Book Review: Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer
By: Laini Taylor
Published By: Hachette (Australia)
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Page Count: 532
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy

Sometimes you fall in love with a book immediately. The language draws you in and creates a spellbinding picture and you get lost in the author's world. This is one of those books.

Lazlo Strange is an orphan, raised by monks until a chance incident finds him in the Great Library, and he never leaves. A book of fairy tales falls and breaks his nose, and he starts investigating the mysterious city known as Weep. As a boy he knew its name, and played at being a soldier of the great Unknown City, but one day, the name of the city was lost to all.

Lazlo becomes the foremost expert on the lost city, although few know it. So when a delegation is put together to visit the great city, he knows he has to be among the chosen few. But why would a lowly librarian be chosen when there are great scholars who are far more suited to the task?

In Weep, the people are plagued by nightmares, and eternal darkness. Above Weep, the Godspawn are trying to survive boredom and imprisonment. Sarai, known to the people below as the Muse of Nightmares, visits the city each night. When she encounters a mind that can not only see her, but control its own dreams, she's fascinated.

Laini Taylor's masterful use of language creates a spellbinding and compelling story that draws you in and envelops you in a magical world where fairy tales just might exist. Though like most fairy tales, there's no guarantee of a happy ending.

I've heard this book criticised on a couple of fronts - 

It's slow - that's true, there's a hell of a lot of world building and back story, but that's not an issue for me because Laini's writing is so utterly beautiful that as far as I'm concerned, the more the better.

It's a chosen one story. It is. But I love a chosen one story, and always have. If they're not your cup of tea then you might find yourself not enjoying this quite as much as I did.

The ending is a bit obvious - It won't be for everyone, and again, even though I could see a lot of it coming, I still cried buckets (that's not a spoiler, I cry equally at happy and sad endings if they're good enough!).

A beautiful new world has been created in Strange the Dreamer, and I can't wait to see more of it in future books.

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

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.

Welcome to Weep.