Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – REVIEW
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?
“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.”
This is my first Laini Taylor book and I absolutely adored it. The writing style was mesmerising – Laini is able to paint with words, adding brushstrokes here and there to create a hauntingly evocative picture of Weep and its inhabitants. I am in awe of her talent. The richly detailed world-building was on an epic scale, and I became completely immersed in it. The beauty and horror of Weep were engaging and I felt drawn into the magic and mystery of Laini’s world. It was described in such detail that it felt utterly real and I didn’t want to leave.
“I turned my nightmares into fireflies and caught them in a jar.”
Any book lover will recognise a kindred spirit in Lazlo Strange. More than anything, Lazlo was the reason I fell in love with this book. His journey was like a fairytale but it never felt fake. The lyrical prose swept me away and I imagined I was travelling with Lazlo. Lazlo begins the story as someone who lives life on the sidelines, pushed aside by more confident and privileged people. Soon, however, Lazlo becomes the hero of the story – the fairy tale adventurer who can save the world. His abiding wonder and love of books become a weapon he wields to potentially help save a civilisation. Meeting Sarai showed how Lazlo can see the beauty in everything. Their relationship was sweet and believable, and I really hope they get some sort of happy ending in the second book.
“I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”
The godspawn were particularly fascinating characters, especially Minya. Despite being frustrated by her behaviour, it was impossible not to understand what drove her. The horrors she witnessed literally changed her – she became unable to age beyond the traumatic moment in the nursery. I’m looking forward to seeing how her character develops in the next book and I hope she finds some measure of peace. I’m eagerly awaiting the second part of this duology, so, for now, I’ll have to begin reading the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I just hope it’s as beautifully evocative as Strange the Dreamer.
A hauntingly lyrical story full of magic, myth, and mystery.
|About the Author
Taylor was born in Chico, California, and has an English degree from UC Berkeley. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter. She always wanted to be a writer but was 35 before she finished her first novel.