Book review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters



So I’ve finally finished reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters, dammit.



I’d been trying to stave off the ending for as long as I could, but I guess no story lasts forever.



DOGAM, of course, was amazing. It was a beautiful conclusion to an epic trilogy. I remember how the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, got me hooked, with its gritty premise (bones! teeth! exotic places like Morocco!), vivid characters and scenes (Brimstone the ram-headed resurrectionist! Razgut the foul, bloated fallen angel! the masquerade ball where Akiva magicked a living shawl of moths for Karou! *swoon swoon dies*)


What a ride it’s been.



What I loved about DOGAM:


1. THE STELIANS. HOLY SHIT, THE STELIANS. They had me the minute the Stelian queen, Scarab, bared her teeth at the prisoners and offered them the flesh fruit grown of the prisoners’ comrades. So deliciously disturbing. (Not sure what that says about my mental state.)


2. The antagonists. Jael, Razgut, Morgan Toth, and Esther Van de Vloet. They are vile. Which makes their comeuppance that much more gratifying.


3. Zuzana and Mik. Let’s face it: who can NOT love them? Zuzana, the feisty little marionette girl from book 1, is just as adorable in book 3, but twice deadly and awesome now. And Mik, Violin Boy, is as sweet and romantic and crazy in love with Zuze. Together, they brought some semblance of normalcy and levity to all the doom and gloom and chaos of war.


4. As always, the prose. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read and re-read and re-read and taken a screenshot of a sentence or passage I loved. These are just the tip of the iceberg of gorgeous, swoon-worthy moments in the story:


When this passage made me really want to live in the Far Isles:


When I felt Liraz’s guilt gnawing at me too:


When I marvelled at the stuff Laini’s brain could come up with:


When I whooped with joy at Violin Boy’s romantic (and impossible) proposal:


When I imagined the film version of the book (all that makeup!):


When my heart almost stopped at this moment (thanks, Laini):


WHAT is in Laini Taylor’s food? No seriously, what. I need to know, so I can produce prose as insanely beautiful as hers.


And come up with plot ideas as original and daring as hers.


And be able to weave it all together as flawlessly as she does.


One thing, though.


What DOGAM could stand to lose: 

I would gush over the perfection that is DOGAM, but I couldn’t help but think that the story could be a little bit shorter. I mean, do we need so much description of Karou and Akiva’s attraction to each other? I get it, the two of you are in love and it’s earth-shattering and the cosmos align every time your eyes meet and the space between you two is electric and all that. Now get on with business already. You’ve got a world to rebuild.


So if I were being nitpicky, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


But who am I kidding. This is the closest to perfection YA fantasy can get. So 5 out of 5 stars.

Beauty and the Beast – Raffles Alumni CO

I cried listening to this. Especially when the 高胡 (something like the first violin) started playing. There’s something about string instruments hitting the high notes that brings out the tears. Makes me miss playing in an orchestra. It’s been ages since I touched my 二胡 (something like second violin), and I just miss the feeling of working with everyone in the orchestra to create music. The end makes me especially emotional. You just feel this sense of achievement and the power of teamwork. Doesn’t beat completing a novel, of course. More like a short story. And Raffles Alumni Chinese Orchestra is really impressive.