This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor
Published April 8, 2014 by Hachette AU
Source: the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: 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 theatre 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?
Well, where do I start? Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, the final instalment in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, is epic. It covers a lot of ground: multiple worlds (ours and Eretz), multiple timelines, and introduces new characters, too.
The story picks up right where Days of Blood and Starlight left us, Jael and his Dominion army have invaded Earth, currently they are residing in Rome and awaiting offers of weapons from humans. Karou and Akiva have convinced the remaining chimarera and the Misbegotten to join forces against Jael, though this plan is not without problems. And we’re also introduced to Eliza Jones, a twenty-four year old doctoral student. She’s tried to escape her past but has been haunted by a dream, a dream involving beasts, and now fate has drawn her into the events about to unfold.
Laini Taylor is a master at weaving multiple plot lines and character perspectives in a seamless way. Yes, the story largely revolves around Karou and Akiva, and I love any time we get to spend with them, but I was never bored by the alternative perspectives because they make the story whole. Eliza was particularly intriguing; as were the Stelians, lead by Queen Scarab. The Stelians are hunting whoever is causing the sky to bruise.
There is a lot of character growth in this book, just like in the previous two. The characters are never static, nor are they flat. This time it is Akiva, not Karou, who is feeling guilt at being alive when so many are dead. He’s finding more use for his magic, but also finding it hard to control. Liraz’s growth was the most heart-warming to me, that girl made me teary on multiple occasions and so proud… and that’s all I say about that! Zuze and Mik are also featured a lot and almost steal the show! Mik in particular really shines during this book and I'm really happy with how they've been used in this series.
Speaking of being proud, I felt it so often during this story. Proud of two warring races coming together, despite years of hatred. Proud of characters overcoming their fears, of them putting others first. There were so many sad, sorrowful moments in this book, but they were perfectly balanced by the sweet, hopeful moments. I got quite teary and cried a lot towards the end.
I spent most of the book on edge, but the last hundred pages or so were quite torturous. Mind you, I was never worried that Laini Taylor couldn't pull off an epic ending, she clearly has an imagination that Anne Shirley would be proud of, I was just worried about who might get sacrificed along the way. I was so happy with the conclusion and the way everything was woven together. It’s a world that is trying to rebuild and is now filled with hope, but that felt realistic.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters really is the perfect end to what is a brilliant series. I guarantee your heart, like Karou’s, will be pulled to pieces by the end of it, but it will be totally worth it.
Thank you to the fantastic people at Hachette for my review copy via Netgalley.
Seeing as I've done nails to match Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight, I figured I should round things out and do nails to match this final book!
I decided to do a layered manicure to mimic the depth of the birds in the sky and the flared circles. I started with 2 coats of Ulta3 Soft Hydrangea and then sponged a bit of Ulta3 Blue Marlin onto the tips.
I used acrylic paint for the birds and for the circles. With the circles, I dotted on some watered down paint, waited a minute, then sucked up the excess water using paper towel, leaving behind a circle or a ring depending on the result.
Now comes the layering! I took a spare bottle of clear top coat and added about 30 drops of Ulta3 Blue Marlin to create a very sheer blue polish. I gave it a good shake to combine and then painted 1 coat over each nail. Once this dried I painted on more birds, did more cirlcles, then followed that with another layer of my sheer blue polish. Once dry I added top coat.