What if a librarian with a conscience, an archdemon with an agenda and a pair of short-tempered angels with a superiority complex all wanted to lay hands on the same book? Welcome to Hell’s Library.
Hannah’s world is turned upside down when her parents split up. But when the Devil wakens from a long nap to discover someone is stealing the evil deeds of humanity, Hannah and her family will be central to putting this right. For various shades of right. He is the Devil, after all.
As one House falls, another rises. Notre Dame stands in ruins, while House Hawthorn seeks unlikely alliance with the dragon kingdom to reign supreme in Paris. But there are many who would like to see Asmodeus fall in well-earned ruin. Whose loyalties can be counted on in a House built on bloody rebellion?
Emmanuelle the archivist is a rarity: a Fallen of House Silverspires who rejected Morningstar. She knows her infatuation with his latest student is foolish, but when Selene needs help, there’s no question that Emmanuelle will be there…
I have thoroughly enjoyed Aliette de Bodard‘s scifi short stories and jumped at the thought of a sort of post-apocalyptic angel urban fantasy.
An alternate twentieth century Paris. The Fallen live amongst mankind, banished for crimes against Heaven. Stripped of their wings and their memories, each must rapidly come to terms with their new earthbound existence and find a home in one of the Houses – or die at the hands of humans who steal the magic from their body parts.
A satisfying conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters follows hard on the heels of Days of Blood and Starlight in embracing the themes of war and redemption over the overwrought romance, although this inevitably features too. I think I'd have loved this if I had met it in my early/mid teens.
I'm a bit too cynical and crusty to get excited about YA romance tropes and narrative arcs now, but the finale – as the rest of the trilogy – is diverting and entertaining. Laini Taylor writes good fluff and if quite a lot still feels like wish-fulfilment, I remain amused that she turned this in on itself in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by making it clear that even within the bounds of her own tale – where wishes are possible – it is rampant wish fulfilment, and one disapproved of by the wish-granter at that.
Points for introducing angels of all colours, a whiff of a suggestion that angels are not all heterosexual (introduced if not explored) and for strong women outnumbering the strong men, with romantic relationships that make them happier rather than more capable. Further points for tackling some of the difficulties of forging an alliance between mortal enemies, given what past acts must be over-looked or forgiven and what behaviours must be changed for the future; points lost for this feeling more than a little simplified (but hey, this is firmly YA fiction; I'll cut it some slack).
That said, I was mildly irritated to have
I commented a while back that this was at risk of turning into nothing but a bookblog, and I suspect that 2014 will see it go one step further and become largely dormant as my bookblogging transitions across to LibraryThing. However, I started so I’ll finish – my final round-up of 2013 before my look back at the year to see whether any of it was really up to scratch.
Review originally published on LiveJournal in July 2007.