Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor – REVIEW
In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
“This was a place where moths were magic and gods were real, and angels had burned demons on a pyre the size of a moon.”
I’ve read Strange the Dreamer twice and completely fallen in love with Weep and its inhabitants so Muse of Nightmares was one of my most-anticipated 2018 releases, especially after that huge cliffhanger. One of my copies arrived a day early (I pre-ordered 3 different editions!) and I read it straight away. There aren’t many books I read on release date but this was one of the few I absolutely had to drop everything for. I’m so glad to say it completely exceeded my expectations and even gave me things I didn’t even know I wanted.
“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”
Laini Taylor has one of the most beautifully lyrical writing styles that just sweeps the reader away. The depth and complexity are like music, with each sentence layering together to create a wonderful harmony. The characters have become some of my all-time favourites as every single one is well-written and fleshed-out. Sarai and Lazlo are utterly perfect. Both are honourable, brave and kind, and their relationship is one of mutual respect and honesty.
“She wanted more of everything, more of life and freedom and years and him. She wanted all of him.”
Perhaps the most interesting characters are the morally grey ones like Minya, Eril-Fane and Nova. There is no such thing as an evil character in these books, rather there are heroes who make terrible choices, sisters driven mad by grief, and children moulded by unimaginable trauma. Minya especially is a heartbreaking character explored in greater depth and I was finally able to understand her motivations. One of the things I most enjoyed was the unexpected development of Thyon’s character. It was wonderfully satisfying and skilfully portrayed, but now I want even more.
“Once upon a time there was a silence that dreamed of becoming a song, and then I found you, and now everything is music.”
The plot was full of twists, with surprise following surprise, until I had no idea how it would end. Secrets were revealed that had been hidden for years and connections were highlighted between this world and that of Daughter of Smoke and Bone that had me so excited. The ending was everything I could have hoped for and leaves the story open as Lazlo, Sarai and their friends embark on a new adventure. I would love Laini Taylor to return to these characters one day or at least mention them in her next story. These books are probably my favourite duology ever and I urge you to read them if you haven’t already.