Book Title: Strange The Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: Strange The Dreamer #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pub Date: 03/28/17
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.
mahal–A risk that will yield either tremendous reward or disastrous consequence.
That’s really the heart of what every reader desires in a fantasy world, right? Where there is no great risk, there is nothing worth losing, and where there is nothing worth losing, there is nothing worth reading. Perhaps that is the pinnacle of this book’s excellence, but it’s certainly not it’s only great feature. I knew from the moment I dove in that this story would be special; the three pages of prologue were more beautiful, captivating, and gripping than the entirety of many books I’ve previously read. I could go on and on and on and on
and on and on and on and on about the quality, structure, and exquisite nature of the writing, but I won’t. I think it’s been duly noted in most reviews that the dreamy state of writing creates an unparalleled atmosphere to enhance our experience within such a delicate fantasy world. I would liken it to “calligraphy, if calligraphy were written in honey.”
“Vengeance… Vengeance ought to be spoken through gritted teeth, spittle flying, the cords of one’s soul so entangled in it that you can’t let it go, even if you try.”
Best if you go into this knowing as little as possible, but for readers who need something to go on, there is a multi-layered plot that plays with the mind and the heart here. The beginning, after the prologue, is a slow building form of storytelling where we spend time getting to know Lazlo Strange and his part in this epic tale. Much emotion and feeling is infused here; I found this to be vital to the story as it forged my bond with Strange and welded my needs, hopes, and dreams with his own. Along the way, we are introduced to a new viewpoint where a similar form of storytelling is relayed. Once the two voices connect and intertwine, the pacing picks up and I really flew through to the end. While I would say this was easy to put down, I don’t mean that in a negative way; this was simply a novel I wanted to savor and not rush through. I was able to completely immerse myself in this fantasy world and was thinking about it constantly throughout my day, but I felt comfortable doing this with no pressure to sneak around and cram in a few pages every spare second I had.
We find out the above spoiler fairly early on, which I’m assuming pertains heavily to the next book as well, but I wanted to block it out for those who want no information. While there is quite a bit of action in the final 75 pages or so, the majority of the book is epic characterization and faultless world building. The atmosphere is simultaneously whimsical and bleak; it was equal parts bleary loss and gleaming hope. It felt strange and wonderful to be a part of something so unique as it truly contained a dreamlike, wispy quality, whereas most fantasy I’ve read does not contain this aesthetic. Even the scenes at the end featuring war, cruelty, and violence contained that lighter, more beautiful aesthetic.
Oh no! She’s headed back to talking about the prose! Watch out! Seriously, this writing is otherworldly.
“She didn’t take away his conflicting emotions, although she could have. She left his hate there, right beside the love. It was the hate of the used and tormented, who are the children of the used and tormented… And it was love. Love that sets forth the soul like springtime and ripens it like summer. Love as rarely exists in reality…”
I’ll wrap this up, but I honestly was broken by that ending in the best possible way. If you haven’t read the book, then pick it up immediately. It truly deserves all of the stars. If you have, then I’m sure we are all in agreement that (view spoiler) Some of the finest writing I have had the pleasure of experiencing all year and easily my favorite fantasy to date, I highly recommend you read this. ❤
*Thanks Bentley for buddy reading this one with me!