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The Enemy of My Enemy

Laini Taylor's phenomenal Daughter of Smoke & Bone series wraps up with Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

The Enemy of My Enemy

BOOK REPORT for Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone Book 3) by Laini Taylor

Cover Story: Every Rose Has Its Thorns
BFF Charm: Make It Rain
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Laini Taylor-tastic
Bonus Factors: Callbacks, Closure
A Factor: Exploitation of Trust
Relationship Status: Utterly Eff-Able

WARNING: If you haven't read the first two books in this series, Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight, then cue the Kenny Loggins, 'cause you're on the highway to the DANGER ZONE. This review avoids spoilers for Book 3, but it's SPOILERS AHOY for Books 1 and 2. So if you're not caught up with the series, GET OUT NOW (and please come back when you're done Book 2) WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THE CHANCE.

Cover Story: Every Rose Has Its Thorns

Truthfully, this doesn't really look like the Big Face is behind a bunch of thorns; they resemble antlers a lot more. But the song ain't called "Every Reindeer* Has Its Antlers", so CROON WITH ME, Y'ALL. 

*It's the only cervid species in which both sexes grow antlers. The more you know!

The Deal:

Did you heed my textually loud warning up top? Because the Book 2 spoiler train is leaving the spoiler-free station RIGHT NOW.

HOLY SHIZZ. Reliving the previous book in these recaps just stresses me out ALL OVER AGAIN (in a good way). 

SO! With Brimstone gone and her Madrigal apprenticeship memories restored, Karou became the new resurrectionist for the chimaera army, led by all-around supreme bad dude, Thiago. Like, near rapist bad guy, until Karou stabbed the despicable asswipe in the throat. Since the chimaera would make Karou resurrect Thiago upon learning of his death, she secretly did it anyway -- but with her trusted friend Ziri's soul instead. She also replaced Thiago's lieutenant Ten with another ally, Haxaya, to help pave the road for peace on the chimaera side. 

Meanwhile, hot on the heels of the fall of the chimaera city Loramendi, the seraphim continued leaving destruction and devastation in their wake. But someone had been tipping off the few surviving chimaera before the seraphim get to 'em -- with that someone being Akiva! Along with his siblings, Hazael and Liraz, Akiva hatched a plan to overthrow their all-around supreme bad father, Joram. And they succeeded; good riddance!

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. 

... except Joram quickly gets replaced by Akiva's all-around supreme bad uncle, Jael. Because that was Jael's intent all along: get Joram's expendable Misbegotten bastards to do the dirty work, and seize power for himself. And -- thanks to intel from that pesky Fallen seraphim, Razgut -- invade the human world to obtain our nifty weapons (OH SNAP). 

Akiva and Liraz escaped with their lives (but not with Hazael, RIP), bringing news of Jael's plan to Karou and Thiago-but-unbeknownst-to-them-actually-Ziri. And so a tenuous alliance formed between the chimaera and the Misbegotten, to take down a common enemy with the fate of both Earth and Eretz hanging in the balance.

PHEW. Apologies for perhaps the lengthest deal I've ever written. But as you can plainly see above, A LOT OF SHIZZ HAPPENED. And Dreams of Gods & Monsters picks up right where the previous book leaves off. 

BFF Charm: Make It Rain

BFF charms for EVERYONE in this book! (Well, every one of the good guys, anyway.)

And shout-out to one of my fave characters, the shit-stirrer Razgut. I'd NEVERRRRR want to be his BFF, but I've always been fascinated by him. 'Cause anyone can talk game, but in a back-against-the-wall situation, how can you be sure your most base instincts won't take over? Would you uphold honour and integrity above all else, or would you sacrifice your humanity in order to survive? Razgut is that tenacious desperation personified. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

I can't comment too much on all the romantical developments, but there is swoon to be had. Par exemple, Karou and Akiva are on speaking terms again! Baby steps, but given the encyclopedic history between them, I'LL TAKE IT. And Zuzana and Mik are still adorable! Under different circumstances, I'd be party-pooping over their marriage talk. But an actual apocalypse is looming and the two of 'em are great together, so go on with your bad selves!

Talky Talk: Laini Taylor-tastic

YUP, Laini Taylor def. needs her own Talky Talk label. Her writing is breathtaking and stunning and other words typically ascribed to tangible things, because the world that she's created is so vivid and immersive. I'll miss visiting it, even if my blood pressure won't ('cause DAMN, just read The Deal again). 

Bonus Factor: Callbacks

The callbacks to earlier parts of this series hit that nostalgic sweet spot without treading into obnoxious WINK-WINK territory. But these acknowledgements of the past also contribute to the foreboding sense of "OH GAWD, this is really the end, isn't it?! This series is LEAVING ME FOREVER, WHYYYYYYYY!?"

Bonus Factor: Closure

Though at the same time: while I wouldn't say no to more from this series, I don't actually need more. Yes, I'll miss it dearly, but the resolution already wraps up loose ends and gives me a satisfying goodbye. So it's like a special case of TEABS that I can totally live with.

The key factor, I feel, is treating the ending as a dénouement for the entire series, rather than just for this installment. We readers have been invested in this series for 1500+ pages over the past three years; we're going to need more than a few quickie chapters to decompress. And this book knows it.

A Factor: Exploitation of Trust

It feels weird to call this concept a bonus factor, so I won't. (The execution, however, is def. a bonus.) Here's Jael describing the impending arrival of seraphim -- angels -- on Earth, from Book 2:

"Invade the human world? [...] Is it an invasion if we are welcomed?"

To manipulate people and prey on their beliefs like this is shrewd and deplorable -- and yet not unlike examples found throughout mankind's history. Taylor masterfully uses these otherworldly characters to explore the human condition.

Casting Call:

I've already cast the returning characters -- and one non-returning (SOB, Hazael!) -- here and here, so let's take a look at the new characters introduced in this book.

Nicole Beharie as Eliza

A researcher at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Eliza's mysterious past resurfaces just as Jael's army descends upon Earth. As you might imagine, it's not exactly a coincidence.

Paul Dano as Morgan

Morgan Toth is Eliza's co-worker and rival. He's probaby the most horrible* character that I've read of late, befitting shaking-fist-at-sky full name status. So obvs, I had to cast the Joffrey of his generation

*Excluding violent and/or physically or psychologically abusive assholes.

Helen Mirren as Esther

Remember when Karou mentioned her fake grandma, Esther, all the way back in Book 1? (Don't worry if you didn't; it's like one line.) Esther may not be Karou's g'ma, but she's v. v. real. 

Relationship Status: Utterly Eff-Able

I've been flirting with the idea for a long time now, but I'm finally ready to make it official: the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series is one of my favourites. (Why, which 'eff' did you think I had meant?) I don't often give my heart over to a fantasy series, but this one has completely earned it. Now, excuse me while I YAngelize the shizz out of the latest love of my life to everyone within rooftop shouting distance.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Little, Brown. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Dreams of Gods & Monsters will be available April 8th.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.