Returned to her family, Liesl pines for her austere young man and for her brother. But from Vienna to the Bavarian forest, people are dying with mysterious marks on their lips and throat. The old laws cannot be broken. The Underground must have it due. Someone must die if spring is to return…
Plain, dutiful Liesl has given up her dreams for her family and longs only to make music, but once she played in the woods with the Goblin King. Her beautiful sister Käthe is engaged to be wed, but dreams of a life beyond the Bavarian forest. And if the Goblin King does not take a bride the world will fall into eternal winter. Which sister will he take? Which sister will he keep?
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.