Friday, 5 October 2018

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Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares by Laini TaylorMuse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Proof) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice--save the woman he loves, or everyone else?--while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
From Goodreads.

Trigger Warning: This book features discussion of rape, and graphic, gory violence.

I have been dying to read Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor ever since finishing Strange the Dreamer, and have been patiently waiting for it. Oh my god, was it worth the wait! I knew it was going to be epic, but man, is it epic!

Muse of Nightmares starts where Strange the Dreamer left off, with Minya intent on having her revenfe on the people of Weep, holding Sarai's soul in balance, promising that she'll let her evanesce if Lazlo doesn't do exactly what she says. Because Sarai is now dead, her soul caught by Minya, and Lazlo is now a god himself - one who can manipulate Mesarthium, the strange blue metal the citadel is made of. That is where Strange the Dreamer finished, and it's where Muse of Nightmares begins, and I'm not going to tell you anything more about the plot of the story, because there are spoilers from the very beginning.

But Taylor takes the themes from the first book, and explores them further in a subtler way. Who is a villain and who is a hero? What is evil, and what is right? Minya is absolutely intent on slaughtering every living person in Weep; she is bloodthirsty and full of rage, and genuinely quite scary. But in Muse of Nightmares, we come to understand Minya a whole lot more. What she's been through, what she witnessed, what she heard. What she is still dealing with to this day. It's horrific, and I just wanted to give this little girl the biggest hug. Minya is complicated, and she needs help. As I finally started to understand her, and all she's experienced, my heart just broke for her.

And my heart broke more than once. With Muse of Nightmares, we're introduced to two other new characters, and their story seems just that, a story. Like a fairy tale from Miracles for Breakfast. But it's not; their story is as real as Sarai and Lazlo's. And it is so unbelievably heartbreaking. It was unbearable. And it's a love story to trump all love stories. And it goes back to the themes Taylor explores: what is evil, and what is right? What will you do, how far will you go, for someone you love? What makes a hero, and what makes a villain? Mate, this story is so unbelievably tragic, I can't bear it. But it's through their story, and how it links with Sarai and Lazlo's that we finally get our answers. Who are the Mesarthim? Where did they come from? Why were they here? And what happened to all those children, the godspawn, who were born in the citadel over 200 years?

There's unendurable heartbreak, there's trauma that goes bone-deep, and guilt that is heavier than the citadel itself, but there is also beauty. There is love. There is pure joy and giddiness in that love. Because the changes Lazlo and Sarai have been through has not affected their love one bit. And now they're really in front of each, really right there. And they managed, here and there, to steal moments for themselves. And, my god, it's just so beautiful. It's new, and it's pure, and it's all encompassing. It had my heart fit to burst. But there's isn't the only love story. There are smaller ones, and one that, again, broke my heart. But there's also healing and recovery amidst all the tragedy, and there's hope.

There are some small, tiny elements of the story that made me so, so happy, but I can't talk about them because they are spoilers. But I absolutely have to talk about them, so if you've not read the book yet, do not hit the button below. Seriously, you should really discover these moments yourself.



There is so much thought and foresight that Taylor brought to this duology. I mean, the planning that must have gone into it. This whole duology is all about consequences, really, but this whole story is a consequence! A consequence of actions taken so many years ago I'm not sure there's even a number, when people with power made a choice, took a step, and chose to oppress, and in doing so, paved the way for others with their own power centuries (millennia?) later to make the lives of the people of Weep a living hell. This story isn't just epic in regards to what happens in the story, but in the span of this story, how it started god knows how many years before Strange the Dreamer. Taylor is just a genius. She is. I've talked before about her beautiful writing and the language, and how it envelopes you and is just a gem in itself, and how she is an expert storyteller, weaving those words to tell something so brilliant. But the depth of her imagination, the scope! I mean, can you imagine if something happened and Taylor decided not to write? To give it up, and take a different path? It's just unimaginable. The joy her books have brought to people, the delight. I do not what to imagine a world in which Taylor's books don't exist, in which Taylor doesn't right, because it would be grim. We need her stories, I need her stories, because in this world that is just so hard sometimes, Taylor's worlds are a flaming torch, a bonfire in the dark. And I am so, so grateful to her for writing them.

Muse of Nightmares is just perfect. Simply perfect. Being a dulogy, and knowing this was the last book, I was worried about finishing it, finishing this story, and having to say goodbye to characters I love and adore again. But the ending was perfect, and there was no sadness on finishing Muse of Nightmares, just unadulterated joy, to the point that I almost cried with happiness. I am so, so excited to see what Taylor brings us next, because I know for a fact it will just be phenomenal. Taylor is incapable of anything but. And I will patiently wait for her next masterpiece, because that's another story.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for the proof.

Add to Goodreads

Published: 2nd October 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Laini Taylor's Website

My other reviews from the series:
Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer Book 1)

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2 comments:

  1. THIS REVIEW MAKES ME FLAIL ALL OVER AGAIN AHHHH I AM SO SO NOT OVER THIS!! Like I'm terrified of finales, but Laini Taylor is a PURE QUEEN and this was 100% perfect and made me want to cry but also laugh and also just sit there and gape at the pure skill that was woven through it. ALL THOSE EASTER EGGS!!! Your spoiler section = yes and yes. Also I love how the story is closed but not finished. I could take 209 short stories about these characters on their further adventures. (I want more Ruza/Thyon and Calixte/her girlfriend too!! I forget her name aghghg.)

    But basically it was perfect and I just sat around in deep awe when I finished.😍😍😍😍

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    Replies
    1. RIGHT?! There is so much to cry over, but there's also so much joy, and I am dying! I am still not over it! AND EASTER EGGS! AND THE POTENTIAL FUTURE! And I bet Taylor probably will write short stories, like she did for Zuzanna and Mik! I just feel like those relationships are something she would want to explore herself? And I look forward to them, if they actually happen!

      I just love Laini Taylor, and yes, she is Queen, and we all need to just start bowing before her.

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