It seems like everyone has talked about Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Labelled a Fantasy Romance, I figured Strange the Dreamer would be the perfect read to kick-off February. Boston Book Reader commented on my TBR post claiming I’d be in for a treat with this one, and she was right.
About The Book
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Published March 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance
Hardcover 536 pages
On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky. Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
“He was Strange the dreamer. This was his realm, and there were no limits here.”
Honorable Lazlo Strange, twenty-year-old war orphan, keeps his long, dark hair tied back while working as an apprentice at the Great Library of Zosma. He has no idea what his real name is, or where he came from. His favourite books are the history books about magic and the city that vanished from the world they now call Weep. Two hundred years ago caravans stopped coming from the city across the desert. Fifteen years ago the name of the city disappeared from memory, and replaced with Weep.
“That was the last that was ever heard from the forbidden city, the unseen city, the lost city, and this was the mystery that had opened Lazlo’s mind like a door.”
Thyon Nero, the Queen’s godson, is an uptight, pompous, alchemist, who loves to remind Lazlo of his less-important life. His dream is to make the most amazing discovery, become a legend, and remembered forever.
“Shrestha: when a dream comes true – but not for the dreamer.”
One day, Lazlo sees a ghostly white bird in the sky, and when it disappears he spies a royal entourage approaching Zosma. Thyon greets the “godslayer” Eril-Fane and Tizerkane soldiers who’ve come from Weep. Eril-Fane has come to ask for help. They are recruiting people to bring back to Weep. He chooses a mathematician, a natural philosopher, an alchemist (Thyon), and Lazlo.
“Thakrar: the precise point on the spectrum of awe at which wonder turns to dread, or dread to wonder.”
Strange the Dreamer is told from Lazlo’s perspective, and also the perspective of five “godspawn”:
–> Sparrow: sixteen-years-old, called Orchid Witch.
–> Ruby: fifteen-years-old, called Bonfire.
–> Feral: seventeen-years-old, he’s called the Cloud Thief.
–> Sarai: also seventeen-years-old, called Muse of Nightmares.
–> Minya: the oldest in the group, she can control ghosts.
“Mahal: a risk that will yield either tremendous reward or disastrous consequence.”
The writing sounds like a song in my head, creating a beautiful melody, and reminded me of the heart-breaking melody Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos:
and i’m so sad
like a good book
i can’t put this day back
a sorta fairytale
a sorta fairytale
Some readers have complained about the slow pace, but I devoured this in seven days, and honestly I wasn’t even reading like crazy. If you like super fast-paced thrillers, then this isn’t the book for you. My one teeny-tiny reason for giving this 4.9/5 is that I wanted a little more back-story on a few characters: Drave, Ruza, and Calixte, in particular.
Strange the Dreamer is an engaging, magical, heart-breaking book about mercy, vengeance, discrimination, friendship, love, life and death. It reminds me of the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I can’t wait to read the second book of this duology, Muse of Nightmares.
“Sathaz: the desire to possess that which can never be yours.”
- Setting: 5/5
- Plot Development: 5/5
- Characters: 4.5/5
- Quality of Writing: 5/5
- Ending: 5/5
- Overall: 4.9
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About The Author
Laini Taylor is an American young adult fantasy author and a finalist for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. She is best known for the Karou or Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, whose third book appeared in 2014.