Once upon a time, a trilogy was written about forbidden love and terrible war.
It was wonderful.
Karou and Akiva are now leaders of the Misbegotten/Chimaera rebellion. And while both sides have agreed to cooperate, it’s far from easy. Surrounded by deception, lies, and war, bringing their dream of a peaceful Eretz to reality will be a lot more work than the lovers anticipated.
Jael has raised the stakes. Invading Earth on the guise of angels sent from heaven, the humans are conflicted with what to do with these winged visitors, but with the threat of beasts, their minds will soon turn. The rebels find themselves not only dealing with the future of their world, but the human world as well.
The only human who seems to have a grasp of what’s going on is Eliza. Her sleep is wracked with dreams of gods and monsters, and when the angels arrive, she is shaken.
But Jael might not be the biggest threat. His plan is to use the humans against the Stelians, the long lost kin of the seraphim. But the Stelians aren’t waiting for the attack. In fact, they are quite interested in one of their kind, lost among the ranks of the Misbegotten.
Or not quite so lost. He is leading the rebellion, after all.
This story is so raw. A fantastical setting with a real depiction of war, it builds on itself, with no loose ends or stones unturned.
My heart broke and repaired itself for these characters over and over as the story progressed. Their struggle is well crafted and logical, but heavily wrought with emotion. From Mik and Zuzana’s first war experience, to Akiva and Karou’s longing, to Ziri’s subterfuge, this plot is fantastic.
As for how the series ended as a whole, let me say that this is how you write an open ending. Because it’s not an ending. It’s a happy middle.
I love these characters with a fiery passion. The growth of Akiva and Karou, of Mik and Zuzana, of Liraz and Ziri—it is all so well done.
And speaking of fiery passions, I need to talk about Liraz (who I’ve neglected in my other reviews) because she is such a great character. She, all on her own, made me want to cry. Numerous times.
Taylor’s female characters cover a broad spectrum of women: good to evil, strong to weak, and makes each of them distinct in personality. I don’t think I’ve encountered a stronger cast of females that (and this is important) are not sexualized. Sure, the men in the story will talk about them as objects to play with, but the women here know that their strength isn’t in their sexuality, but in their mental, physical, and (in some cases) magical capabilities.
What can I say that I haven’t already mentioned? Taylor knows how to write comedy and tragedy, balancing them as if it were as easy as breathing.
She knows how to layer tension and anxiety. And how to provide a brief relief from it. She doesn’t leave out the gritty bits, and she’s not afraid to reveal terror.
To sum up, her writing is honest. It is brutal, but kind, articulating both joy and horror beautifully.
Like the previous installments, this is a novel about hope, about war, and also about happiness. Taylor confronts that despite a fantastical set up, the real world is far from happy endings, world peace, and the permanent eradication of evil. You can’t just hope for these things, you have to actively work towards them.
This might be my favourite trilogy ever. Wonderfully constructed, with outstanding writing and vivid characters, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is a must read.
Recommendation for Dreams of Gods and Monsters: Buy.
Recommendation for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy: Bookmarked for Life. I will never get over how epic this story is. In the most literary sense of the word.