#Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor @lainitaylor @HodderBooks
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.
As I finish Strange the Dreamer I’m left overwhelmed with a feeling of loss, these characters have seeped into my psyche and become a part of me in the days I have been reading this book. It wasn’t a book I could speed through and read quickly as I often read books, I needed to take my time and absorb the words on the page and I did absorb each and every one.
Lazlo Strange is a junior librarian, one who dreams vividly, he daydreams while reading, walking into walls and has built himself a reputation for his dreaming, so much so he is called ‘Strange the Dreamer’ and mocked for having his head in the clouds. Following Lazlo’s journey was a roller-coaster of emotions. He has so much fire and passion but at the same time he himself doesn’t understand what he can offer to the party he has joined. His dreams are so beautiful and I love that in a fantasy world where she could create anything she has drawn a line in the sand to then be able to create dreams where literally anything can and does happen. This is absolutely stunning.
Having two characters who are unable to meet in real life be able to meet in a dream was also a stroke of genius and I loved the dynamic between Lazlo, a human, and Sarai, a goddess. The pure, innocence of first love glows from the both and my heart broke for their circumstances over and over again while glowing for how they appreciated what they had.
The use of moths as representing Sarai’s consciousness was wonderfully done and whilst I don’t want to say to much and ruin it for others I (almost) forgot my phobia of moths reading this as they just felt so naturally a part of the story and as though they belonged.
I wish the general world-building had been a little stronger, I really wanted to envisage what the world around these characters looked like, I wanted a picture of the streets, the houses, the land and I didn’t get that. I would also have loved a map to help me place where all the cities were that were mentioned. It was clear Weep was a long way from where we started but it’s nice to get an idea of what the author envisaged when they started out.
I loved that this book explores the question “what makes somebody bad?”, it explores if somebody good can do a bad thing, and does this then make them a bad person. It’s a strong moral dilemma and one that readers need to consider carefully, I think different readers will draw different conclusions here but it’s a strong life question.
As a result of this question themes such as revenge, forgiveness, and guilt are strong throughout the novel and very relevant.
I highly recommend this novel, the character building is exquisite and such a pleasure to read, I would happily sit down and read this book again today.
With thanks to Laini Taylor and Vero at Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.
I read this novel as part of my Discoverability Challenge for April.
Book & Buy Links
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen