Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (2014)

Jael had no appreciation for a strong woman, except as something to break and keep breaking. The idea of a woman making demands? A woman whom he was in no position to humble? It infuriated him (p 393).

Dreams of Gods and MonstersIn this circumlocutory finale to the story kicked off by The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Taylor brings the adventures of the human-shaped chimera Karoo and the angel Akiva to a cloyingly soupy end.

Chimera and Seraph eventually unite – against all odds and despite much treachery – to fight the power hungry and utterly cruel Jael who comes straight out of central casting, facial scar and all.

Unbeknownst to our main characters is the greater threat from beyond the veil. World-eating beasts of darkness are kept at bay by Akirva’s maternal line of Seraphim using powerful magic. Disrupted in their duties when Akiva unknowingly dips into their magic, the balance is threatened and… the book ends. Just when things were starting to get interesting.

Suffused with saccharine passages of amorous pondering and with many characters (and their feelings) expounded upon at great length, the story about a minor conflict that eventually engulfs two worlds but is dwarfed by a greater, more-interesting conflict loses its way in the indulgent emotional deluge that panders to its angst-ridden teenage audience. The covers are spectacular but only serve to reinforce the quip, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Other perspectives:

Kirkus

School Library Journal

Library copy | 978-0316134071 | $19.00 | Ages 14+

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