Book Review: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

33828904

Description

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?

Cover image and description both sourced from goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33828904-strange-the-dreamer

Rating

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Because the mystical, magical world that Laini Taylor has created is one of those rare and precious books that is so close to perfect, words can’t quite capture it.

Review

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book through work – The last ARC I am likely to receive for a while, as I have finished my job at the bookshop to start a Masters of Accounting. I was excited as soon as I saw Strange The Dreamer had arrived – I had loved Laini Taylor’s previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and had been looking forward to her new book for a long, long time!. As excited as I was, Strange The Dreamer completely surpassed my expectations, and I think it may become one of my favourite books of all time.

The world Laini has crafted is absolutely breathtaking – dazzling, complex, and mysterious.  There are mysteries within mysteries, and just when you think you understand what is happening and where the story is going, something will happen that will completely shift your view. Laini creates just the right amount of intrigue, continuously finding just the right moment to provide information, so that you never become frustrated and are instead kept on the edge of your seat, desperate to know more.The world she has created and the story she has crafted within it are truly incredible, and her poetic writing style bring them to life in a vivid way that I rarely experience.

I am not a particularly imaginative person, and I always have trouble visualising the worlds that the stories I love exist in. While I often get drawn into a book by the plot and the struggles of the characters, I don’t often get drawn into the ambience of the world as a whole. One of the first things I noticed about Strange The Dreamer was vivid the imagary within the story was. Not only could I see the places and people that Laini created, I could hear them, and smell them, and at times even taste them. The world she has created is truly fantastical and extraordinary, yet it also felt incredibly grounded and real, as if I could find it if I just travelled far enough.

One of the things I most admire about Laini, besides the beautiful worlds she creates and the magical ways she describes them, is the complexity of her characters. Laini has a phenomenal way of portraying both sides of what is an incredibly complex and emotionally-charged story; it is something she achieved in her previous Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and she has gone over and above that achievement with this book. By telling the story through multiple different perspectives, Laini gently guides her readers to examine their beliefs about good and evil, about right and wrong. She poses questions that force you to stop and reassess your understanding of the characters within the story time and time again, so that by end of the story you are left pondering whether there is ever a case where a story can be broken down into such definite categories as “good” and “evil”.

Laini doesn’t shy away from the horrific, atrocious things that we as humans are capable of; there are moments of true darkness and horror within her world that will likely leave you crying as you turn the pages. Her true achievement, in my opinion, is that she is able to depict these horrors in ways that leave her audience, in the end, with a sense of optimism and peace, without diminishing the struggles of her characters or trivialising the situations they face. Her world contains true darkness, but it also contains a beautiful light, which reminds her audience that, as hard as things get and as horrible they may be, there is true goodness and love within the world, and within its people.

In Summary

This wonderful, magical book drew me in to it’s vivid and mysterious world within pages. It took me on a journey of wonder and delight; of contemplation and consideration, and left me desperate for more. I have little reservation in saying that this book is going to be one of my favourites for the year, and I am already excited for the release of the sequel.

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

  1. Kat says:

    I’ve only read the first book of her previous series – need to get my butt in gear and read the rest – but this sounds pretty cool! So looks like I’ll be adding yet another book to my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • girlinafairytale says:

      Definitely read the second and third, they get so much better as the series continues! I think I actually liked Strange the Dreamer more, partially because it is 2 bigger books. The first book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so much calmer and simpler than the others, while Strange the Dreamer has the complexity and intricacy that the later books of the series captured.

      Liked by 1 person

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