Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
So, let me start off with this. When I was younger, I loved the Faeries of Dreamdark series. I was so sad to discover that the author stopped writing them after just two books. Anyways, fast-forward to about a week before I read this book. I finally made the connection that this book, Strange the Dreamer, and the Faeries of Dreamdark series were written by the same author, Laini Taylor. So of course, I picked up Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares immediately. I can easily say I am not disappointed. This book is told from mostly two perspectives and reveals two very different lives. Strange the Dreamer follows Lazlo Strange, a war orphan, on his search for knowledge of Weep, the mythical city that comes to him in his dreams. It also follows Sarai, a girl locked in a fortress with no exit, clinging to a bare frame of a life, existing in nightmares. The pages of this book are flush with whimsy, magic, charm, and mythical creatures. A beautiful and tragic story unfolds in the most chromatic array of storytelling.
What I Did Like:
- Laini paints a vivid world of charm and wonder. The world is so fantastical that it sucks you in immediately. I easily left a little piece of my heart in this book.
- The emotional depth of this book is incredible. I felt real empathy for the characters, and real stress.
- Speaking of stress, I can easily say that a book has not stressed me out this much in quite a while. So much anxiety. I swear, my heart was clenched in my chest for like 75% of this book.
- I absolutely sped through this book. I spent at least two nights reading until dawn, but it was so very worth it.
What I Didn’t Like:
- I guessed the main plot twist like a third of the way through. I mean, this made it no less enjoyable, but it did take away a little bit of the awe.
- Side note: I’m also generally really good at guessing twists, so it could just be me.
- My one problem with fantasy is when the author starts making up new species and creatures, and expects us to remember all of them, which is basically what Laini did. I just wish she had included some sort of glossary in the back for easy reference.
Overall, this is a beautifully written story within a magically vivid world of wonder and whimsy. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This is an enjoyable book to read if you’re just getting into fantasy novels too. I wish I had made the Dreamdark author connection sooner. I would have been picking up Laini’s books for years. This is the first fantasy novel that has sucked me in so completely since the Zodiac series. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this book. I can’t wait to dive back into this world in Muse of Nightmares!