DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS, BY LAINI TAYLOR (Book 3 of Daughter of Smoke & Bone)
A friend of mine recommended this series for me. To be honest, I almost gave up after the first, Daughter of Smoke & Bone. It wasn't bad, and better than most books, but it was not what I was expecting. I'm glad I didn't. These books improved and matured beautifully, and this, the third and final one, is the best of them all.
Synopsis: The final instance in the trilogy; the war is finally resolved, to the great relief of most of the participants, only for them to find out that was but a detail in a bigger picture.
Overall enjoyment: I really liked it. Even despite myself, to be honest.
Plot: The first books were too focused on romance. This one still is, and it seems like everything can be solved by having two characters falling in love. That kinda bothers me, it feels lazy and a bit like cheating. In spite of that, the story in itself is very engaging, complex, mature and satisfying.
Characters: Perhaps one of the best parts of this series. They're so rich and believable it's hard to convince yourself they're not actual people.
World/setting: Another best part. She explores the idea of parallel universes in a very interesting way. The civilizations and locations are magnificent and full of detail, and she takes special care in how those interact with our own.
Writing style: A delight to read. She gives a special voice to each character. The words are stringed together so perfectly it's almost unthinkable to stop reading. She's funny, emotional, dramatic, commonplace, and all in the right places.
Representation: This is the deficient part. Everyone is straight and cis, there's not even a mention of different genders or sexualities. I can't remember about the first two books (it's been a while since I read them) but I think almost everyone is white, too. In this one there is a black woman, but I'm fairly sure she's the only one, and she only appears in this book.
Political correctness: Despite the lack of representation for minorities, she does an amazing job of writing women. Her female characters are amazing, all of them a universe in themselves. I remember one of the problems I had with the first book was that so much importance was placed on Karou's (the main character) virginity, and she engaged in a bit of slut-shaming, too. However, this importance of virginity was more because it wasn't what Karou expected, rather than virginity being a valuable thing in itself. The slut-shaming was that she punished the woman her boyfriend cheated her with, and yeah, she did that... But then, she punished him, too. And she really doesn't present other women as natural enemies; some of the best relationships in this series are friendships between women. They're very rewarding and essential to the story, in many ways they're even more important than the ubiquitous romance. And I loved reading that.
I especially liked reading this book right now because of Apolonia, the one I read just before. A friend of mine told me that I don't like romantic stories, because all of them were like that. I knew that was wrong, but this book pretty much proves it: you don't have to make misogynistic half-developed crap to make a book that would be popular with girls.
Up next: The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton