nature of their gazes … shifted. Karou’s was vivid, hopeful, searching. Akiva’s was troubled, unsure, and angry at the devastation he had caused her people. In a voice that was low and sweet and rough with love, he spoke: “hello.” Her hair was a shimmer of blue and her cream-colored face flushed and he thought, Gods, she was so beautiful. “Hi,” she said, and the word was a wisp and it brushed against his skin, soft as the caresses they had once shared before their worlds were torn asunder by a knowledge neither of them could ever unknow. As they looked on at each other, it seemed as though all the words in all the languages in all the worlds had been extinguished in the bright blaze of their love. What was there to say? But the ugly shadow of Thiago and his attempted brutalization of Karou hung low in the air between them, even lower than the moon outside the reader’s window. A very masculine rage tore through Akiva’s chest and threatened to blind him. I should have been there to protect you, he said, his voice choked with sorrow. The emotion in his voice seared its way through his body, and his chest rippled, slightly and gently as the leaves of a summer tree. Karou, strong and self-sufficient, said shortly, “I protected myself,” but her eyes were bright with tears. Outside, clouds were gathering. Clouds of hope and heartache.

But then the unthinkable happened. At the corner of the reader’s eye, a vibration. She turned and saw her iphone blinking the way it did only when someone was calling her. It was like a kick to her heartbeat, that burning light. The screen shone yellow-green, then sparked and blazed like a star calling out to the heavens. It was mom. Dear gods and stardust. She felt…exposed. Torn. An age-old conflict churned inside her: answer the call of duty or continue being caressed by the firelit words of the moonheavy book. Moments passed but seemed like years, like an eternity. She made her decision. She reached over and with the sly cunning of a fox, pressed a button that would silence the ring and as she did, revealed a smile like a lovechild of a shark and scimitar.

She drowned again. The author’s tortured prose opened its arms, and the reader fell into that lunatic embrace, an unwilling captive, and the world fell away around her. Oh, Akiva. Oh, Karou. Oh, two halves of one soul, their destiny written in war and blood. Oh, tears. The reader was dimly aware that plot and pacing were pitch-perfect, that occasional characters were well-drawn, and that the setting was still interesting. But in the end, these things were known and buried under prose that shone unbearably purple in the starlight, growing brighter and brighter like a wounded star in the night sky until there was nothing left of the dream of god and monsters, and of the reader's patience which lay in pieces on the desolate wasteland of her bedroom floor.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
275 reviews455 followers
September 11, 2021
"I heard the owls in Africa have lady heads."

And so ends one of the most fascinating YA Fantasy series I've come across this year. To be honest, many positive opinions notwithstanding, I always had the foreboding that this series might not turn out well. But Laini Taylor exceeded all my expectations by concluding the series with this lengthy, but thrilling last book.

"This needs to be witnessed, and spoken of far and wide. Sung."
"Beautiful interspecies badass seeks, um... non-mortal enemy for uncomplicated courtship."


It would be repetitive to appreciate Laini Taylor's storytelling, world building, or the character development anymore. She's awesome at each of these things and I've said enough on that in my earlier reviews. But what I cannot get enough of is her prose. It feels quite poetic, which is not something one would expect in a fantasy series, making the reading experience very entertaining. She has a very unique way with the words.

"Declaring an end and achieving an end were different animals."

I was not expecting to see any new characters here, at least major ones, but the author gives us a brand new plotline again. led by a new key character. I was a bit confused at start, for, I thought it to be a gamble to use such a tactic at this point of the story. But it all came very well together towards the end, with Taylor bringing all those seemingly independent plot lines to one. And I'm really happy with the ending. She had found a solid middle ground, with sufficient amount of disappointment to make everything seem tangible, while delivering a satisfying conclusion. As I said before, I did not get in to this series with a lot of expectations. But after this trilogy, I believe it's safe to say, Laini Taylor has become one of my favorite fantasy writers. I hope Strange The Dreamer would keep the momentum going.

"Ignorance and power. They're a poor combination."
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,445 followers
May 25, 2019
Reread with friends over at For Love Of A Book. CHECK OUT MY WALL ART OF KAROU





I'm so happy with this ending ❤



Karou and Akiva must find a way to bring the beasts and angels together to fight against the evil angels. It's hard work but they manage to get it done with a few rough starts and stops. They have some help with a secret Karou is carrying.

What a brilliant author Laini Taylor is to come up with the worlds that she does.

There is also another character that has a very interesting (to put it mildly) part in the book. Her name is Eliza. I enjoyed her character quite a bit.

Karou's best friends, Zuzana and Mik are in the middle of it all. Just two small humans in an unhuman world. I love them so much and they were great through the whole thing. They also brought many comedic moments.

Liraz is there and hating stuff as much as always but she is there for her brother Akiva. BUT, she does show a sweet side when no one is looking and she gets a crush that will turn to love. I was so happy and it was lovely how sweet they were together. NO, I'm not saying who it is.

Ziri is there, another one of Karou's best friends but he was a monster like her. I don't like calling them monsters because they were the good monsters but that's how we keep them separate. Ziri rising above and beyond the call of duty to help both the seraphim and chimaera! I loved him so much. He put himself in a very precarious situation and he rocked it. And, oh the outcome, he was perfect and he finally got what he wanted in life. Not what he thought in the beginning, but even more. ♥

I loved the books in this trilogy. I loved all of the creatures and I WISH there was a graphic novel or some kind of artwork book of all the creatures. They were just so awesome sounding. Actually, I would like to see this trilogy as a movie too, as long as they didn't mess it up. It's a very serious book and not something you could cartoon up.

Anyway, I'm happy and that is all that matters =)

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,079 reviews17.2k followers
November 1, 2019
my future wife: do you love me
me: yes
my future wife: are you ever going to love me as much as you love Liraz from those books you read five years ago
me: ...I’ll get back to you on that

⭐️

This series has moved so far beyond its roots in DoSaB. Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a war epic, not just the story of a demon and angel's forbidden love. Everything lovely about the first book is simply one part of a whole story. There's so much nuance to both the themes and the characters. This is a series you could analyze for hours.

The writing is still unspeakably beautiful, simple yet gorgeous. Laini Taylor's writing flows across the page to the point where instead of skipping across paragraphs as I usually do, I was hanging on her every word. I'd read her grocery lists.

In terms of plot, though, this disappointed me slightly. For the first 500 pages, the plot is near-perfect, with brilliant twists and reveals. Yet my largest issue lies in the final hundred pages. The plot thread of the stelians needed far more buildup. It's great to see worldbuilding get even more fleshed-out, but when the first two books were so vague about worldbuilding, the focus on multiple universes seems completely out of the blue. It's an extra hundred pages spent on a plotline that has nothing to do with anything else in the story. The plotline should've been integrated more into the full story previously in the book, at the very least.

EXTENDED YELLING ABOUT THE CHARACTER WORK

Karou and Akiva's character arcs in this book were frankly a bit underwhelming. After the growth and change they went through in book two, much of this book is plot-driven. They're both compelling characters and I absolutely loved seeing them finally get together, but they didn't grow quite enough for me. Most of their growth comes through their relationship, so thank god that Karou and Akiva are still a great couple. Their scenes in the first half were few and far between, which served only to make them more tear-worthy. The touch of instalove from book one has become a complex relationship full of moments that touch my heart.

I'm going to dedicate an entire paragraph to my two favorite characters: Liraz and Ziri. These two have each developed so much since book one. Ziri's goodness and sense of duty towards Karou both saddened me and gave me hope for humanity. His new form allowed the narrative to explore his character even more. Liraz's brutality and desire to be more than a machine mix to form an extremely compelling character. And their relationship delighted me. I know Liraz and Ziri being in a relationship is slightly convenient, and I don't care because they fit. Their personalities are so opposite yet so similar, and it's lovely. I'm unspeakably happy about them.

Of course, Zuzana and Mik are delightful. The addition of Eliza's narrative voice surprisingly helped too. These three add a touch of humor to an otherwise disturbing story. Also LOVIN THE IMPLIED LESBIANS AT THE END. RIDIN OFF INTO THE SUNSET TOGETHER. LAINI I LOVE YOU.

Definitely recommend this trilogy for any fantasy fans. It's been a lovely ride.

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Profile Image for Elaine.
347 reviews225 followers
April 13, 2015
Laini Taylor is god, or well, a godstar and I will forever be sitting in awe of her genius imagination.

In all honesty, this trilogy hands down deserves a solid five glowing stars (or more really) but I just can't help but feel a little let down by the lack of a climax in this last book. The last was chock full of gorgeously amazing prose as per usual and Zuze's hilarious and impactful one-liners but I couldn't help but crave for more action. Perhaps the second just blew me away with its epic-ness. We also had some deus ex machina in play and info dumping which I was not expecting.

All in all, despite the little misgivings I had, Dreams and the entire trilogy was just an amazingly (cannot emphasize this enough) magical journey. One that I'm not ready to leave just yet. Now bring on that Zuzana and Mik quote book! I DEMAND IT.


COVER REVEAL!



I love the red of the second cover but THIS. Karou looks fierce as hell.
So much love.



Update 16/05/13

Guys, this book now has a beautifully gorgeous title.


APRIL 2014 COME TO ME.

Update 18/12/12:

So someone highlighted to me that the release date has been pushed back to 2014 and I was like


Then I was like


Cue emotional wailing and denial.




Oh, can I PLEASE have this book earlier?
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
588 reviews3,479 followers
December 14, 2021
Cynical Natalie: Since no one else in this goddamn city has the guts to say this, I will: Why the fuck is the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series so popular?

Nice Natalie: Hush! Do you want to alienate everyone in the YA community before this review has even started?

Cynical Natalie: Someone has to be the voice of reason.

Nice Natalie: Oh, get off your high horse. I remember a certain someone ignoring the cute guy in class because she couldn't stop reading The Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

Cynical Natalie: That was only because I was in the middle of a tense part.

Nice Natalie: Please, you thought the entire thing was the bees' knees. The plot was beautiful and managed to include characters we'd originally written off as one-book placeholders from The Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Laini clearly had a long-term plot in mind from book one and she executed it flawlessly.

Cynical Natalie: I wouldn't say flawlessly. The beginning and ending was a slog to get through. It nearly put me to sleep.

And don't get me started on the romance.

Nice Natalie: Oh, boy, here we go.

Cynical Natalie: Karou and Akiva's epic romance is insta-love. Insta. Love. There is no foundation for their romance from day one! Karou took one look at the feathery bastard and went, "Dayum, that boy is hot. Gotta get me some of that."



Even the so-called connection from her past life can't help. Because, guess what? Madrigal and Akiva were Red String lovers too! She comes across him in a battlefield, doesn't murder his ass like she's supposed to, and Akiva tracks her down to a ball and makes her a shawl of moths. Bam, that's it. Never-ending lurve despite them knowing each other for like what—two minutes and a dance?

Nice Natalie: Akiva knows that. And acknowledges it. That's why he wants to know her better.

Cynical Natalie: Doesn't change the fact that this trilogy is built on a lie. And it's not only them and their stupid goo-goo eyes. Liraz and Ziri stank of convenience. We have to solve the Karou-Ziri-Akiva love triangle somehow, even though Ziri never had a fishfinger's chance in hell of getting the girl, so let's slap him with the battle-hardened angel. This way, Karou doesn't have to hurt anyone's feelings and Ziri can replace her the way Jacob replaced Bella with Reneeesme. Is it too much to ask that a character get over a love through time and space, instead of another person? What kind of message does that send out?

Nice Natalie: You're completely misinterpreting the point. It's to create a parallel: Karou, a female chimera is with Akiva, a male angel; and Ziri, a male chimera is with Liraz, a female angel.

Cynical Natalie: Blah, blah, blah. Save it for literature class.

Actually, no, I got another allusion to Twilight. Karou, like Bella, only ever thinks about kissing Akiva. That's the extent of her sexy thoughts. No petting the kitty, no stroking the sword, no target practice.

Nice Natalie: Er, are you talking about sexy times?

Cynical Natalie: Just trying to keep it clean. Much like this book. I could polish my silver on it. Give me the hormone-charged, repeated safe sex of Opposition any day.

Nice Natalie: Laini's writing is so lyrical and poetic, talking about blow jobs would ruin it. Even the occasional everyday slang used within sound out of place.

Cynical Natalie: Then maybe she should tone it down a little. Her prose is suffocating in its beauty.



We know you're the Jane Austen of the decade, babe. Now let's try for a little simplicity. And humor. You can never go wrong with humor.

Nice Natalie: Zuzana is snarky.

Cynical Natalie: Eh, she's alright. She was one of the few characters I gave a fuck about. Too bad she

Back to the character I really don't give a fuck about, how did Akiva pull a deux ex machina out of his ass and have the would-be fatal knife pass through him?

Nice Natalie: It's magic, remember? Akiva learned to tap into cosmic energy.

Cynical Natalie: Cosmic energy...



Nice Natalie: It was done with proper foreshadowing.

Cynical Natalie: I'm not even going to get into that ludicrous shit. Let's make it 2.5 stars and call it day.

Nice Natalie: You were hooked on it!

Cynical Natalie: Until the confusing ending. Everything's dandy, then some mystic dudes turn up with a new mission. It's like freaking fanfiction.

Nice Natalie: She's leaving it open for a spin-off.

Cynical Natalie: Hear that sound in the distance? It's ka-ching of cash registers everywhere.

Nice Natalie: Must you nitpick everything?

Cynical Natalie: I'm a hater. Haters gonna nitpick, nitpick, nitpick.



Nice Natalie: Really? You're going to bring Taylor Swift into this?

Cynical Natalie: I have a arsenal of Taylor gifs at my disposal. Stand down, sir.

Nice Natalie: At least make it a 3.5.

Cynical Natalie: Counting down... three

Nice Natalie: Look at those glowing 5-star reviews!

Cynical Natalie: That's why I exist. Two...

Nice Natalie: Everyone will hate us.

Cynical Natalie: This is the Internet. What else is new? One...

Nice Natalie: THREE STARS AND THAT'S MY FINAL OFFER.

Cynical Natalie: Fine.



FYI, if Laini writes a spin-off, we'd probably have to come back and do this all over again.

Nice Natalie: Oh, God...


Pre-review: I will read this just for the sake of finishing this series.



Come on, Laini Taylor, hit me with your best shot.

Other Nice Natalie/Cynical Natalie brawls reviews:
The Fault in Our Stars
Warcross
If I Stay
A Girl Like You
The Martian
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Catching Fire
All The Rage
An Ember In The Ashes
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
The Hammer of Thor
The Ship of the Dead
Caraval
The Last Namsara
Profile Image for Samantha.
401 reviews16.6k followers
August 18, 2017
3.75 stars! I still really enjoyed this book but I felt this could have been a 4 book series, so the last half in particular felt a bit disjointed. Review to come on my channel!
Profile Image for karen.
3,968 reviews170k followers
July 26, 2018
words fail me.

this book has left me stunned and gasping and utterly satisfied, but unable to string together the words to convey the feels.

this is such a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that owns my heart completely.

and yes, i gave this one four stars, not five. but that doesn't mean i didn't love it like crazy. it just means that it was not as good as Days of Blood & Starlight, but it's really immaterial - this book sings.

her worldbuilding is top-notch, her plot-mapping and characterization are impeccable, her language is gorgeous, her escape hatches are perfectly plausible within the world she has created, and the obstacles she throws in the path of her would-be lovers don't feel contrived.

everything in this book feels appropriate and necessary and the tension in both love and war and the in-between is guttingly good.

the only thing keeping this from the five-star is - as much as i enjoyed the stelians and eliza as characters, i just think it is less satisfying to have the third book of a trilogy be wrapped up by these fashionably-late-to-the-party characters, and that angelus ex machina situation was a little disappointing, but not unfair. just a little easier than her solutions generally are.

but still - all of my love to this book and its previous two. it's a fantasy series that has real-world relevance that transcends its genre in the smartest ways. the sacrifices and regrets and hard choices, the (mis)perceptions informed by prejudices and the impossibilities and faith and falling. the angels with baggage, "tauntaun" used as a verb, the banter between zuzana and mik, the strategic betrayals, the dirt and pit-stains of travel, the belief in chocolate cake at the end, and the bone-deep weariness of hope.

this series has weight, and it has left its mark on me.



once upon a time

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
April 21, 2014
I enjoyed this finale much more than I did Days of Blood and Starlight. There’s just something about seeing Karou and Akiva steal away precious moments in the midst of impending death. However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending. Taylor chose to introduce new characters and it felt a bit jarring for a final book. Out of nowhere, characters who I’d just met suddenly became extremely important to the plot when all I really wanted was more Karou and Akiva. The sexual tension and want between those two was through the roof and I JUST NEEDED THEM TO KISS ALREADY. What I find interesting is how with Daughter of Smoke and Bone I quickly labeled this series as PNR, but now that doesn’t feel accurate. Sure, there is a love story at its root, but has become so much more than that. It feels more Fantasy and less PNR by the end, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t left craving more of that romantic spark I felt in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. A part of me wants to read a straight PNR from Taylor just so my feels can burst into flames. Overall, I loved this book and this series still remains a favorite.

(There better be a spin-off planned, because I smell a spin-off.)

======

This cover... This cover... oh my gosh!

 photo rainbow_zpse3ec706a.gif
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
364 reviews950 followers
May 6, 2021
Let’s face it...who here — who knows me — is actually surprised by this rating? I have an obsession and that obsession is called Books Written By Laini Taylor. xD

This is one of the most epic conclusions that I’ve ever read to a series. Talk about an amazing ending! My ships sailed and my babies lived happily ever after. ...So, that’s good enough for me! ;) I seriously hope that Laini will choose to write more books about this phenomenal world (maybe even cross over with Strange the Dreamer?) and these lovely characters because a mere three books is not nearly enough! <3
Profile Image for jessica.
2,479 reviews29.7k followers
September 5, 2018
well, this unfortunately just earned itself a place on my ‘series i tried to love as much as everyone else, but failed to’ list, right next to the raven cycle. a sad day for all involved.

there was definitely a lot more going on in this than there was in the second book. but it just felt so all over the place? like, the conflict that had been brewing in the previous books is resolved without a whole lot of fanfare. its kind of just over with one conversation, in one chapter. even though there were still 150 pages left in the book! which brought us to the reason why there had been random glimpses of characters in this, but who were never even introduced? i mean, side plots can be a great literary device, but when they come out of nowhere this one, im just left thinking, ‘well, whats even the point of that?’ for a book as lengthy as this, it just felt very tedious and not as meaningful as i would have liked. i feel like this book definitely focused more on quantity rather than quality, which made it difficult for me to care about anything.

but as always, laini taylors writing was on point. i will give her that. i just think she bit off a little more than she could chew by trying to cram too much into one book, making it 600 pages of randomness. still, im glad i finished the series and got some closure. i have no doubt that i will forever be in awe of those who managed to love this series with all their heart. you guys are the real MVPs!

3 stars
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,425 reviews9,006 followers
May 19, 2022
After a previous stutter start, I have finally completed this series. Series completion is a feat I don't achieve often. I have a horrible habit of reading the first book in a series, but never continuing.



I listened to the audiobooks for this entire trilogy. The narrator is the same throughout and does an excellent job of bringing the story to life.

The first time I tried to read Dreams of Gods & Monsters, however, I kept getting to the same spot and getting stuck. My mind kept wandering. I could not remained focused.



This time, I was determined. I could do this and, you know, I am glad I did.

Also happy to be done with this, not going to lie. I leave so many series unfinished. It's a problem.



There's no denying Laini Taylor is one hell of a writer. Her characters are interesting, the worlds well constructed, there is humor and action; she is a true wordsmith.

My problem with this trilogy, I have finally decided, was Akiva. I'm just going to say it: I did not like him. At all.

Easy now. Put your pitchforks down.



I just could not get behind him. He was so bland and boring. Now Ziri, he was someone I could get behind. I loved his storyline in this one, it made my heart sing.

Then of course, Zuzana and Mik. I adored them and was so happy they were along for the ride in all three installments in spite of the fact that they aren't technically part of the magical world. andMy favorite addition in this book was the incorporation of the scientists.



Adding the human element, what was going on around the globe after the angels arrived was just really, really cool. I loved that part. Eliza was a great addition as well.

Overall, this was a good series. I am not swooning over it, but it was good and I'm glad I read it.



I am going to read Night of Cake & Puppets for sure, as Mik and Zuz are some of the best side characters ever, IMO.

I also will be reading basically anything else Laini Taylor writes because, beauty.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
Want to read
August 14, 2018
description

It's been a while since I read "Days of blood and starlight". If you know me you would probably know that I am an ultimate fan of the this series. It's one of my all time favorites. I have saved this one for the winter break,but before I read this I wanted a feedback from you.Have you read it and if so,what did you think?

description
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
August 3, 2017
I don't know what happened but this book just got SO boring! The first two had a really cool world and the characters were so funny and dynamic but this just lost everything. It focused on characters I didn't care about, and it made the plot contingent on people I couldn't care less about. The war aspects of this book were skimmed over, and I'm just so confused. I hate books that talk about the paranormal/fantasy world spilling over into the normal human world, because there's just no way to recover from that and it's so uncomfortable to read. I loved the first book in this series but it just evolved into something entire too long-winded, and it was too anticlimactic of an ending for me to feel like it was even worth it to finish the series.
Profile Image for April.
146 reviews252 followers
April 19, 2017
"We haven't been introduced."

What a perfect ending to this fantastic series.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
April 16, 2021
This felt so, so loooong upon reread, weighted down but too many new characters and newly introduced mythology, which separately were interesting, but together made the book almost unwieldy. I think the book would have had more momentum without the introduction of Eliza's story arc. Less pointless angst would have been nice too.
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The mythology becomes a little overcomplicated, a bit of deus ex machina in the end, maybe too much of Karou/Akiva romantic tension (can't they just do "it" already?). But all in all very satisfying. I think I would enjoy a story a lot (I am a big time shipper of these two).
Profile Image for Nataliya.
714 reviews11.3k followers
April 15, 2014
"It was not a happy ending, but a happy middle - at last, after so many fraught beginnings."
And so the last page is turned, and I'm feeling content. I was afraid of disappointment, but it never came.

This story started strong, soared in the middle and came a conclusion that made me happy - with a slight open-endedness that is there as a gentle reminder that beyond the conclusion for the Chimaera and the Seraphim, Karou and Akiva there's more. Because no good story is truly complete just with a happy ending alone. There are no endings in life. But there are happy middles. And they make me strangely content.
"There is no acceptable level of collateral damage."

Two books ago we started with a blue-haired young woman, an art student in Prague by day and by night the collector of teeth for unknown magic done by the mysterious Chimaera creatures who raised her. And then her strange but comfortable world shattered as she found herself in the middle of apparent annihilation of the entire species who have not only raised her but to which she used to belong - long ago, in another life, in another body, having dared to dream a brave dream of peace with an eternal enemy - the enemy who, having barely become her lover, has also become the weapon of destruction for her entire race.

We saw the devastation of the brutal war, the genocide, and the fight back of which Karou - shattered and broken and suffering from despair and guilt - has become an integral part; a fight back that promised as much brutality and destruction as the force that started it. We saw a former murderer look into the bleakness of what he's done, see the abyss staring back at him, and in horror and disgust with what he saw he tried to put things right, clinging to the memory of that wild dream conceived years ago.
And now that dream is still alive, despite all odds, despite the blood and death and revenge and grief and despair. Despite centuries of hatred and prejudice and violence.

The dream of peace and the longing for dull days beautiful in their calmness.
"History conditioned you for epic-scale calamity. Once, when she was studying the death toll of battles in World War I, she's caught herself thinking, Only eight thousand men died here. Well, that's not many. Because next to, say, the million who died at the Somme, it wasn't. The stupendous numbers deadened you to the merely tragic, and history didn't average in the tame days for balance. On this day, no one in the world was murdered. A lion gave birth. Ladybugs lunched on aphids. A girl in love daydreamed all morning, neglecting her chores, and wasn't even scolded.

What was more fantastical than a dull day?"
The dream of Karou and Akiva is simple - the future in which the former enemies can live in peace. Beating swords into plowshares. The dream as old as the world itself, and yet in its simplicity strangely unattainable. Because to attain it you need to let go of the past filled with blood and losses and grief. Because you need to see your enemy as a person, and be able to let go, to forgive, to accept. Because you need to let the dead rest in peace.
'The dead,' she said. 'And we have plenty of dead between us, but the way we act, you'd think they were corpses hanging on to our ankles, rather than souls freed to the elements. [...] They're gone, they can't be hurt anymore, but we drag their memory around with us, doing our worst in their name, like it's what they'd want, for us to avenge them? I can't speak for all the dead, but I know it's not what I wanted for you, when I died. And I know it's not what Brimstone wanted for me, or for Eretz.'

This book continues to expand the scope of events just as its beloved-by-me predecessor did, and opens new threads instead of (or, should I say, in addition to) marching along to wrap up the story. And that's what can - and I'm sure already did - leave so many readers unsettled. Because doing that in the conclusion of beloved series is wrought with trouble.

The ever-expanding scope of the story? So much can go wrong with that. 'The Song of Ice and Fire' be the prime example of the peril that expansion of the storyline can bring, to the point where focus shifts so much that you are not sure whether it's just fuzziness now. Normally I'd be the first to grudgingly point it out. But yet for me it worked here, unexpectedly and so neatly that it caught me by surprise.

The introduction of a larger theme than the courageous dream of two lovers leading to reshaping of their world did not erase the significance of the 'smaller' goal. Not at all. No, instead it helped create the sense of the world bigger than just their dream, with their story - as far-reaching as it's consequences may be - becoming just a chapter in the history of their world, and not even a crown jewel of it. It helped create a feeling that there's is more to the scope of this world than Karou and Akiva alone - neatly subverting the Chosen Ones trope at the same time - and creating a 'happy middle' in place of a happy ending. The significance of 'our' story is not diminished - but it is also not a final culmination, and I thought it was awesome.
Laini Taylor's lovely prose and juuuust the right amount of humor - not only for comedic relief but also by contrast to underscore the grimness of the situation - are just as enjoyable as in the first two books. She knows how to create beautiful and yet simple passages that flow so organically and pull you into the story completely. Her array of interesting, fully-fleshed secondary characters who actually make you care is impressive (Zuzana, Mik, Ziri, Liraz, Issa, Eliza - just to name a few). Her pacing, even though just a tad off in places, is overall decent. Her descriptions are vivid but not overpowering.

And - thanks to all the literary gods for hearing my fervent prayers - she sticks with the third person narration that seems to become more and more rare in the present day landscape of literature for young people. And manages to avoid the omnipresent suggestion of vomit-inducing love triangles. And manages to create so many instances of not only strong female heroines but also a genuine friendship between young women without the omnipresent underscores of competitive bitchery to each other (and that is, sadly, rare in books of our time). Zuzana in particular, I love you and your fierce awesomeness and loyalty.
"Maybe she couldn't make Karou's life - or love - less complicated, and maybe she didn't have any helpful hints when it came to, oh, angel invasions or dangerous deceptions or armies that clearly just wanted to start killing each other, but she could do this at least. She could make her friend laugh."
All in all, I thought it was a strong and lovely conclusion to a strong and lovely story. It is not without its flaws - but, of course, perfection without flaws would run a danger of becoming boring. Even Mona Lisa lacks perfection in her eyebrow-less stare. (Tongue-in-cheek here, oh you serious art critics!)

4.5 stars. Or godstars. Or teeth. Or monsters. Or wishbones. Whatever. It's good, that's the point.
"It was a new idea for him, that happiness wasn't a mystical place to be reached or won - some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it - but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies. Food, weapons, happiness.
With hope that the weapons could in time vanish from the picture.
A new way of living."

-----------
My review of 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone'.
My review of 'Days of Blood and Starlight'.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,178 reviews317 followers
April 9, 2014
I finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters with the overwhelming feeling of crushing disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I'm devastated by this book, and upset at myself for not being able to like it more. The thing is, this is not a bad story. It contains beautiful scenes, moments of greatness, and of course, beloved characters. But so much of that was overshadowed by extras. My only explanation is that the ideas of this story got to be too big for even what this one massive page count could contain. While I’ve always loved how epic this series has been since the beginning, that element backfired in the conclusion.

Five ways this story faltered for me:

1) Dreams of Gods and Monsters has way too much story in it even for its 600 page length. There were several plot threads I wanted to take out entirely (see #3 for more on this). I just could not care about all of them. I was especially disappointed in the last 15% of the book when the new stories and characters suddenly became Very Important. I’m still confused about what happened, and frustrated about the many details left open or poorly explained.

2) The pacing of this book is wildly off balance. The narration starts prior to the end of Days of Blood and Starlight, and it takes the first 30% to get past that point. While I’m glad to have the details of the end of book 2 explained better, I was anxious about how this could end adequately based on all the different stories going (my premonition was good). Dreams of Gods and Monsters progresses at a slow and measured pace for at least the first two thirds, continually switching between numerous voices. Then all of a sudden there is an explosion of storylines out the end. There just wasn't enough room for all of them.

3) I did not care about the new character Eliza, or the major role the Stelians played in this book. If they were to be as massive a part of the conclusion, I wish they had been introduced sooner in the series. I'm sad because I feel like I lost Brimstone and Karou and Akiva’s dream in the wake of all the new elements. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, just that that part of the story no longer had the same weight as before - or that I wanted it to have. In many ways, this book feels like the beginning of something new, instead of the culmination of the previous books. I don't mind spinoffs, and I like when a story doesn't wrap in a perfectly neat bow. But this was too much introduced too late and then left unexplained.

4) The plot device of "plan thwarting" was used too frequently in the second half of the book. I don't want to go into too many details and spoil anything, but this happened over and over again to my increased anxiety. So much so that I began to worry that this plot would never move forward. I get that out maneuvering each other is the whole idea of war. But it was done in the same way every time, and got to be too repetitive. I'm still not over the last one.

5) There are some wonderful gems in this book. As expected, the language is gorgeous, and I was excited to see many hoped for elements come to pass. But a lot of them were overshadowed by the extra plots, characters I couldn't care about, and a whole new story direction. Parts that I hoped would be HUGE, felt anticlimactic, while some other parts I didn’t care about took on a lot of weight in the story. Ziri, Liraz, Zuzana and Mik’s sections are shining moments. I still love Karou and Akiva. But their slowly reconnecting romance, which started out beautifully at the beginning of this third installment, was another element overshadowed by other things. This is one of the big reasons why I feel such disappointment.

After falling in love with the first two books in the series, I'm incredibly sad about my reaction to the third. I’ve also come to realize that my emotional response to a book can cloud out almost everything else. Emotionally I feel wounded by this story, because of how much it didn’t meet my expectations. However, I've seen reviews by other bloggers who had similar criticism, but still loved this. It's all in your perspective, and unfortunately, I was unable make myself enjoy this more. So far, time and distance hasn't helped either. Still, I did buy a hard copy of this finale and would recommend the series as a whole.

If you’re freaked out by my thoughts, I do think many people will love this book. There is a lot of horror and heartbreak in these pages, but there is also a lot of hope and happy. I just wish I could shift through all the clutter and see it better.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series conclusion – but lots left open for future books.

Find this and other reviews on my blog Love is not a triangle
Profile Image for Dorreh.
63 reviews199 followers
December 4, 2016
I wanted to love this book. I really did, honest, but it just didn't amaze.

I picked up the daughter of smoke and bone based on the recommendation of a fellow book junky.Needless to say i simply adored the book. It was so innovative and incredibly unique, so much so that you felt yourself drifting through the pages with this sense of euphoria. I loved the characters, the humor, the incredible setting, and the constant turmoil that sprung the book to life. Although i do admit i was never a big fan of Akiva from the beginning, i rooted for ziri and liraz way more than i did for the main characters and their love affair. All in all this book disappointed me more than it amazed me. With the mesmerizing author that is Laini taylor and her incredible sense of story telling, i expected so much more out of this book, especially that i loved the first two installments. I will however give her credit for the way she made everything fit into the 600 or so pages that was this book. Her work is still some of the best things i've read, regardless of the fact that this last one kinda let me down.
Profile Image for Jill.
600 reviews1,363 followers
September 22, 2014


4.5 stars

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.

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The Visitors have arrived. First appearing in Uzbekistan, they land finally in St Peter's Basilica, Rome. Jael and his army of angels have come to Earth.

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Though Earth's population holds conflicting views on the Visitors' intentions, Akiva and Karou know that Jael and his minions pose nothing less than a threat to both Earth and Eretz. An alliance between Karou's chimaera and Akiva's brethren, the Misbegotten is the worlds' only hope.

We are the beginning.

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While Akiva and Karou work side-by-side to save their worlds, an unknown force threatens Akiva, and will eventually bring him down the path of the revelation of his history, his family, and who he really is.

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Ziri walks a knife's edge as he continues the great deception. Zuzana and Mik - Best Secondary Characters ever - join the battle at Karou's side.

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And a new, troubled character comes to the fore. Who is she? And why is she haunted by dreams of gods and monsters?

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The adventure has taken Akiva and Karou from the beginnings in Prague across cities and continents and through two worlds.

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Fans of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series will not be disappointed in this long-awaited finale. Laini Taylor has magically tied off all the threads of this story, and managed to tie my stomach in knots, lift my heart, and make me smile - often all at the same time. This author's imagination is truly extraordinary. Her ability to translate those imaginings into descriptive, often poetic prose, has made this series a joy to read. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is in my opinion the best of the trilogy.

This series is highly recommended for readers of fantasy, young adult and mature adult alike. An immensely satisfying conclusion to an epic, inventive fantasy and a sweet, moving love story.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.

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Steam: 1.5

ARC courtesy of Hachette Australia via NetGalley

Profile Image for anya forger ⭐ (jim).
21 reviews29 followers
August 9, 2016
So I finished it...



Pre-Review:
Profile Image for Ails.
260 reviews273 followers
June 7, 2017
5 STARS

This series felt like a dream. A lush and beautiful and riveting dream.

“Absence has presence, sometimes, and that was what she felt. Absence like crushed-dead grass where something has been and is no longer. Absence where a thread has been ripped, ragged, from a tapestry, leaving a gap that can never be mended. That was all she felt.”


Absence. And that was what I felt after reading the final book in this series.

I'm in awe. What a grand and spectacular way to end this stunning trilogy of war and magic.

The story is huge in so many ways; the vast and unknowable universe, the infinity of the present, and the never-ending possibilities surrounding the world of angels, beasts, and humans. This book made me feel exactly what the universe had made Eliza feel ― that it's greater beyond itself, too big for my human mind to compass, and it's overwhelming and marvelous and everything a fantasy book should be.

“There was only the present, and it was infinite. The past and the future were just blinders we wore so that infinity wouldn’t drive us mad.”


I'm completely mesmerized by Laini Taylor's ability to interweave magic, mythology, and physics in a rich and intricate writing. Her prose is always evocative and gorgeous, always as sumptuous as poetry. She created a complex and dazzling world filled with enigmatic and unique characters I'll never forget.

I'm giving this book a 5-star rating not because I think everything about it is perfect. It's seriously massive at a whooping 600 pages and I admit there were parts where I got bogged down in the exquisite details. I'm giving this book a 5-star rating because it's a very compelling read that will twist your perception of angels and demons, magic, myth, and existence. This book is phenomenal, and giving it any less than 5 stars is injustice.

Overall, Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a very satisfying conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series.

Goodbye Loramendi and Eretz.

Goodbye Zuzana, Mik, Brimstone, Issa, Zirri, Liraz, Eliza, and all the angels and chimaeras.

Goodbye Karou and Akiva.

Thank you for the breath-catching and wonderful reading experience.

“It was not a happy ending, but a happy middle—at last, after so many fraught beginnings. Their story would be long. Much would be written of them, some of it in verse, some sung, and some in plain prose, in volumes to be penned for the archives of cities not yet built. Against Karou's express wish, none of it would be dull.”



•••

PAST UPDATES:

PUBLICATION YEAR: 2014

2014.......

2014...……

2014?!?!?!?????


WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT!!!!??



OMYGOD 2 YEARS OF WAITING AND TORTURE!!!!!

TORTUUUURRREEEEE!!!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,050 followers
April 12, 2015
"Happiness wasn't a mystical place to be reached or won--some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it--but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies."

Months of gathering courage wasn't enough preparation for this epic finale because after reading the book, I still ended up in a state I tried so hard to avoid- an emotional mess!!!



After reading Allegiant, I made a promise to myself never to get too attached to characters again because the result to me is often not pretty, but Laini Taylor is just too stubborn to accept that.

The author must have secret magical powers to be able to create such wonderful, effective, fully detailed characterizations by how well she brings her readers to the minds of each of her character no matter how little the role. She will make you empathize with each one of the them even with the most obnoxious Razgut.

My heart drowned in so much emotions for Ziri, Oh, Ziri!How my heart bled for him, for his sacrifice and selflessness. I shed tears for Liraz, suffered Karou's pain, felt Akiva's grief, laughed with Mik and Zuzana and I could go on and on because this is how deeply I felt connected to the characters which is something I do not often feel in fantasy books lately.

The enormity of the main conflict and the intensity of the minor ones will put you at the edge of your seat, give you goosebumps (the good kind) or will keep your eyes from blinking.

The deconstructive take on the popular concept of good vs. evil is impressively thought provoking while the effect of the stunningly exquisite writing is similar to that of the noblest man wooing a maiden through the most beautiful words or that of the most gracefully elegant dance that melts the heart and moistens the eyes.



The first book is sweet, the second one bitter but this finale is the perfect blend of bitter and sweet and although it did not give me my HEA (Finally found the perfect chance to use that acronym), it gave me the most logically and satisfyingly bittersweet conclusion that deserves a press of the golden button or a standing ovation.

"It was not a happy ending but a happy middle--at last, after so many fraught beginnings."


Profile Image for Charlotte May.
673 reviews1,028 followers
May 31, 2019
"We will fight for our world to the last echo of our souls."

3.5 ⭐️

Not gonna lie. I didn’t entirely get the ending...
This took me far longer than a book of this length normally would, I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight but for whatever reason, I just couldn't enjoy this one in the same way.
It's very long, there are a lot of descriptions of the war, and the relations between Chimera and Serphim, I definitely feel like some of it could have been cut down.
Karou and Akiva have managed to combine the forces of the angels with the Chimera in order to fight Jael and his legion of Seraphim.

I liked the plot, it was a good 'end of the world as we know it' saga; I liked the characters, especially Liraz and Ziri <3 but I was definitely getting fed up with Karou and Akiva's pining over one another, and as I mentioned in the beginning I didn't really understand the ending, like at all.



Hmm, yeah I dunno. Which is a shame because I was so enraptured with book 1, but it just seemed to fizzle out for me. I am excited to try her Stranger the Dreamer duology though!

"I forgive you. I love you. I want you, at the end of all this. The dream, peace, and you."

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