Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

I read the first book in the series for a book club that only met once. To be fair, it was online and our schedules quickly didn't align to continue the tradition. Whereas my friend Ashley loved the first book (and even drew inspiration from the series to develop a character of her own), I remembered having negative feelings about the book... but since I read the second and then the third book in the series, clearly I forgotten how I felt and my negative feelings were flimsy at best.

I read the second of the series later on. I think I was looking for a book to read, and since Daughter of Smoke and Bone didn't offend me greatly, I decided to give the second book in the series a try. At that time, there was one more book that was going to be released, and I promptly forgot about the books until I spotted it in the library a few weeks ago.

The series follows the adventure of a young woman named Karou, who has a mysterious past life in a parallel universe ravaged by war. There are several characters that Taylor utilizes in the 3rd book, including her best friend Zuzana, her boyfriend Mik, her Romeo, Akiva, Akiva's sister, Liraz and Karou's "shadow," Ziri.

What Taylor does best is utilize this world she created. It's a very simple set up: "two houses, both alike in dignity" so on and so forth. It's a love story, it's full of action, and she's a great writer.

It's unfortunate, however, that I just couldn't stand both Karou and Akiva. Well, I take that back, it wasn't that I couldn't stand them, it was more like, they were boring to me. Karou and Akiva mirrors every single teenager in modern times: Karou has blue hair, is an art student in Prague, out of all places, and is "edgy" with her job of collecting teeth. Akiva is a mysterious, dangerous, born out of wedlock (that's a major plot point. I'm not mentioning that to be catty), brooding and a warrior. And it's not like they grow out of these rough sketches of character. No, they stay as they are, with rising and falling tides of lusting after each other but not able to speak to each other... cause you know, their races are at war with each other.

It took me a bit to get through it. I just didn't care whether Karou and Akiva lived or not, but I was glad I stuck it out, because 3/4th of the way through the book, I suddenly cared a lot about what was going to happen. I think the reason that I really cared about what was going to happen was not because of Karou and Akiva (of course they were going to live and spend the rest of their lives together) but because of the developing relationship between Ziri (in Thiago's body) and Liraz and the question of "will they, won't they?" anticipation. I didn't know what was going to happen, so I was on the edge when I read, hoping that Ziri's sacrifice wasn't in the name of vapid Karou and Akiva.

I do give Taylor credit though.She stopped (at this point) with a trilogy, and is currently working on other things. She even left the story in a place where she can easily pick it up again if she wanted too. I would personally like it if she centered it on Ziri and Liraz, the most unlikely couple ever, and just kind of carted Karou and Akiva out every so often to say something useful.

Overall, it's a decent series. Taylor's writing is great, and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

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