The past two weeks, I continued/finished my binge read of Laini Taylor’s Smoke and Bone trilogy (and companion novella). Why, why, why didn’t I start this series years ago? So effing brilliant. I also got to read a fun short story from amazing sci-fi writer Beth Revis.
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters follows in the same gorgeous writing and amazing characters as the rest of the series. Seriously, the way these books are written is stunning. Everything is tied together, even if you don’t notice at first, and is supported by perfectly crafted sentences and dialogue that you wish you could just live inside the book. I loved how the end wasn’t all perfectly tied up and you knew the story still continued after the end, but still left me feeling very satisfied and hopeful and completely in love.
At times I felt like there was too much going on, too many plot points that were interesting and I knew they be important, but nothing I was invested in (Eliza and Jael, specifically). And in some cases almost anti-climactic. I guess I was just thinking the book would be more epic–bigger battles, more destruction, more loss. Don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful for the lives that didn’t get lost, but I was prepared for it to be so much darker and more painful. And part of me wishes I’d gotten a little more of that. But it was a fantastic ending to Karou and Akiva’s story.
In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.
Night of Cake & Puppets is, I think, my favorite of the entire series, even though it’s not part of the main story. I love, love, love Zuzana and Mik. They are so damn adorable and vivid and the perfect blend of sarcasm and genuine emotions. They are exactly the kinds of people I want to be friends with. I loved getting both of their POVs as they work their way through their first date. It was magical and swoony and absolutely perfect.
This short story follows Franklin, a time traveler with limited abilities: He can only travel into the past within his own lifetime. And then a girl shows up in his life. She claims to have met a future version of himself, and that the machine she invented will help him to go anywhere in the past or the future without limitations. When Heather shows Franklin the machine, she ensures him that they will change the world together and make it a better place. But Franklin can’t help but feel a little ominous about it all…
PLEASE NOTE: This short story is a part of the larger collection of short stories by Beth Revis, entitled THE FUTURE COLLECTION.
The Girl and the Machine is a quick read that, at its core, is about humanity and how one person’s actions affect those around him. Oh yeah, and time-travel. I loved the idea of Heather building a machine that worked with Franklin’s blood to allow time travel both forward in time as well as backwards, unlike Franklin’s natural ability to only travel back in his own timeline. It got a little uncomfortable toward the end when Franklin started talking about all the girls he “slept with” and though there is a good reason for it, it felt very forced and awkward. I was glad it turned out the way it did because after that conversation, I hated Franklin and didn’t want to keep following his story thinking he was supposed to be someone I cared about. Overall, good story with a nice twist but without the character development that usually comes with a story from Beth Revis.
*I received an ARC from the author for an honest review.