Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Published: March 28th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
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.
I just want to start off this review by mentioning how BEAUTIFUL this book is! I have the UK signed edition with the blue sprayed edges and it is easily one of the most asthetic books sitting on my shelf right now. This is made all the better by the fact that the story within the pages was just as beautiful as the actual book itself! I was completely hooked with the world that Laini Taylor has created and I absolutely need the next instalment… I needed it yesterday!
The world building in this book is extremely vivid. I definitely felt transported to the world Taylor created – I wish I was there! Taylor’s description was lyrical and poetic, which helped to lull the reader and keep them hooked! I loved the imagery created – both within the dream states and the “real world”, especially in the sense of contrasting between a dreamscape and a harsh reality. I would revisit this world in the next instalment just to find out more about this world and the things inside of it!
I really liked Lazlo from the beginning. He is extremely relatable to us readers (hello – librarian!) and he was an easy going character who I could see myself being friends with if he really existed. He always helped others without expecting anything in return (much to Thyon’s chagrin) and it was fun watching him experience firsts with Sarai. I definitely feel like the ending has changed him in a big way – whether that is for the good or the bad remains to be seen, but I cannot see him doing anything bad. Well, unless Minya has her way.
I think Thyon is supposed to be a character that we would struggle to get along with, however, I found him to be misunderstood. He was definitely difficult to love because of his attitude towards others, but at the same time, I feel like he struggled under the stress his parents put him under and he didn’t know how to react to kindness. I feel like his upbringing has caused him to be suspicious of anyone helping him out and I think it’s caused him to see a trick lying in wait when someone does help him, even when there isn’t one. This makes him cautious and he distrusts most people around him – which is why he is misunderstood.
I think what I enjoyed most about this story was the fact that we got multiple POVs. Most books are told through the eyes of the hero – so when I was introduced to both sides of the story – whether through Lazlo, Sarai, Eril-Fane, Minya’s snippet etc. we are always getting all sides of the story. It helped to create an understanding as to why each character was feeling and doing what they were doing because each has a different understanding and experience of The Carnage. It keep the readers torn between all of the characters because it is so easy to understand why Eril – Fane and the community of weep has a hatred for the Gods and the Godspawn, but it was also extremely easy to understand why Minya has a hatred of Eril-Fane and the humans in general because of what she experienced. She was still a difficult character to like because of the lengths she will go to get her revenge, but I can understand why she feels the way she does… even if it was only through a snippet of a PoV.
I really enjoyed Sarai as a character! She is one of the only characters who sees both sides of the coin from the very beginning and she is someone who has to deal with the fact that she can understand the viewpoint of the humans and the viewpoint of the godspawn – who she considers to be her family. She struggles to reconcile with the fact that she no longer feels the hatred that Minya does, and it takes her a while to actually start defying Minya in her own way. I enjoyed watching her grow along side Lazlo (Taylor – STOP BLOWING HOLES IN MY SHIP!!)… I can’t say anything more without ruining it.
Whilst the romance aspect happened pretty quickly, it didn’t feel like an insta love kind of situation! I felt like it was right and that the two character fit together. I don’t want to give too much of the story away which is why I’m being a bit vague about things… However, Taylor definitely does know how to throw a wrench in the works – first DoSaB and now this! :-O
Also, THAT ENDING!!! I CAN’T EVEN FUNCTION! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!
Anyway, all in all I absolutely loved this book! The writing was extremely vivd and poetic and I loved the way in which Laini brought in all of the voices in various PoVs, without any of the PoVs blurring together. Each voice sung on their own and stood out and it was easy to discern who the character was that we were reading, even without an introduction to the character we were currently reading. I definitely cannot wait for the next instalment and gave this book 5/5 stars.