A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Laini Taylor's Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the final installment in the popular fantasy-romance trilogy that started with Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Both mature themes and a mature writing style -- dense and eloquent -- make this a good fit for older teens (and their fantasy-loving moms). Wartime violence persists, but in this volume more peaceful alternatives to fighting are tried first. One key character is tortured, however, and another recalls her abuse growing up in a cult -- she was always on display, even in her sleep. Language includes a few dozen uses of words like "damn" and "bastard," nothing stronger. Older European teen characters drink Prosecco in a toast. Kisses get passionate and there's plenty of talk of wanting more, but nothing is described.
What's the story?
It was all over the Earth news: Jael and his army of angels had arrived. But they weren't those kinds of angels -- the peaceful harp-playing kind. They came for weapons to take back to Eretz so they could finish off the chimaera and wage war anew on the magically gifted Stelian angels. They made it to the Vatican pretty quickly and awaited their offers -- it wouldn't be long. That barely gave Karou and Akiva time to come up with a plan to save both Earth and Eretz. Akiva and his rebel angels were ready to fight, but they were ridiculously outnumbered. Both Karou and Akiva knew that their only hope of defeating Jael rested on an alliance between rebel angels and the chimaera, creatures that had fought a bloody and terrible war as far back as they could remember.
Is it any good?
Fans that love this series -- and there are many -- will have a hard time letting go of blue-haired, flying Karou with her crazy resurrection powers and brooding avenging angel Akiva. This trilogy has been a deliciously immersive and imaginative ride. The ride in DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, however, ends 200 pages later than it should.
Laini Taylor stands out in YA lit as quite a wordsmith, but it's too much of a good thing here. Fascinating revelations come to light, but they're bogged down in pages upon pages of character reflection from far too many perspectives and pages of supposing how everything that was about to happen could possibly happen and why, and even why what just happened happened, etc. It slows the action considerably and gets in the way of the fantastic story. So much to love here, but also 200 pages too much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what this line means to them: "The darkness we do in the name of the dead -- [is it] what they would want for us?"
How is this trilogy different from other angel fantasies?
- Author: Laini Taylor
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: April 8, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 624
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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