Book: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
My Rating: ★★★★★
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Ok. I am going to try my best to formulate coherent thoughts about this book. I did this as a buddy read with Amy (see her blog here and her instagram here) and Jena and loved every second of it. I didn’t really know what to expect going in – I hadn’t read any of Taylor’s other books previously. I think that made it even better.
WHAT I LOVED:
- The writing. This writing was down-right gorgeous. It took me about 50 pages to get used to, but once I did, I couldn’t get enough. It’s unique, descriptive, and paints a stunning picture of the world that Laini Taylor has built. It places you IN a dream while you’re reading it. I honestly can’t even use words to describe the writing in this book, it was that good.
- The characters/POV’s. So often, when there are shifting POV chapters in a book, I am in a rush to get back to someone else’s chapter. There’s always that one character that I rush through because I am just not invested. NOT THE CASE here. There are two POV’s in this book: Sarai’s and Lazlo’s. And BOTH are so colorful, interesting, and magical, that I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. These characters are beautifully developed throughout the entire story and I was BEGGING their storylines to converge by the time they actually did. I don’t remember the last time I was so invested in characters.
- The message. Or should I say, messages. Typically, for me to rate a book 5 stars, there has to be some sort of message takeaway, something to be actually gained from reading it. I don’t want to give too much away, but here are just a few messages that are addressed, and delivered, flawlessly:
- Race/skin color differences
- Good people can make bad choices or actions that have terrible consequences
- We are not our parents’ mistakes
- The world-building. I literally want to move to Weep. That is all.
These aren’t even actually complaints, they are just things I’m pointing out that may turn others off. I have no complaints about this book. I loved it from start to finish.
- This book is a bit of a slow burn. If you are the type of reader who needs action from the first to the last page, then this may not hold your attention. As I stated above, the first 50 pages or so were a little slow as I got used to the writing style, but I was pretty engaged the entire time. However, there is not a ton of action all the way through, particularly the first third. While it didn’t bother me, if this is a deal breaker for you, be warned.
- The insta-love. Now, I’m not always a huge fan of insta-love myself. In this case, however, I didn’t mind it, mainly because of how realistically it was done. Two people who had never experienced ANYTHING might very well start to feel as though they are in love, just like two high schoolers in their very first relationship. If you can’t stand any insta-love in any way, shape, or form, then steer clear.
Ok. Hopefully that review didn’t come out sounding too much like word vomit. Here are the main takeaway points: This book was my favorite read of 2018 so far. I stayed up way too late reading it, thought about it while at work, read it on my lunch break, and basically was so distracted from the real world while I was reading it that it was all I was thinking about and all I wanted to be doing. I neglected my husband, my friends, and my other hobbies so I could spend time reading this book. I literally could not pull my nose out of it. As soon as I finished, I went and preordered the sequel (WHY DOES IT NOT COME OUT UNTIL OCTOBER???) I was in the worst book hangover of my life after finishing it and felt like I was missing part of my soul. Go read this book. You will not regret it.