Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (proof) - 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?

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.

Welcome to Weep.
From Goodreads.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I absolutely adored the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Taylor's latest - and it most definitely does not disappoint!

For me, as much as I loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Strange the Dreamer surpasses it. Taylor is more than just an author, she's a storyteller; she weaves words in the most beautiful way, there's no chance of me not becoming completely enthralled. We knew this already, of course, but with this book, I can't help buy marvel at the world, the characters, the story she has created. Taylor completely captured my imagination, and I felt I was right there with Lazlo Strange; his childhood at the Abbey, his early adulthood at the library, his journey from Zosma to Weep with Eril Fane the Godslayer - and I was completely mesmerised by the mysteries surrounding Weep as Lazlo was, and just as dumbfounded by what he found there.

It's been a very, very long time since I've wanted to do nothing but read, where everything else needing my attention - work, cooking, eating, bathing, shopping, sleeping - was a major inconvenience, but Strange the Dreamer is that book; the book you won't want to put down, the book you will stay up late into the night reading just a few pages more. Reading Strange the Dreamer, for me, was like discovering the joy of reading for the first time all over again. There's no greater compliment that I can give. It's so rare that books fill me with such a sense of wonder and so much delight over the simple pleasure of reading. And because it brought back that wonder, that joy and delight that I first experienced reading Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings as a 12-year-old, Strange the Dreamer felt like coming home.

All bookworms everywhere will relate to Lazlo, this young man who loves books and stories, fairy tales and myths, who is filled with the same awe at reading the books in the sublevel of the library as I was with reading his story. And through him, we learn the little that is known about the mysterious city of Weep; a city that outsiders were forbidden to go to, and executed as spies if they tried, a city from which the most beautiful and amazing objects came, to be traded around the world, a city that the world stopped hearing from two hundred years ago, a city who, 15 years ago, everyone forgot the name of - when they tried to say the city's true name, it was stolen from their minds, and all that came out was "Weep". Lazlo is passionate about Weep, and its two mysteries; what happened two hundred years ago that led to an end of all contact from Weep to the rest of the world? And what happened 15 years ago to steal it's true name from the minds of everyone? When Eril Fane, leader of the fabled Tizerkane warriors of Weep, arrives at Zosmos - the first contact with Weep in two centuries - seeking a delegation of qualified people to help his city with a problem Eril Fane won't go into, Lazlo is desperate to go, too. But what he finds there is beyond anything he could ever imagine.

I've not even covered the first third of the book, but the wonders and mysteries of Weep should stay that until you discover them along with Lazlo. There is a second protagonist, one who's third person narration joins Lazlo's once the delegation arrive at Weep. Her name is Sarai, a 17-year-old girl, who feels lonely, and trapped, and stuck. And that's all I will say about her.

Taylor has this incredible way of showing us the morally grey of people. Then there is fighting, a war, she shows there is no side that is completely right or completely wrong, no side that is good, no side that is bad. There are just people; people who are faced with impossible decisions, people who do the wrong thing to do the right, people who are trying to do what's best for their people, their safety, their survival. What is a god, and what is a monster? What is a hero, and what is a dictator? What is just and fair, and what is evil? The lines are blurred. At times you will abhor those you previously rooted for, and feel for those you hated. Were they right to do what they did, or were they wrong? It's a question Taylor forces you to ask yourself, but I'm struggling to work out what the answer is.

Strange the Dreamer ends on such a cliffhanger. One of the worst, because we have to wait until next year to read, but one of the best, because you won't be able to stop thinking about it, and the consequences, and where they will lead. Like with Lazlo himself, you're left with even more questions than you started with. Strange the Dreamer is one of the most incredible fantasy novels I've ever read, but it's sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is undoubtedly going to be even more epic. With this book, I think Taylor has landed herself the position of my most favourite author.

Strange the Dreamer ruined my imagination for all other books.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for the proof.

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Published: 28th March 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Laini Taylor's Website

8 comments:

  1. Can I squee? Better than Daughter of Smoke and Bone? I am so excited for this one! It is also one of my most anticipated. I am thrilled you loved it!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I really did think it was better than DoSaB. It was just amazing! I really hope you enjoy it, too!

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  2. I super duper want to read this! I loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone (though I'm ashamed to admit I haven't actually read more than the first book -- I fail at bookworming). But I love Taylor's story-crafting, and it sounds like she did a wonderful job with this one! Thanks for sharing :)

    ~ Michelle @ FaerieFits

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    1. Oooh, I'm so jealous of you still having the last two books in the trilogy to read! You've got such great reading ahead of you! But yes, Taylor is wonderful at crafting a story, and she proves it yet again with Strange the Dreamer. Really hope you enjoy it when you read it!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. I'm so excited for this one! I am currently re-reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and it reignited my love for the series and made me more excited for this book! <3

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. Oooh, I hope you enjoy your re-read of the trilogy! This book is so good, I really hope you enjoy it! :)

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  4. i'm going to be reading this soon so fingers crossed i enjoy it :P

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

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    1. Oooh, I hope you do! It's so good!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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