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Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on March 28th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 432
Format: eBook

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.


“He believed in magic, like a child, and in ghosts, like a peasant.”

This is the first book by Laini Taylor I have ever read and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Whimsical prose, vengeful gods, relentless nightmares – this book was beautiful, dreamy and delightfully strange. I’ve never read a book quite like it.
The world building of Strange the Dreamer is vast and mysterious. We learn of a strange city, its name ripped from the minds of all who know it, with only the word ‘weep’ left in its place. Lazlo, our resident orphaned Librarian has dedicated his life to unravelling the mysteries of Weep. It’s not a mystery that can be regurgitated and retold by the words of a blogger, but a mystery to be read firsthand in the words of the author. So if you’re intrigued by what you’ve seen, read this delightful book!
Strange the Dreamer plays on the old cliche of the tragic orphan answering the “call to adventure” despite his apparent “lack” of talents. But he can speak in their tongue and tell a good tale so bonus points to him. Is he destined to be a hero? You betcha. Does he learn about his true heritage? You betcha. Does it shock the reader? Not so much. Can you feel how this may come across as slightly cliche? Will you notice it whilst reading it? Probably not. You’ll be more distracted by how beautifully written this book is more than anything else. (At least, I hope you are. I certainly was.)
For the most part the pace to this novel is slow, the world being crafted piece by piece with each page you turn (which was a slight drag). It’s not until the last third of the book that things start to happen. Even then, it’s not until you reach the last 10% of the book where things start to get really interesting. Unfortunately the twists lack the punch they deserve when you consider the cliche the novel is written around.
I can safely say that I will be reading Laini Taylor’s The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series very, very soon.

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