Trilogies and Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Natalie Juteau

Hello, and happy spring! It’s so beautiful on the farm where I live. The trees are budding, grass is growing, and the horses are finally shedding their thick, winter coats. This weather makes it perfect to sit outside and read, which is exactly what I’ve been doing lately. Just two days ago I finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, and I’m still thinking about the characters every day. It was that good!

But you can’t read Dreams of Gods and Monsters without first having read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight, in order, of course.  I’m not sure how you feel about trilogies, but I’ve developed a sort of love/hate relationship with them. I used to only read trilogies and series because I wanted to be with the characters I loved for as long as possible, but I’m finding now that the characters tend to stop being interesting somewhere in the second book. As much as I hate to say it, this happened for me with the Divergent series.

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The first book was amazing.  I was late to work because I was reading instead of getting ready to go. However, Insurgent, while okay, didn’t strike me as powerfully as the first book did. And as for Allegiant, well, I only truly enjoyed the last few chapters, and that’s because Veronica Roth finally did something crazy and interesting with the characters again.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to hate on any books in particular. It’s just that I find many trilogies that should have been either stand-alones or just two books in length. Often an author will write a really great first book, and then the hype generated from it encourages either the author or the publisher to seek a follow-up book. Sometimes these books turn out wonderfully, but I’ve found that often the book falls flat, and that the third book is just ridiculous. The characters have run their course, and I can usually feel when an author is pushing their characters on and into different situations just to give us a third book, and it feels wrong.

Now, how does this all relate to Dreams of Gods and Monsters? Because it was the third book in the trilogy, and it was the greatest of all the three. Each book built on the last and drew me in even more, which is exactly what trilogies should do. Laini Taylor has a very interesting way of writing viewpoints, which at first I didn’t quite like, but by the end I loved how she did it. It gave us so much insight into the world and what else was happening while all hell was breaking loose for our main characters. And those main characters, oh my gosh. I fell completely in love with them. They were courageous and loveable but also deeply flawed. They made mistakes, they killed when they shouldn’t have, and death was always waiting in the wings to drag them away.

This trilogy has been the most exciting that I’ve read in years. I’d rate the third book in the series above Mockingjay, even. (But I do love that series as well, rest assured!) I do think it is a few years old, so I’ve found it a bit late, but I’m so glad that I did finally come across it. These characters will be talking in my head for quite a while, I’m sure.  My advice to you is to go out and get the first book as fast as you can. I promise that you won’t regret it!

Photo Credit: Margot Wood

Here is the book jacket description for Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grow dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.”

Read on! I wish I could start this trilogy back at the beginning and enjoy it all over again.

Natalie can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on twitter @n_juteau