Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Letter to Brimstone

via Goodreads
Dear Brimstone,

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I have officially finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

As I reflect on that experience, I’m kind of disappointed to note that you were really my favorite character, and the glimpses of you that shone through the other characters kept me going the whole time. Don’t take my disappointment personally. I like you as a person. But I would have hoped that such a character-driven story might drive me to actually like some of the main characters.

I hate to admit it, but you’re a minor character. Especially after book one. Poof. Just like that. Minor.

And yet you’re the character I kept reading for! You were the character who really got it. You were wise. You were committed. You weren’t a hero, but you were a resurrectionist, and even though that by nature perpetuates suffering… you also perpetuated hope. In more ways than one.

I think we all like to escape into the land of wishes sometimes. Karou’s wishes—for blue hair and for revenge-itches—are the stuff of our fantasies. I wish I could have an ice cream right now, I wish that it would snow, I wish Mom would make dinner… Little do we realize that our wishes only trivialize the reality we already live and blind us to the thing that is more important. Hope.

It’s like an unbroken wishbone. A promise. And I like that imagery, and I like what you did for Madrigal. For your people. For everyone.

But this is the pattern: against all odds, I would really like the first 80% of the books. All three of them. I could manage it. I liked it. And then the last 20% would be me, growing increasingly displeased with the characters’ points of direction and decision-making skills. By the end, I really only found myself satisfied with Mik and Zuzana and Liraz.

At least their stories ended respectably.

Oh, Brimstone. You should have seen the Deus ex machina that happened. Everything looked bad, the future was bleak, and then BOOM AND BEHOLD: a poorly foreshadowed subplot that resolves the main one. No.

You were the cutest part, Brimstone. “Twice daughter of my heart?” I almost died. Not literally… That would be a bad thing to do while I was driving. But my heart died a little bit. It was so cute.

I know these thoughts are scrambled, I know they don’t make sense. They are emotionally driven, embittered by disappointment and exhausted by the times of telling already passed. But it comes down to this: though I didn't love the books, I did love you.

I am glad to have met you, Brimstone. I am glad to store you among Julius Root, Maximilian Nero, Carlisle Cullen, Dumbledore, Atticus Finch, and all my favorite literary fathers, because I am a sucker for those kinds of things, except maybe Dumbledore. I don’t know why I said him.

Anyway. My congratulations on not having to endure the ending of Dreams of Gods and Monsters, and I look forward to remembering you fondly when I’m driving home from school these next few years.

All my best,

Heather

4 comments :

  1. This was a great letter! I do love Laini Taylor's books, but as I recall, the ending of DoGaM was disappointing. The minor characters are fabulous, and I do rather like Karou, but Brimstone is amazing. He maybe wasn't my favourite (Issa!) but I loved his compassion, and, as you so eloquently said, his hope-giving. The themes of war and peace and hope are so strong in this series; and I feel like at times the unnecessarily involved and long plots clouded that.

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    1. I know. I just... couldn't. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Issa was awesome, too! Brimstone and Issa, actually. Al the hugs to them. I do agree that the plot took a roundabout way of getting to the end. We can't have it all, eh?

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  2. Now I need to read DoGaM except also I don't know if I want to. I want to know what happens but not? I really like the way you wrote this letter. And now I'm worried about Karou and Akiva. And I also ship Liraz and the other kirin whose name I totally forgot. *subjects you to hypotheses* Thank you for not spoiling!

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    1. It is like... I'd read to the end if I were you. I had to know how it ended. But also, now that I've finished, I'm like, "Should I have just been done at book 1?" I dunno. Ziri! He is the other Kirin. And of course. I was vague just for you.

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