Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. 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. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

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.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Rating:

C –

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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