Tag Archives: hate

Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)
Laini Taylor
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published April 8, 2014

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About Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. 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.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My Review

At last! The final book in the series. This is my second read-through, and there were so many moments in this one that I really looked forward to.

There were also some pretty dark things I had forgotten about. Karou experiences some trauma that’s pretty graphic. See the trigger warnings below.

I think what I love best about this series is what it says about the power of love to heal a breach caused by hate. The story shows how destructive hate can be, not only to between two groups that hate each other, but the way nursing the hate causes its own corruption, too.

While the earlier books in the series introduce the idea of the star-crossed love and the two groups at war, DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS focuses on the process of healing that must happen in order for the warfare to truly end.

And okay, all that is really awesome, and I’m totally a fan, but the characters make the series truly memorable. Karou and Akiva. Zuzana, Ziri, Leroz, Issa, and Brimstone. All completely unforgettable.

So yes. I loved all three of these books, and I would probably read them all for a third time at some point. It’s the kind of story with the kind of characters that you just want to revisit every so often. The kind of story that reminds you about the power of love and the fact that it takes courage and work for those good things to triumph over evil, but it can and does happen.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Most characters are chimaera or angels.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex and nudity.

One scene shows a character trying to rape another character. It’s graphic and intense. There are some references to other rapes, but those are not shown on scene.

Spiritual Content
Chimaera and angels each have myths about their origins involving the gods and goddesses they worship.

Some characters have magic, though the magic comes with a price, usually a toll in pain. Other characters have coins that represent wishes, in large or small denominations.

Violent Content – Trigger Warning
Some descriptions of battle or fighting and situations of peril. References to war. References to some grisly murders and mutilation of bodies. Some references to torture.

One scene shows a character trying to rape another character. It’s graphic and intense.

Drug Content

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Review: Them by Ben Sasse

Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal
Ben Sasse
St. Martin’s Press
October 16, 2018

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About THEM

Something is wrong. We all know it.

American life expectancy is declining for a third straight year. Birth rates are dropping. Nearly half of us think the other political party isn’t just wrong; they’re evil. We’re the richest country in history, but we’ve never been more pessimistic. What’s causing the despair?

In Them, bestselling author and U.S. Senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn’t really about politics. It’s that we’re so lonely we can’t see straight—and it bubbles out as anger. 

Local communities are collapsing. Across the nation, little leagues are disappearing, Rotary clubs are dwindling, and in all likelihood, we don’t know the neighbor two doors down. Work isn’t what we’d hoped: less certainty, few lifelong coworkers, shallow purpose. Stable families and enduring friendships—life’s fundamental pillars—are in statistical freefall. 

As traditional tribes of place evaporate, we rally against common enemies so we can feel part of on a team. No institutions command widespread public trust, enabling foreign intelligence agencies to use technology to pick the scabs on our toxic divisions. We’re in danger of half of us believing different facts than the other half, and the digital revolution throws gas on the fire. 

There’s a path forward—but reversing our decline requires something radical: a rediscovery of real places and real human-to-human relationships. Even as technology nudges us to become rootless, Sasse shows how only a recovery of rootedness can heal our lonely souls.

America wants you to be happy, but more urgently, America needs you to love your neighbor. Fixing what’s wrong with the country depends on you rebuilding right where you’re planted.

My Review

I think I heard about THEM on a news program where the author, Senator Ben Sasse, was interviewed, and the concept of the book really struck a chord with me. I’m definitely more of a peacemaker type of personality, so I don’t like conflict. It tends to make our current political climate a bit scary to me. Lots of people (myself included) have really strong feelings about issues, and that can make for volatile and stressful family get-togethers. (One time, after trying unsuccessfully several times to end a political debate between two family members, I literally changed the subject and shouted over them, telling a story about a girl scout trip I took with my daughter. I just kept shouting until everyone else stopped talking. It was very rude and embarrassing and also apparently totally necessary.)

At any rate, I was really curious what Sasse would have to say about how to move toward more civil exchanges with people and how to maintain relationships across political divides. He said a lot of smart things– some just about the evolution of the culture and the changes to communities that technology has brought. I agreed with his synopsis of the way communities are not as deeply connected now as people use phones and tablets for everything from social media to movies and TV.

There were some things I didn’t agree with. I believe in civil discourse, so I agreed that we need dialogue and to be able to talk with people who have different viewpoints than we do. But it’s not always safe to do that. Sometimes, when it’s not safe, it’s better to suspend those conversations. I felt like he wasn’t very realistic about that.

I did like a lot of what he had to say, though. There were no easy solutions. A lot of it comes down to crafting a diverse community for yourself, one that includes a variety of political ideas. The idea is that this helps you remember that good people belong to both political parties. We both want the same things: a thriving democracy that allows us and our children to live healthy, happy lives, with an optimistic financial future. But we often differ on how to get to that result and what the government’s role should be in getting us there.

I recommend THEM for readers who are frustrated with politics. It’s one of those books I think everyone should read, regardless of your party affiliation. It’s less about his ideology and more about our culture and why we’ve become so polarized in political views and what to do about it.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 15 up.

This book is written by a Conservative Republican Senator.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used twice or so.

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Sasse mentions church attendance on Sunday.

Violent Content
Some references to a riot on a college campus.

Drug Content 

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