Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Posted April 13, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult / 76 Comments

Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published on: April 8 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 613
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she's ever known.

When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat--and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves--maybe even toward love.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera, and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

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I love pie. This is not a secret. I particularly love blueberry pie (which is weird b/c I HATE blueberries). My husband does too. So much that on his birthday, he’d rather have pie than cake. I’m happy to oblige, but b/c I’m a miser and a glutton (when it comes to pie), I always make two—one for guests, and one for me and the hubs when they leave. I eat our pie for breakfast with a ginormous scoop of Edy’s vanilla bean ice cream.

It’s kind of like cereal, right?

Anyway, the further we get from the hubs birthday, the more covetous I get of the pie. Three days after the fact, it no longer seems like Birthday Pie, it’s just pie, so the slices get progressively larger until I make myself sick of pie.

Yes, that’s right. Sick. Of pie. Gluttony 1, Jessica 0.

That’s the best analogy I can come up with for Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I love this book, I love this series, but I think I gorged myself on it. I crammed all 600+ pages in without really letting the individual parts settle, so that I’m left with a confused mishmash of conflicting emotions: I’m happy, I’m sad. I’m annoyed, I’m elated. I feel cheated, I’m satisfied.

Since I can’t talk about what happens, I will tell you that this final book strikes a happy balance between the series’ previous installments, so regardless of whether you preferred Daughter of Smoke & Bone, or Days of Blood & Starlight, you’ll like this one. It has some of the drama and angst of book 2, but most of that is resolved quickly and painlessly, enabling the warm fuzziness and wonderment of book 1 to prevail.

Until the next Bad Thing happens, anyway.

And I think that is my issue with this book, and the reason that it’s not five stars—it’s the roller coaster to END ALL roller coasters. A Bad Thing happens, and is quickly resolved. But then another Bad Thing happens, and another . . . I feel like I have whiplash. That may sound intolerable to a lot of you, but Taylor is clever about it. She consistently breaks up the Bad Things with witty banter à la Zuzana, intriguing breaks in the main story to introduce and flesh-out a new character, AND the immense character growth of one particular secondary that transformed one of my least-liked characters into a favorite.

So it sneaks up on you. “It” being the emotional exhaustion.

I think I would have been fine if I went slowly and gingerly into the reading of this book. But I didn’t. Like with pie, I gorged, and was left feeling unhappy and slightly nauseous. So that’s my recommendation: take your time with this one b/c SO much happens, you will likely be overwhelmed, if you rush through it. Take the time to process.

General things to know:

1. It is more than obvious that Taylor plans to write more about this world. She may do that by writing more Karou and Akiva-based novels, or she may write a spin-off. The door is WIDE open for either or both.

2. One of my favorite movies is The Mummy (don’t judge), and one of my favorite parts is when Evelyn says to Benny, “You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance.” 

Remember that.

3. Embrace the words, “Must not panic,” for you will need them.

SO. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a magnificent conclusion to what will probably remain one of the most popular series in its genre. An incredible new world filled with fantastical people and creatures provides the backdrop for a love story to outlast the ages. The melding of mythologies is brilliant and will suck you in from the very beginning. I recommend this series to EVERYONE who has even the tiniest inkling of interest in fantasy literature. Read this series, read it NOW! Or, you know, whenever, BUT you’ll be the one missing out, if you delay. *wink*

Jessica Signature

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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76 responses to “Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

  1. I’m glad you made this spoiler free, since I have to start the series over soon. I’m definitely looking forward to it, but I’ll make sure I take my time reading it too 🙂

  2. I’m rating the audio version about the same as you. I was very satisfied with the ending. Like you, I also think she’s planing to write more about this world, and I jope that’s the case. It’s been a great and torturous ride 🙂
    Wonderful review.

  3. I have book 2 from Netgalley and I really need to get book 1 so I can start with this series! Especially now tha from your rating, its clear that final book is a worthy ending! I skimmed your review since I’m planning to read this but I’m so glad you enjoyed this Jessica! 🙂

    And covers are sooooo gorgeous!

  4. Every time I see a review for this book I get more annoyed that my library doesn’t have it yet. I mean… really???? I am glad to see that you liked it!

  5. Speaking of pie, have you ever tried the blueberry pie with goatcheese and fresh basil? If not you have to try it! It’s so frickin’ awesomesauce! I was skeptical at first too but when I first heart about it but after my sister made a batch, it’s the ONLY blueberry pie I eat.

    Back to Laini Taylor. Yup she’s a genius, under all that pink hair is an awesome brain. But I hate saying goodbyes so I’ll procrastinate on this one for now. I’m not ready to let go yet…

    • I have not had blueberry pie with goat cheese and fresh basil, but I HAVE had apple pie with cheddar. It was wonderful, so I believe you about the goat cheese, etc. and will have to try it too.

      And you don’t have to procrastinate, if you don’t want to. It’s obvious that she’s planning to doing more with this world, so even after you finish this series, I’m sure there will be more to look forward to soon 😉

  6. Lol pie always wins! For me as well. It’s a great comparison. I know I told you I needed to start the series but that’s true, I really need to! Mainly after your wonderful reviews.

  7. Oh I’m so jealous you got to read it already! I have put in a hold at my library because I’d like to listen to the audiobook like I did the first two, and there are still half a dozen people ahead of me!

    “Squee!”, eh? I’m glad to hear it was worth the wait 😀

  8. Jessica I loved the final book, although I didn’t think it was good as the first two but don’t get me wrong…I still adored it, if that makes any sense! The door has been left wide open for a spin off series and that’s really what I’m hoping for! Fabulous review my friend!!!

  9. Now I am craving blueberry pie! I have a terrific recipe that uses a butt load of crumble on the top. I picked a hundred pounds of fresh blueberries last summer since I live here in Oregon where they are plenty,. still have them in my freezer. Anyway, I adore this series and I love the writing. I cannot wait to read this. I have it scheduled next week. I am glad to hear that it ended well after a lot of bad things, and that Laini left the door open for more!

    • Lots of bad things, LOL. But, yes, it did end well, and I am positive that more is on the way<——YAY. I hope you like it too, and I am jealous of your inevitably superior blueberries. I ordered 40 lbs of Maine berries a few years ago through a school fundraiser (and they were wonderful), but I haven't been able to since—no neighborhood ragamuffins banging on my door 😉

  10. I know nothing about this series. But you, my new friend, are a wonderful blogging find. Finally I read reviews with half as many tangents as my own. Love your style, it looks very similar to me in tone.

    Shall we have a sarcasm off someday?

  11. Christy

    lol – I completely understand how you feel. I haven’t read this series, but I’ve experienced it with other books. I know I need to read these books, I just need to MAKE myself start.

  12. I didn’t finish Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I tried it out before, BUT I’ve made it my personal goal to try it again and finish it, since I’ve been hearing so many awesome things about it and its sequels. I’m glad this one’s wonderful, but 600+ of Bad Things after Bad Things after Bad Things? Yikes. xD

    • Yikes, indeed. BUT there are lots of good things too. If your reread of book 1 isn’t successful, then I probably wouldn’t try to convince you to keep on trucking, but if it is . . . as long as you don’t inhale it like I did, I think you’ll be fine 😉

  13. I did the audio for the first two and I thought the narration was pretty good. I didn’t think the books were that long though. Is this one especially longer than the other two? Because 600 pages!!! I think I’ll have to get the audio for the final book soon. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • No, I don’t think it’s especially longer. Book 1 was 400+ pages and book 2 was 500+ pages, so they’re steadily increasing by 100(ish) pages each time. So, okay yeah, it’s long, LOL. But it’s still fabulous. I hope you work it in soon 😉

  14. Okay, okay…I’ve got to start this series soon! I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off for so long, but, better late than never, right? Thanks so much for sharing Jessica, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

  15. I like cake…

    I was seriously going to only leave that as a comment but then you’d probably dis-own me. BEST REVIEW EVER!!!! I wonder, sometimes, if authors write books with the intention or knowing that their books will be read with a period of time of “rest” in between them??? Or do they ever consider the straight through binge reads?

    Things that make you go hmmmmm…..

    • I like cake too. But I LOVE pie 😉

      And thanks! *blushes* I would never disown you—you’re too much fun. And I didn’t actually binge-read the whole series this time. I had a couple days between books 2 and 3, but I read ALL of book 3 in about 12-14 hours with about 6 hours of sleep in the middle. I should have paced myself, and done other things between harrowing moments. I’m planning to reread it at a leisurely pace in a few weeks (to see if it goes down better the second time . . . )

  16. I agree Jessica! I read this in 2 days and found myself overwhelmed by everything that happened as well. I was expecting a big epic showdown between the angels and chimaera, yet that battle was nearly over before it began and then the even bigger battle shows up on the horizon. It left me a little off kilter, but I so love these characters and this world, and will definitely read more if Laini writes it!

    • Exactly. That’s where the “I feel cheated” part comes in. There was 1500(ish) pages of build-up, and very little resolution. I was thrilled about the comeuppance portions for the current nasty characters, but yes, bigger and nastier creatures are on the horizon, AND people still aren’t completely in the clear for you know what!!! I hope that made sense. That’s been the most frustrating part for me—not being able to grouse with anyone about my vicarious separation anxiety . . .

      But I will volunteer myself for more emotional burn-out the second something new from this world becomes available. I’m a glutton for pie AND punishment, I guess 😉

  17. What an interesting comparison you used in the review. It had me smiling and made perfect sense! I will keep your advice in mind when I do get to pick up this series. 600 is a long book. Ever since I started blogging anything over 300 pages feels huge and overwhelming!

    Great post and review as always Jessica 🙂

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

  18. Crazy mishmash and gluttony girl! You binge read the whole thing. That’s a good sign though in a way. Pie (I am so not a pie girl)

    I like the idea that there could be more IF and ONLY if it isn’t necessary to have read this first set of books. I think thats something spin offs can sorely damage themselves and isolate possible readers with.

    I am of course definitely looking forward to reading the series (especially since I MIGHT go to Phoenix comic con and get to meet her!)

    • Pie is awesome. More for me. You can keep your cookies 😉

      And I’m guessing this series is going to be necessary to understanding anything she writes in the future about this world. I mean, obviously I can’t know for certain, but a decent portion of this book was used to introduce several completely new characters and prep for whatever’s coming next.

      And I hope you do! Even if I will be insanely jealous if you meet her. PS—hubs is most likely picking up his motorcycle tonight (which means next year’s BEA is a GO! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. bookaholiccat  

    Pie, cakes, pastries… Yes! Please. 🙂
    I really hope you are right and she’s planning to read more book in this world.
    I really enjoyed this one and I’m glad I listened to it instead of reading it. As you said, so many things happened and they would have been a bit too much to digest (fast) while reading it.

    • Yeah, it might have taken you longer to get through it the first time, but I’m the one who is going to end up needing to reread it in a few weeks, to try and make sense of my feelings . . .

  20. I just started this one on audio and couldn’t listen to too much of it. So, I may be starting the listening all over again. I don’t want to miss a thing. Hm… I do like pie and so I’m looking forward to the rollercoaster emotions.

  21. lol…I was really curious how you were going to tie pie into your review. You did it brilliantly. 🙂 Don’t yell at me but I still haven’t read this series but I promise I’m moving it up on my list. Oh, and I LOVE meringue pies…lemon, key lime, chocolate…oh my! 🙂

    • Yeah, sometimes I go a little out there with the anecdotal stories, but they always serve a purpose, LOL. And I wouldn’t yell at you! I’m actually jealous. I wish I could read them for the first time again. And I’ve never had key lime meringue pie, and I don’t know if wherever you live has a J. Alexander’s, but if they do, and you’ve ever had the key lime pie . . . *whispers* I have the recipe!!!

  22. LOL I was thinking the same thing as the comment above, where is this pie thing going? Got it 😉 Great comparison! Sounds like this one will make you feel all over the place. Not quite sure how I would feel about that or the Bad Thing after Bad Thing thing (ha!) but I guess if you liked it overall, it should be good! 🙂

    • It really was still good. It’s just a book to be savored, you know? But yeah, to be honest, I could have done with less panic. I actually shrieked out loud once . . . scared the CRAP out of my cat, LOL.

  23. Oh yeah, I could easily see getting whiplash with this book. Taylor knows how to mess with your emotions with sharp turned drama. I can see why this book left you a bit…you know. But I am happy it was good overall.

    • I happy overall too. This is one of the series I would have been HIGHLY upset about if the ending was lame. And by “HIGHLY upset” I mean throwing things, breaking things, eating things . . . 😉

  24. You have me nervous about the ‘bad things’ that occur, but I’m pleased to hear that overall you got a happy balance, I can’t wait to read this! I’d buy this book for the cover alone 😉

    A wonderful review!

    PS. I love pie but have never tried blueberry – yummo!

    • What?! Never tried blueberry pie?! *snickers* Neither had I until about 3 years go (b/c I hate blueberries). And don’t stress too much about the Bad Things b/c MOST of them don’t have long-lasting implications 😉

  25. Thank you so much for making this review spoiler-free! I am so afraid that I’ll read some spoilers and I really don’t want that to happen. Mhmm blueberry pie, I have never had one (we usually make only apple pies here). Great review, Jessica 🙂

    • Thanks, Tanja! And yeah, I always try to be spoiler-free with a new release this popular. Shouting it out in the beginning is the best way I’ve found to let people know that they can still read it, if they’re behind 😉 And I like apple pie too!

  26. Gorgeous review, Jessica! I will follow your advice, although I still need to catch up with book #2 sitting on my shelves unread 🙂 Emotional exhaustion can be good or bad. Will see what Laini Taylor will do next before deciding to continue with her books or not 🙂

    • Thank you! And yeah, I don’t blame you. I’m planning on reading it again in a few weeks and taking my time with it. Maybe after that I’ll have a better grasp on the FEELS 😉