Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
“Dreams of Gods and Monsters” is book three of Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series. It brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. This novel recaptures much of the magic that made book one a delight to read and that was missing in “Days of Blood and Starlight“. Though, it does take a while for the story to get going. Whereas book one was all hope and love and magic ending in tragedy, and book two was almost all tragedy, book three starts with tragedy and grows back into hope and love and magic. It also ties myths and legends brought up in book one rather satisfactorily.
For the longest time, something was picking at my brain while I was reading this book, but I couldn’t figure it out. There was a complete not-rightness to it that was thwarting my enjoyment. Finally, around half way through, I figured it out. It was time. Or more specifically, the complete lack of passage of it. The entire novel takes place over a span of just about 72 hours if you don’t count the epilogue. In that time, an impossible amount of events take place. Worlds are traversed, large distances are flown, patience is lost because of decisions taking too much time. Once I figured that out, I started to enjoy the book a lot more. I am not sure if it was because of that or because it happened to coincide with the return of a bit of mirth and levity to the story. It might also be because the wishes finally made a comeback. Wishes in the trilogy were a beautiful source of ridiculousness packed into an almost currency-like system. They were completely lacking in book two and it was all the worse for it.
Any softness of plot and sloppiness of storytelling, for instance book three has a bit of a deus ex machina going on, is overcome by Laini Taylor’s writing style. She has an almost melodic, poetic voice in her writing. It isn’t often where I find myself paying much attention to the chapter titles, but hers are delightful and intriguing in how they fit into the chapter’s story. It isn’t just that, though. Taylor is also quite adept at capturing little moments with clarity and beauty. I feel as if she’s almost missed her literary calling and instead of writing novels, she should try her hand at the short story, the most difficult of narratives.
Having finished the trilogy, I am not sure I can whole-heartedly recommend reading it even though I quite enjoyed the journey. I think the hopeless romantics in the audience will get a lot of enjoyment out of these books. Also, Taylor has also created quite an imaginative world and has left enough rough edges to allow the more creative among us to smooth out those edges with their own stories. I also must remind myself that these are young adult books and, while pretty dark at times for young adults, it is a series that would very likely appeal to them as well.