Title: Strange The Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: March 28th 2017
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?
There were many reasons I picked up Strange The Dreamer, but the story itself wasn’t actually one of them. When I read the synopsis, I literally had no idea what was going on. But it had a beautiful cover and that was tempting enough. Still, I wasn’t entirely convinced to buy it until I found out the author was stopping here on her UK tour. Since no one ever comes here, I wasn’t giving this rare occasion a miss. (She was so nice!)
After reading the prologue and opening chapter, I was still as lost as the city of Weep. Laini Taylor’s writing was completely new to me (although Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been on my TBR for three years) and I can see why someone might struggle to get beyond the first few pages. Nevertheless, I persisted and I actually ended up loving it. This was the nicest surprise since I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but it really is as beautiful inside as it is out.
Laini’s writing is like calligraphy written in honey. That’s an actual description from the book and I think it really sums up how beautiful and poetic her words are. I really loved the mystery woven around the lost city of Weep and I guess that made me want to read on. I was just as intrigued as Lazlo. Does the city still exist? How did it lose its name? Why does the Godslayer need their help? So many questions that even The Complete Works of Lazlo Strange couldn’t answer. Since the book is a slow fantasy, there isn’t much in terms of action but I think the characters really make up for it.
The third person narrator alternates between many different viewpoints, and though this doesn’t always appeal to me it definitely works for this story. The reader gets to follow both the human characters attempting to solve the ‘problem’ in Weep, as well as the Godspawn who overshadow the city – quite literally. I loved learning about the Mesarthium and their unique gifts so I’m hoping we get to delve into more backstory in the next book! If I had to choose between the Godspawn, I’d say Sarai is my favourite but Minya is definitely the most interesting one. I was torn between feeling sorry for her and wanting to kill her. (Although, I did take this ‘Which Godspawn are you?’ quiz and I got Feral!)
And the ending? I definitely wasn’t expecting that ending, even though I should have been expecting it. Laini Taylor is so clever? Honestly, I suggest you re-read the prologue after finishing the book and prepare to have your mind blown.
It’s been so long since I’ve read a book where I’ve had to wait a year for the next one, and I actually forgot what this level of anticipation feels like. Spoiler alert: it’s the worst. But I guess I can finally start on the DoSaB trilogy while I wait…