Apr 27, 2017

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor || Book Review

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor


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 or 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?

Welcome to Weep.

Publication Date is March 28th 2017 by Little, Brown Books: Goodreads | Amazon

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book review rating 4 out of 5

I FELL IN love...with a dreamer.

In the lush and magical tradition of Laini Taylor, comes Strange the Dreamer, a mesmeric series debut about a dark horse who rises above adversity to achieve a goal that is deemed impossible. It is a radiant story of one man’s remarkable and turbulent tale of passion, hope, and destiny.

Lazlo Strange is an orphan, a librarian—a dreamer. His effortless warmth and unforgettable capacity to believe in the possibility of miraculous events are endearing and enlightening. Since childhood, he’s been obsessed with the unseen, mythical city of Weep. A chance encounter with this city’s Godslayer presents an opportunity for him to see his dreams become a reality—a nightmare?

In Weep, a peculiar family of blue-skinned godspawns live in secrecy in fear of the Godslayer. Sarai is a goddess with a unique gift that is grotesque and marvelous.

In the unconscious mind, she was all-powerful: sorceress and storyteller, puppeteer and dark enthraller. Sarai was the Muse of Nightmares.

Both Lazlo and Sarai are richly-drawn characters who inhabit a world filled with whimsy and treachery. Their threads intertwine to form an intricate web filled with the oppressive burden of vengeance that resonates with the resilience of hope for reconciliation. Their love story embodies all that is bitter and sweet.

The writing is ethereal and dreamy, nuanced and eloquent, with incantatory prose that seems to meld into poetry. Ms. Taylor’s writing demands a close reading to take everything in, especially the dazzling world of Weep. It’s undeniable that the fantasy elements feels at once both foreign and familiar to me—foreign because of its wild and vivid new landscape, yet familiar because of its beauty and monsters, reminiscent of Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

Inasmuch as I love Laini Taylor, I could not love everything about Strange the Dreamer. Firstly, I found the pacing inconsistent. The story uncoils at a glacial pace with Lazlo and Sarai crossing paths at past the halfway mark of the book (nearly 300 of 544 pages), and yet their passion bloomed in a relatively short period. Secondly, I didn’t enjoy the twist of fate that Sarai met. It took a bit of time for me to understand why I felt the way that I did—Ms. Taylor’s books are emotionally powerful like that. But, I was able to finally tease out why the climax didn’t sit well with me. I felt that Sarai’s ending was rather random, arbitrary, unlucky. It wasn't the consequences of her actions so much as she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t understand the purpose of it...yet.

Despite these things, Laini Taylor is an astonishing writer. Strange the Dreamer is a boldly-imagined and intimate tale of romance, courage, and destiny. Brace yourself for a cliffhanger full of revelations, possibilities, and a promise of a future installment equally “beautiful and full of monsters.”



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