Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Welcome to my stop on the Strange the Dreamer blog tour! To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Strange the Dreamer, I’m sharing my review of the first book in Laini Taylor’s duology (the sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is being released on October 2nd).
“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”
About the book:
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 in choosing him. 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 and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Welcome to Weep.
Strange the Dreamer is beautifully written. Laini Taylor’s storytelling is lyrical and poetic, painting exquisite landscapes and rendering a cast of three-dimensional characters that it’s impossible to resist caring about. The language absorbs you, and – just as Lazlo struggles to distinguish dreams from reality – it’s difficult to pull yourself away from the world of Weep and back into reality.
This book epitomises the term ‘slow burn’ in the sweetest kind of way. It takes a while for Lazlo to embark on his journey to Weep, it takes time to learn exactly why the outsiders – faranji – have been invited to Weep, and it takes even longer for Sarai and Lazlo (the two protagonists) to meet. However, because of how vibrant and descriptive the narration is, it doesn’t matter that there are swathes of time where nothing really happens. The story is so captivating that you hardly even realise that the descriptive passages stretch on for as long as they do. It’s impossible to get bored while reading Strange the Dreamer, but I also wouldn’t suggest rushing it: at just over 500 pages long, it’s worth savouring it and taking your time to fully imagine each of the locations that Lazlo visits.
It’s hard to say more without giving away major plot points, and I think that it’s important for you to discover Strange the Dreamer in your own time. I knew hardly anything about it going in and I loved it all the more for how unexpected the twists and turns were. I’d highly suggest avoiding spoilers and exploring the Weep without preconceptions, because I guarantee that you’ll be blown away (even if fantasy isn’t normally your thing – I sometimes struggle with it, but reading Strange the Dreamer was like slipping into a perfectly heated bath).
Finishing this book made me feel bereft, and I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to read a sequel. The events of the last few chapters meant it was possible to make the book into a standalone, but I trust Taylor to have enough content to continue the story of Weep. Although I haven’t read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy yet, that has been pushed up my list of priorities: no other novel has captivated me quite as intensely, and I’m hoping that Taylor’s earlier releases will contain the same magic.
If you’re interested in learning more about Strange the Dreamer, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this review! Have you read Strange the Dreamer yet, or are you trying to wait until The Muse of Nightmares is released so that you can binge them?