Title: Strange The Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Format: Physical ARC from ALAMW17
Release Date: 28th of March, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Stance: First in a Duology
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Synposis by GoodReads:
“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep”
Seeing as I just finished this two days ago, I still don’t quite know what to say.
Describing this book is near impossible, I’ve already tried and I’m in awe of whoever wrote the synopsis. Because that is Strange the Dreamer but it is so much more.
If you liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you’ll like this. If you didn’t like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you’ll still like this.
This book still has the magically written words of Taylor’s previous works with an entirely different setting, brilliant characters, and heart-wrenching conflicts.
World in books are tricky for me because I never really notice the lack of it but when it’s there I’m always blown away.
In this case, I was blown away because the world is so large and vast but build on so little. Throughout the book, one gets a good sense of the world through some world building but mostly through passing comments about what the characters see around them.
It isn’t as in depth as the world building of, say, Nevernight, but I’m grateful for that. I enjoyed getting a sense of the world through a longer period of time, not just a dump of “this is what the world is like, okay, now we’ll barely ever mention it again”.
This also helps since the setting does change half way through the book.
We get to see more of the actual world rather than just stay in one place the entire time but it doesn’t drag on forever.
Plus with Taylor’s writing, the world describe is ten times more lush and vivid than any other book I’ve seen. Pure, beautiful, imaginative fantasy world.
I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with characters as quickly as I did with Lazlo. It doesn’t take long to see this imaginative librarian with almost childish hopes and dreams to just want to protect him at all costs.
On top of that, he’s kind and sensitive and purely good, basically, he’s a puppy dog.
Sarai, is my dearest, complicated daughter, who I also want to protect at all costs. More of a loner and someone who’s afraid of dreaming, she does the best with what she’s given.
Both of these characters have their own strengths and weakness which we get to see throughout the book.
I find it interesting that despite the book being about Lazlo (Strange is Lazlo’s last name and he’s called the Dreamer), he stayed the most constant throughout the book. The changes that occurred in his character were very, very subtle, to the point of not being there.
However, in the next book, I’m expecting some drastic changes in that dynamic.
Most of the change in this book went to Sarai with her internal realizations and struggles that developed her character.
There were two characters in there who initially read as the token queer couple, though they did add to the story a bit, I did sometimes question their purpose, though I did the same with Sarai’s family at times.
While the other characters weren’t as developed, Taylor did a great job of showing just how complex they were even if they weren’t the focus, especially Minya and the Godslayer.
I won’t say too much about this but there is the obvious conflict stated in the synopsis but so much more. Every character had their own little struggle, whether the entire book is built on it or you learn of it in a sentence, it’s still there.
Conflicts stemming from being in a helpless situation, having the past come back to haunt you, having someone step all over you, not getting to show your full worth, a whole, lovely range of topics to rip your heart out and drag it all over the floor.
The foreshadowing and small glimpses into the other character’s struggles really help that.
Within the first hundred or so pages you get this deep sense of dread and heart arch.
The Overall Story
Overall, the story was great. It was rounded out with deep bonds of friendship and questions of loyalty and family.
While I am still a little conflicted about the ending there is still a great, bleeding hole where that book ripped out my heart.
It captured me with its star-bright characters, it’s fascinating world, both relatable and otherworldly challenges posed.
I look forward to my finished copies of this book coming in so I can give it a reread while I wait impatiently for Muse of Nightmares.
Be sure to preorder Strange The Dreamer and enter for the preorder incentive, read it, and review once it comes out.
I promise it’ll be worth it!
Have a great week and check back soon for a new post!