Loyal FMDY follower, K, recommended, nay, gushed over the joy from these fantasy novels – Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, Dreams of Gods & Monsters – last fall. If memory serves, the rave was that this series contained so many unexpected plot twists that you just had to keep turning pages. Less than 20 pages in, however, I’d called the first twist. Not a great harbinger. I should backtrack a bit.
There was hesitancy after K recommended these books as her friend questioned her with, “Aren’t these kind of girlie?” What she really questioned was the enormous romance factor. To be fair, many books, movies, or songs are love stories couched in another genre. Dracula is a love story cast in a world with vampires. Avenged Sevenfold’s A Little Piece of Heaven is a love story juxtaposed against necrophilia. It’s all context. If I were to describe this series, I would say it’s akin to a typical Rogers & Hammerstein musical format. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. I feel comfortable saying that because it’s not really a “spoiler alert”, it’s pretty evident from the start. I should be fair here and state there are many books, movies, shows, stand-up comedians, etc. that I can’t really enjoy to their fullest because my brain kicks in and fills in the storylines, plot twists, and punch lines, etc. ahead of time. So, having said that…
If you’re like me and you can’t turn that part of your brain off, these books are predictable. They’re also borderline annoying as the main characters seem to pine excessively to the point where you think, “you’re in love, you burn for each other, we get it, move on.” On a personal note, I was annoyed as the author started dropping a-bombs as though she was Harry Truman. In other words, her writing became lazy. By the time the third book was half-way done, I was praying that it would either end immediately or it would follow the more interesting path. Okay, another moment of honesty and I’d have to say it was the latter.
If you can turn that part of your brain off and can just sit back and enjoy the escapism of things, the books are entertaining. I finished them all within the span of about 2 weeks and that was after forcibly slowing myself so I wouldn’t overtake K in her reading. The premise of angels, monsters (not devils), and humans and how they interact is engaging. The downside is that it could’ve been at least a four book series as the end seemed abbreviated. There are other directions that the author could have taken the story. It seemed less fulfilling than it could have been as the reader is left to ponder what about these characters or what about these events?
In the end, the books are worth a read regardless of which way your brain works. The significance of your enjoyment, however, depends on your ability to turn that part of your brain off.