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Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone,
Also in this series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight
Published by Hachette Audio on 08 April 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Angels, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Monsters, Mythology, Paranormal, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Suspense, Young Adult
Length: 18 hours 11 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC // Unnamed, Morocco //Rome, Italy // Eretz

First Line(s): Nerve thrum and screaming blood, wild and churning and chasing and devouring and terrible and terrible and terrible —

I was so excited to receive and audio review copy of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor as it was one of my most anticipated titles of 2014. And the start of this one lived up to my every expectation that I had. Although it wasn’t long before my enjoyment started to wain and my disappointment grew as the story progressed. First there were all the new characters that were added, which isn’t always a bad thing but they had no real backstory and it took too long to get them to a meaningful point in Karou’s story that they just dragged the story down. I didn’t care about them and hated the time that they took away from Karou and Akiva.

With the addition of new characters there was also a lot of POV changes. Crazy random and no real spacer between them that there were moments where I had to rewind the audio because I though one character was the focus when somehow we’d transitioned into another. It added a small layer of confusion that I could have done without. There was also a lack of indicator to let me know that I had reached the end of a disc so there were many instances in which I listened to the early tracks again before I realized I needed a new disc. And yet there was music to indicate the end of a part in the story so I was a bit miffed that there was nothing at the end of a disc. I hated repeating part of the story as it jumbled up events a bit and it also took my focus off of driving. Which isn’t a good thing when you are dealing with traffic.

But what really bothered me was the story. Nothing happened in this book, all 18 hours and 600 and some odd pages of it. Ok, so saying that nothing happened is a bit much but there was lots of unnecessary filler contained withing the pages of Dreams of Gods & Monsters and a lot of things were repeated over and over and over again. Yes, Laini Taylor writes some beautiful prose but it was more compact and focused in the previous books and I missed that here. In this case her prose was used as smoke and mirrors to distract and deflect from the fact that the story was very slow moving and there there was a lot of build up that ended up going no where. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is filled with the promise of action and apocalyptic things but there is more angst than apocalypse. That and the climatic end scene was more of a whimper than a bang and I may have hurt my eyes from rolling them too much.

There was so much that happened because of crazy unrealistic coincidence. If Karou needed something the means were magically at her fingertips and this was without wishes. Everything just fell into place with a nice tidy bow and there were no real consequences that one would expect from two races that were at war. In all honesty, I half expected certain souls that were lost to somehow be found again in the end as everyone sang kumbaya around a fire. I wanted more action in this story and I wanted to care about how things would turn out instead of hoping and wishing that the end of the audio would come faster than I could listen to it.

In many ways it seemed as though Dreams of Gods & Monsters lost focus and it didn’t so much revolve around Karou as it did act as a set up for the stories of other characters to be told. For me, Dreams of Gods & Monsters seemed to act as a backdoor pilot for something else to come. There were lots of open threads at the end of this book that I won’t be surprised if a spin off series is announced. Of the three books in this series I think that Days of Blood & Starlight will remain my favorite. If there is a spin off I am not sure if I will read it, or listen, it will take a very compelling synopsis to get me to overcome the disappointment that I had with this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Audio Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Audio Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorDays of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book 2
Also in this series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Published by Hachette Audio on 06 November 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Angels, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Monsters, Mythology, People & Places, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 15 hours 25 mintues
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Place(s) Traveled to: Prague, Czech Republic // Morocco // Eretz

First Line(s): Prague, early May. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching.

I am dead.

These words come to you from beyond the grave because I have died and Laini Taylor and her newest release, The Days of Blood and Starlight is the cause. Taylor has reached her hand into my heart, my soul and torn them both out. Crushing them into the dirt and dust on the ground and left me an empty vessel.

Now long time readers of my humble blog might recall the love that I had for the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but know this that book doesn’t even hold a candle to this one. The Days of Blood and Starlight is definitely among one of the best books that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Second books in a series always leave me wary as you never know how they will move the story along. Days not only moves the story along but it leaves its predecessor in the dust with how brilliant and amazing it is.

Laini Taylor’s prose combined with Khristine Hvam’s narration is a combination that defies words. I loved Hvam’s narration in Daughter but she brings things to new heights in this book. All of her voices are solid and I’d often find myself forgetting that only one person was reading this book. Hvam’s narration just builds a world around you and it all feels so real. I often found myself finding excuses to be in my car just so I could listen to more of this beautiful book.

Days takes all that we thought we knew in Daughter and expands it and changes it and kept me on the edge of my seat with each new twist. This book put my emotions through a roller coaster ride and it bruised my soul. If you think that Romeo and Juliet have a star crossed love then you haven’t met Akiva and Karou. Those two…I…I have no words to describe all that I feel about this pair.

The story itself is also one that is hard to put into thoughts. Its like nothing I have read before and I have absolutely no clue as to where things might go in the third book. Often I’ll have a hint of how a trilogy will progress but Laini Taylor has such a gift for the surprise that anything can happen. And no matter how this story ends I think I’ll be an emotional wreck and yet extremely satisfied. I loved every word of this story even though there were so many scenes that just tugged at my soul. I love how real it feels and I just love each and every character (even those of so evil ones.)

I love how Days is told from many points of view as it just helps to add so many layers to the story. I love how it broke my heart, mended it, and then broke it all over again. I love how even though there were tears in my eyes that it was filled with hope. Hope is a very powerful thing and I have hope in the events to come that are still untold. But I also dread the day when the third book is released. Because even though its at least a year away I am not ready to let go of this world and these characters. I just want to live in this world forever and I know that this book, this series, will be a favorite of mine for years to come.

five-stars
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Audio Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Audio Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone,
Also in this series: Days of Blood & Starlight, Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Published by Hachette Audio on 27 September 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Angels, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Monsters, Mythology, People & Places, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 32 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Days of Blood & Starlight, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Place(s) Traveled to: Prague, Czech Republic // Marrakesh, Morocco //Eretz

First Line(s): Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.

I am always wary of the over-hyped book. The one that everyone is not only talking about…but raving about as well. When I hear of those books, especially when they were on my wishlist, I grow very wary and don’t always want to pick it up. Because more often then not when I read those over-hyped books I am disappointed and when I turn the final page I sit there and think…did I read the same book as everyone else because that just wasn’t good. I was initially excited when I picked up an ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tayler at BEA but then it quickly moved into the uh-oh I’m not so sure about this category as it began to be hyped up on twitter and blogs. So I waited to read it and it wasn’t until other hype-skeptics started to also rave about this book that I thought about giving it a go.

Since time is a valuable commodity and I had this brand new audible.com account I thought that I would check out the audio version of it (because even though I have the ARC AND a signed hardcover I just needed another copy of it.) In the end, I think I made the right choice as the audio was FANTASTIC. I can’t get over just how amazing Khristine Hvam was a narrator. She did such a wonderful job with all the accents and never once did I doubt who was speaking. She brought all the characters to life and with the rich prose of Laini Taylor’s writing this story just came alive inside my head.

I loved the mythology that Taylor used to build her world and I loved the world itself. This was an angel book that is so very different from all the multitude of angel stories out there. Its a mystery filled with many twists and turns that it will keep the reader guessing. Its a love story and one filled with adventure and travel. Its a book that is filled with so much goodness that its almost impossible to put it all into worlds. Its a story that I couldn’t stop listening to and would often sit in my car with my eyes closed as the story played so that I could better visualize it all. Karou’s story is absolutely fascinating and I loved the added bits that were told from Akiva. Heaven knows I adore a well told dual-point of view story.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was the 100 or so page flashback that occurred towards the end of the book. I get that it was necessary to flesh out more of the history of the protagonists but it really took me out of the story and I grew impatient for it to end. If I hadn’t been listening on audio I would have been sorely tempted to just skip that section all together. I would have preferred it ever so much if Taylor had broken up that flashback over several chapters…mixing it in better with the contemporary part of the story. That is the part that I fell in love with and while the past was interesting I liked the hear and now better.

Also….don’t even get me started on that ending! Gah…the ending alone makes me wish that I had waited even longer to try this book because I really really really need to know what happens next. Before I started this book I didn’t realize that it was going to be a series (I know, I know it was posted everywhere but I just wasn’t paying attention) but the ending definitely lets the reader know that there will be more. It screams it and as I reader I am now desperate for it. I want to know more about these characters. I want to know if Karou will succeed in her mission and I want to know just what will happen with Akiva. This book is filled with so many emotions for me. There is the happy, giddy, heartachy ones and the ones that make me want to curl up in a ball and cry. I was ripped to shreads as I read it….and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. This story wasn’t perfect but it was so very good and so beautifully written that I just couldn’t get enough. Can it be next September already?

five-stars
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