Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Laini Taylor) Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book 3 (at last)

I bought all three books in the series some time last year, where I read the first two in relatively quick succession (Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight) and then… I don’t know if I decided I needed a break after second book lull or if I got side-tracked by other things, but I think it’s been about a year since I read the second book. It was really quite hard remembering what had happened to individual characters. For example, I still have no idea if Eliza was in the second book, or if she was newly introduced in book 3!

As far as my memory served, Avika and Karou were with Avika’s sister Liraz and all the chimera in Morocco, and it was all very angsty and angry (Chimera and angels/seraphim really properly hate each other and Avika is an angel) until little Zusanna and Mik come careering back in a stolen car announcing that the angels had arrived in full heavenly glory and the world was freaking out. Fastforward, and you’ve got the chimera making a hasty retreat back through the tear in the worlds to Ertez. In book 3, Avika and Karou are pretty much on the same page, broker a historic alliance between the remaining Chimera and the Misbegotten (a cannon fodder branch of the Seraphim army) and forcibly hold this peace together while trying to work out what is going on in their personal/romantic life. Also, Avika accidently summoned the Stellains (his people on his mothers side are super magic sensitive) and so they’re on their way as well. Whoohoo! Party! Oh, and by the way, on the other side of the worl8d the sky is falling.

I did spend a good 10% of the book trying to work out who everyone was, as I didn’t want to have to go back and re-read the previous two books, and reviews don’t capture everything. I, for example, forgot that the third in the angel sibling trio died at the end of the last book and that was why Avika and Liraz were there in the first place. Also, by way of some pretty nifty deceptive work, Karou has orchestrated a takeover of the Chimera forces and is probably no longer terrified the White Wolf will hurt her in her sleep. That’s something at least. Once I’d figured out who was who again, I settled in quite nicely, and my overwhelming opinion of the book and the entire series is that I am glad I read it, but I have no intention of re-reading.

At the centre of the story is, as always, Avika and Karou and all the ways the universes have conspired to keep them apart (including, but not limited to death and living in a different universe). This time, Avika and Karou are the distrusted centre of a super fragile alliance between mortal enemies, but everyone’s making the best of it and only one person died for antagonising the peace. I found myself really liking Liraz, probably more than any other character – she seemed more complex than the others. Karou is doing what she does because it’s “right”, Avika because it means he gets to be with Karou, but Liraz goes from being super anti to begrudging acceptance and it feels a bit more … I don’t want to say realistic about a series in which the premise is angels vs demons with Romeo and Juliet, but maybe relatable? I don’t know. I liked Liraz, she made the constant references to Avika and Karou being magnets a little less irritating (it was cute the first maybe five times).

I liked how they resolved the war, I must admit – I was worried there was going to be some great battle with someone dying but no super battle to end all battles – just some clever manoeuvring and using your head not your sword. Hopefully the world they create from the disaster left behind will be better. THEN, just after you think everything is all done, dusted and ready to go, they hit a stumbling block and Eliza comes back, and the ruthless Stellian queen is there, and stuff comes out and oh yeah the sky is falling. It was a cool way of tieing up the loose ends, and leaves the world open for Laini Taylor to dive back in should she ever feel the urge to. Very cleverly done.

So, I appreciated the ending, and I am really glad I have closed the series. I can now work my way through the rest of my kindle books without seeing a title I know I should have read last year!

Bea

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