Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the third and final book in a stupendous trilogy. I do not recommend reading this book or this review until you have given yourself the gift of reading the first two.
I think I don't even want to say what happens. It would be hard to even summarize it, truthfully, it is so much. There's a secondary plotline this time, with a girl whose purpose you don't learn until almost the end and WOWZA do things click into place (which I knew they would from the start, but it's always so fun to see how you get there). Also, the audio is phenomenal. This reader deserves an award.
There are so many things about this series that I like. Let's write them down:
1. The main characters, Akiva and Karou. Their personalities are so richly developed - they have strengths and weaknesses, they have passions and a sense of responsibility to the world around them that I really appreciate. They love each other, yes, but they also feel so strongly about creating a new kind of living that they will even put aside their own personal demands to meet the greater good. But it never comes off as pedantic.
2. The secondary characters are phenomenal. They are comic relief and they are hopes and dreams realized. They make things happen and they react to the actions of others in ways that are so believable and fun to read about.
3. The world building. OH. MY. WORD. This book fleshes out world building in a way that puts it at the top of any paranormal/fantasy books I've ever read, even way beyond the first two books. I had to rewind and listen again to sort it all out in my head but when I did, I was on the brink of flabbergasted.
4. The entire point of this book: peace is worth whatever it takes. A New Kind of Living is worth giving your life for. It is so clear, in this story, that war breeds hate and destruction, and the reverse is true, too. Hate breeds war breeds more hate. I love how she (the author) takes this cycle and just sees what would happen if one cog on each opposing gear just grinds to halt and says ENOUGH KILLING. ENOUGH. STOP. What happens if a society chooses mercy instead of war? I love how creative she had to be to make this sort of engine turn around. I believed it. I am so impressed with this subject matter - it goes so much deeper than a story of Humans and Angels and Chimaera. It's about love and hate and the price of war and dealing with the unforeseen consequences of our own actions. Make no mistake, this is a dark tale, a violent and bloody and painful slog through war and hatred and grief. But oh, the reward is delicious at the end.
I sort of just want to hug all the characters in this book. There is so much hope, amidst all the violence and betrayal. So very much hope and so very much love.
Three cheers. Five stars. Bravo. All of that.