Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Synopsis: 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?

AH I finished the Series!!! Heck yeah! Y’all already know my thoughts on this series, so I’m just gonna say this – this book didn’t really impress me, and if I had to rate it, I would say 3.5 (rounded to 4 because of sentimentality). This review might be more rant-y, but that’s just how it’s gonna be, so lets get into it.

I’ll start off by saying that the first half of the book, or around the first half, was much more interesting to me. You know, when everything wasn’t focused around Karou and Akiva sleeping together. That’s when I enjoyed it more. The preparation for taking on the Seraphim, and the introduction of the Stelians was really good, and I loved how Taylor used Zuzanna and Mik as a way to show how brutal the fighting was between both sides. Another thing that I loved was the world building. I loved hearing more about Razgut’s history, Meliz, the Faerers, and all that. Plus, I feel like Taylor didn’t fall into the trap of the humans choosing earth over the new universe. A huge pet peeve of mine is when humans will be like “oh Earth is my home, I need to return” when their friends just found this whole new universe or place or whatever. But Mik and Zuzanna really commit to Eretz, and just go back to Earth periodically so that they can get groceries or something. So I liked that a lot. Another thing that I really liked was how when Akiva is faced with his powers, he doesn’t get the option to just get rid of them. Another huge pet peeve – when the OP protagonist or character just gives up their powers and becomes human. In this book, Akiva was only given two options – we kill you, or you come with us and we teach you how to control your powers. There seems to never be any in between, but I really liked how Taylor handled that. HOWEVER, all that being said… I have a lot of issues with the execution.

For one thing, I really didn’t like how Taylor paced this book. The introduction of the Stelian plot really took place so far into the book (literally 3 chapters left?) that I don’t think it was given much justice. Also, I just found it kind of confusing. While I normally love lyrical writing, I could have gone for more of a clear explanation here with the godstars and nithilam. Honestly, just tack on a few more chapters at the end so that we can more fully explore what that means. OR, what about explaining that more throughout the book. I also really liked Eliza’s character but I think that her introduction in the final book felt a bit like an out, and I would’ve rathered if she had been even introduced in the previous books? Someone on GoodReads called it an Angelus Ex Machina and I kind of have to agree – how convenient that a prophet angel all of a sudden shows up for us to show us the way. Basically, I would have enjoyed this book so much more if the ending was more clear and less rushed, and we actually got to enjoy the ginormous revelations that are made in the last few chapters.

I can admit that maybe I’m being too cynical with those points. While I thought the ending was rushed, maybe Eliza really only fit in the third book. Maybe we didn’t need a few more chapters on the Stelians. Who knows. But another thing that really bothered me in this book was the insta-love. It really jumped out. After the first book, I was willing to give Karou and Akiva a pass. Karou was Madrigal reincarnated, they had a whole month where they got to know each other (we’ll skip over the part of how they met because yeahhhh that was really, totally gonna happen…). So I was ready to give it a pass. But then it turns out that Akiva basically enabled the chimaera genocide. And I thought you know what? I wouldn’t really be able to be romantically involved with someone who enabled the genocide of my people. But Karou proved me wrong. She could deal with it. And honestly… I just don’t find it believable. It became too much of an insta-love relationship for me. I would have even been fine with them committing to get to know each other better and then we get an epilogue about how they’ve worked through it and it’s all better. But nope, we literally skip immediately to them wanting to jump each other’s bones. I just… I can’t.

It’s the same thing with Ziri and Liraz (which honestly annoyed me even more). It’s fine to set up something and give the hints of it, but seriously. You’re going to tell me that Liraz, who up until the middle of this book HATED chimaeras, took one look at Ziri and was like oh? Love? I don’t think so. It felt like Taylor kind of just shoved Ziri into a lil relationship with her so that Akiva and Karou were the clear relationship, but it made no sense to me. Liraz is such an incredible character, and so is Ziri, and I think that placing them in such a rushed and out of character relationship just really dragged the book down for me.

I also still have a fair number of questions about what happened in the book. Like, how was that knife able to go through Akiva? Why did Festival do all the things that she did? Are there a limited number of Godstars? Or is literally everyone a Godstars? Also, are Scarab and Eliza gay?? That last one is REALLY important so… if you could get back to me Laini that would be great thanks. All jokes aside, I still don’t understand why Akiva was so special, and again, I think like one or two more chapters really could have helped to clear up some of those questions!

What makes me kind of sad is that when the relationships were put on the back burner and we got to see the actual plot, I loved this book. It was really well thought out in some cases, and there were twists that made me gasp. Haxaya was one of those plot points that made me so happy, and was a really clever move by Taylor. And when you removed the romance and the rush of the last bit of the book, I did love it. That was really all it would’ve took for me to give this book 5 stars. But the execution of those plot points just wasn’t right for me, and because of it I didn’t enjoy the book as much. So yeah, 3.5/5, as much as I wanted it to be 5.

I hope you didn’t mind my rant… it just kind of happened. I have no idea if you guys have books that you love but want to rant about, but if you do, feel free to rant in the comments hehe. I have now officially finished the trilogy, which means that I need to buy Muse of Nightmares and get back to my librarian boy Lazlo lol. Have a great weekend ducks!

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