[439]: Dreams of Gods ‘& Monsters by Laini Taylor

Little, Brown & Company | Hardcover, 613 pages
Publication Date: April 8th, 2014
Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

After months of starting and stopping this beast of a book, I finally succumbed and bought the audio and decided to listen and read at the same time. Because I figured it was the only way I was going to get through it without losing my mind. The time it would’ve taken me to get through my hardcopy is mind blowing. And considering I didn’t really have a great time with this book to begin with, I think downloading the audio is still worth the extra $25 I spent.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a book that’s on pretty much everybody’s hit list. That list that indicates which books we would sleep with, kill for, and sell our souls to the devil to procure a copy. I had high hopes for this book, to be sure. Unfortunately, those impossible expectations soon became the thorn on my side. Don’t get me wrong, Laini Taylor is an incredibly brilliant writer. Her words call out to the green monster hidden in every poor schmuck that ever wanted to write (i.e. ME). The first two books to this series can attest to that. This time, however, I’ve gone weary; tired of flowery words that seem to meander, loop around in a dizzying circle until she got to the point of her narrative.

The pitfalls of listening to a book rather than reading, is that you’re not able to skim and skip to certain points of a story. You can skip certain chapters but you can’t skip pages without fear of missing out. When a narrative goes astray, this is usually my recourse. But I couldn’t do this here. I can tell you that my mind unfurled its wings and took flight with glazed eyes on several occasions.

Laini Taylor repeated herself – over and over and over again. I can’t count the number of times I expelled a tired breath every time she tortured me with Akiva and Karou. The number of times they almost touched each other; the number of times they were in the same room trying not to look but can’t not look.  And when they finally got together? I was thinking, why did you even bother? You created this tension, this thick desire between a couple of characters that your readers longed for.  A wanting so desperate, it was inexplicable; the kind of wanting so complete, you can taste it in your mouth!

But maybe I’m being unfair. After all, it is a writer’s gift when you can convince your readers to feel such an empathy it was almost tangible. I can appreciate that, sure. What I can’t appreciate, however, is the torture I was put through as I watched them (repeatedly) painfully  try to ignore the palpable tension every time they’re within seeing distance. Sigh.

Listen, this book could’ve been worse. And that’s unprecedented since I love Laini Taylor’s work; she’s an amazing story teller. She’s created such an intricate world that I can’t even compare it to anything I have read in my short life. But I grew bored with this book. The epic war that have been brewing between the seraph army and the group of chimaera/seraph was, unfortunately, anticlimactic. Karou’s plan to get Jael to leave Earth? So simple, and elementary that it’s not worth all the tension that was built up through the entirety of the book. Besides, the readers weren’t even given privy to the battlefield.

If I can put my feelings into a single word, it’s underwhelming. And considering who the author is and the heft of this madness, another word that comes to mind is disappointing. In the end, I was just so happy to be done with this book.

  • Aww I am sad that this was an underwhelming experience for you. I love this series and I thought this was a wonderful conclusion. I also listened to all of the books in this series and think that this is one of the better audiobooks.

  • Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    It is a shame you found this book a bit of an anti-climax, with the almost touching and when it finally got there you were let down. I haven’t actually read this series, and I really am not sure whether I will. Great honest review though!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • Aww, that is too bad. I only read book 1 but I do plan on finishing the series. Ouch, 25$ is kind of a lot. Skimming? Yeah sure. Skipping? oh, no, I would feel too bad to do that. Bouu, sorry, girl!

  • Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    I really liked this one but definitely agree with the points you made about the romance. It didn’t bother me as much but now that I think about it I can see how it was a bit frustrating. I do recall a LOT of longing looks.

  • I had to skim your review because I just started this series (I know, I know, I’m very behind). I’m really enjoying her prose so far but the flowery language does get quite tedious. But it’s definitely beautiful and I have fallen in love with her writing. I’m sorry to hear that this book went in loops. I’ll definitely need to hurry up and catch up so I can make my own judgement. Wonderful review Joy xx

  • Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I only skimmed your review because I still need to read book 2. It’s a shame that this one got disappointing for you because the author became too repetitive and went into too much detail where details weren’t needed. I can totally see where you’re coming from.

    Great review! <33

  • It’s too bad that this wasn’t an amazing conclusion to the series 🙁 I haven’t yet started this series, but several people have recommended Daughter of Smoke and Bone to me. The writing sounds beautiful, although I don’t like slow pacing, and I plan to give this series a try eventually. Thanks for the great, honest review! 🙂

  • Aw, what a shame! I haven’t actually read the second book, and part of it is absolutely the size of the books. I think I’d likely be in the same boat as you, since tension is nice, but it has to lead somewhere for it not to be frustrating. At least you’ve read it now!

  • I quit this series after the first book. I enjoyed the story until the big reveal and then I just didn’t. Beautiful writing and prose should be an accent to the story, like a spice or herb used to flavor a dish but shouldn’t overpower it to the point where you no longer can distinguish the plot line. That can be very distracting and so I can understand why you’d glaze over in spots. If I have an e-copy and the audio version, I’ll go back and forth. If I find a mind numbing portion, I’ll skim in my e-copy and then skip to the chapter in the audio copy. Wonderful review, Joy. It’s such a drag to get through a book that just 300 pages if it’s lackluster. So much worse when it’s over 600!

    Btw, I just found out that you can download audiobooks from the library on a phone app called Overdrive. You just add your local library, sign in with your library card and then you can download audio books for FREE!!! I’ve just been looking through and it seems like I have a lot of books to chose from. I could’ve downloaded Mean Streak for free! You can access several libraries from the app. I hope this can work for you in Canada! 🙂

  • I’m sorry that this book didn’t work out for you Joy. I tried reading my copy when I first bought it, but just didn’t have the time, and I have to agree Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous, but I can understand why aspects of this book frustrated you, Here’s hoping the next book you have high hopes for ends up being a lot more enjoyable! 🙂

  • I LOVED the first book, but have yet to catch up with this series. I love a ton of tension, but like you mentioned it has to go somewhere, have meaning and reason for it to feel worth-the-while in the end. So, I’m sad that this was letdown … still it’s Laini. And Akiva and Karou – so I will need to know the ending 🙂 Thanks for the honest and thoughtful review!

  • Aw 🙁 I’m so sorry you were disappointed, Joy. That is no fun. Hmph. I own the three hardcovers, but haven’t started yet. I peeked at this book, and was disappointed by the lack of romance. Like you said: “almost touched each other” That bothers me SO MUCH. I need more touching and BEING TOGETHER in my books. Hmph. What else is the point of writing a romance? Sigh 🙁 At least for me, hih. Anyway. I’m glad you didn’t hate it, though. <3 thank you for sharing sweetie 🙂

  • I haven’t read the start of this series so I just skimmed your review, but I’m feeling pressured now. haha, a lot of people has been saying that this one is good. I guess I have to read it soon to find out 😀

  • I’m glad you finally were able to finish the book. I heard great things about this series and I confess I’m curious. I’m sorry it wasn’t that good for you though. One day I’ll try that!

  • Expectations and hype are a curse sometimes. I have yet to read this series but I can totally understand how it feels like to be excited about something and then be disappointed in the end. It’s frustrating!

    But I’ve found that audiobooks are a better way to brave hard-to-read books.

  • Aw I’m sorry you didn’t like it! Though I did put this book off for a long time too, just because it was so long!! Like it was REALLY long, and it took me such a long time to read it. I personally had a problem with the ending, since….well, really? It was really rushed in the end!

    I also don’t really care much for Akiva, so I kind of skimmed those parts. But I understand that with an audiobook, you can’t really do that. (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get into audiobooks!!)

  • I know quite a few readers felt let down by this novel, especially after the brilliance of the second novel, and I’m sorry to see you felt the same. I wasn’t a huge fan of the newer developments introduced by the end but I really did enjoy the majority of the novel and am such a die-hard Akiva & Karou shipper which probably contributes to why I went crazy over their never-ending tension. I hope your next Taylor read restores her in your good books!

  • Nooo! I am still drumming up the time and courage to read this book because it’s the and and I don’t do well with endings.

    Now I am more nervous because some of the things that you mentioned are my pet peeve. I am still going to read this at some point and I’m hoping that I won’t be as disappointed.
    I agree with you on the audio that it’s difficult to skip through parts because you don’t know what you’re going to miss I supposed to books that’s why I don’t do audio I just stick to either print or digital.

  • Audiobooks have a way of making a daunting read more manageable, so I’m happy that you didn’t give up on this title before at least attempting that route. That being said, underwhelming and disappointing are not words that I like seeing in a review which means that this beast probably isn’t for me. Thanks for telling it like it is!

  • I am so sad to see this review because I know how disappointing these reads are, the ones you are dying to get your hands on and of course, the last book in a series. You always want this mind blowing read and it seems anymore, we seldom get them.

  • That’s such a shame that this was disappointing for you, Joy. I started the first book and I didn’t really enjoy it as much as everyone else. I think I had hyped it too much in my head.
    Repetition in books drive me insane so I think I’m glad I never got around to reading book 2.
    Great review!

  • I have read a few reviews with similar reactions and thus have been putting off reading this. I just want to love it and am afraid I might not…
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics