Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer


Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: March 28th 2017

Rating:

Five Stars

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

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?

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“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.”

As a child growing up in the orphanage, and later as a junior librarian, Lazlo has always lived more in his dreams than in reality. Ever since he first heard stories he has been obsessed with the city of Weep, a strange place whose real name was stolen from his tongue so many years ago. Lazlo is scorned and scoffed at by librarians and scholars alike who see his dreams as childish fantasy and discount any mention of Weep. Until the Godslayer and his Tizerkane warriors arrive at the Great Library.

With his dream finally within his grasp Lazlo reaches out and finds himself travelling to Weep alongside the very best minds the world has to offer. There is a problem the city needs solving, one that relates to the cities disappearance from the world and the mystery of the stolen name. Arriving in Weep only seems to raise more questions for Lazlo, and as the other scholars try to find a way to remove the citadel from the sky Lazlo finds his dreams plagued by images of a blue skinned girl.

“It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?”

Sarai has been trapped in the citadel above Weep for fifteen years, hiding her existence from the humans below for fear of what will happen if they ever discover any of the godspawn are still alive. At night she steals into people’s dreams, forcing horrible nightmares on them in revenge for the carnage the Godslayer wrought all those years ago. Until she hears word of the Godslayers return and of the scholars he brought with him; word that leads her to Lazlo’s dreams.

Ever since I first heard Laini Taylor was releasing a new book Strange the Dreamer has been at the top of my to-read list, and of course my expectations were sky high. Like her first series Strange the Dreamer is a richly written story that draws you in a refuses to let go. There is magic to be found around every corner and as Laini Taylor wove the story and the romance between Lazlo and Sarai I was hooked, constantly trying to guess what would happen next in a world where anything was possible.

…The Characters

“He drifted about with his head full of myths, always at least half lost in some otherland of story. Demons and wingsmiths, seraphim and spirits, he loved it all.”

Lazlo has always believed in Weep when no one else has, first as a young boy with a child-like stubbornness, but as he grew older that belief grew with him until Weep consumed most of his thoughts. He collected every bit of information he could find on the city, dreaming of magic he could only imagine. Lazlo is smart, picking out small bits of truth from fairytales and myths, but his knowledge is discounted by the older librarians and scholars, who see his tales as nothing more than childish daydreams.

Despite his big dreams however Lazlo knows he will not be a hero stories are written about, that honour belongs to Nero and the other scholars on the journey with him. For Lazlo however just seeing the city and being a part of the story, no matter how small, is enough for him.

“Sarai was the Muse of Nightmares. But when she fell asleep, she was no sorceress or dark enthralled, but just a sleeping girl with no control over the terrors within her.”

Sarai has forever been trapped behind the walls of the citadel that floats over Weep. Every night she sees the humans through their dreams, and she dreams of belonging with them instead of being trapped high above the clouds. Sarai and the other godspawn have had their minds twisted by Minya, led to believe the humans deserve any torture they can wreck upon them. However seeing their dreams and hopes and fears Sarai starts seeing a different side to the humans of Weep.

All Sarai wants is to live instead of survive, but when war reaches them high in the sky she sees her own death before her eyes. She wants to believe there is another way but Minya is still desperate for revenge after the carnage she lived through so long ago.

“And they gazed at themselves in it, side by side and hand in hand, and they beheld neither gods nor monsters. They were so nearly unchanged, and yet that one thing – the colour of their skin – would, in the real world, change everything.”

When Lazlo first sees Sarai in his dream he sees her as just that, a dream, and he is instantly taken with her; but the more time they spend with one another the more his feelings grow for the girl who has seen so little beauty. When Sarai first sees Lazlo’s dreams she sees a different side to Weep; one that is so much more bright and magical than in real life. There was an instant connection between the two of them, although I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying it was insta-love, and the two start to genuinely believe that there is another way for the citizens of Weep and the godspawn to live in peace with one another, however futile that belief may be.

…The Setting

“Weep slept. Dreamers dreamed. A grand moon drifted, and the wings of the citadel cut the sky in two: light above, dark below.”

When we first hear about Weep it is through Lazlo’s stories and his imaginings. As much as it is a real place, though lost to the rest of the world for centuries, it feels like a place more magic than reality. Everything about it feels like a fairytale, and when the fearsome warriors from Weep arrive at the Great Library it still feels that way. It’s only when Lazlo first steps foot in the city that it became a real place. Although there is magic in Weep there is more heartbreak. The city is covered in a dark shadow that is more than the citadel perched above it casts. There is darkness and sorrow in the people but there is still hope and wonder. I loved exploring the city alongside Lazlo; both in terms of his waking hours in the real Weep, and in his sleeping ones where magic is real and he creates whole worlds with Sarai.


Strange the Dreamer has been one of my most anticipated reads for so long now, and it ended up being a rare case where the book itself was better than I could have ever imagined it would be. I fell in love with Lazlo from the very first page, enchanted by his journey and all the things he experienced along the way. This was an amazing book, and I can’t wait to see where Laini Taylor goes with the second instalment of this duology.

What did you think of Strange the Dreamer? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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48 thoughts on “Strange the Dreamer

  1. I skimmed because I haven’t read this yet, but I am so excited for it!! My pre order arrived last week? Or the week before that? I can’t remember and it’s the signed edition with the blue edges and it’s so 😍😍😍😍 glad to see you enjoyed this:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh good idea, this book is even better if you go in blind with no idea what to expect from the story of the characters. That edition is just gorgeous isn’t it? That’s the one I have as well and it’s definitely one of the prettiest books I own at the moment!
      It was a great book, I hope you really enjoy it as well Lauren 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be honest, I haven’t even read the blurb properly! I just saw Laini Taylor and pre ordered instantly 😂😂 and it is definitely one of the prettiest books I own!! 😍😍

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad this ended up surpassing your expectations, Beth! Your review just made me want to read it even more. And the quotes you included, I forgot how much I love Laini’s writing. It just really sounds like a fantastic and magical book and your descriptions of Lazlo have me loving him already. I’m going to have to bump this up my list for after Lord of Shadows and ACOWAR. I just need to read all of the fantasy books this year and there as so many great ones lol. Great review as always! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah this book was beyond brilliant, and I’m glad to hear that because this is one I kind of want everyone to start reading as soon as possible! 😀
      She’s an amazing author, and I think if you loved her first series and her writing you’ll love Strange the Dreamer even more. It’s full of beautiful quotes and characters. Lazlo is definitely my favourite of the lot!
      Ha, I understand how Lord of Shadows and ACOWAR would come first, I know when I get my hands on ACOWAR I’m going to be dropping everything to start reading it.
      So so many amazing ones, but I can’t wait to get started on them all!
      Thanks so much Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I plan on it! I have a list of fantasy novels I want to get through after May if I don’t hit a slump and Strange the Dreamer is definitely on it. 😊
        She really is and I really enjoyed her first series so I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one. Her writing is definitely another that is extremely quote worthy. It makes me wish I had artistic talent and could create bookish designs.
        Same, I am dropping everything for ACOWAR. I might even just reread the week prior to the release rather than reading anything new. 😂
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 💕😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Do you think ACOWAR will send you into a fantasy slump? I’m assuming that’s what you’ll be saving these fantasy novels for in May. See when I finished ACOL I thought I’d go into a fantasy slump but actually the opposite happened and now I can’t get enough! 🙂
        Ohh, bookmarks and designs for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series would be great! I see loads of graphics for Strange the Dreamer, I’ve actually been tempted to buy some because they all look so amazing!
        Same here, I need to dedicate time to re-reads before starting to last book, it’s a must! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If not ACOWAR then Lord of Shadows, I’m worried one of the two will send me into a fantasy slump. I have a list of contemporaries for the possibility and list of fantasy for if the opposite happens. But that was me with TSR! I thought it would send me into a fantasy slump because TMO did but it just made me want to read all of the fantasy books. 🙈
        I’ve seen a few for Daughter of Smoke and Bone but I can’t remember where and I know I’ve seen a ton for Strange the Dreamer too. I’ve been tempted to buy some too. Maybe within the next few months lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It could even be both you just never know. I’ve started City of Glass today but from what I’ve heard of Clare’s books she gets to the series cliffhangers with her later releases. I’m slowly building my list of contemporaries for that reason. I have a lot I’ve been meaning to get to so I’ll just have to binge read them!
        I feel it’s rare that happens. I reckon ACOWAR will definitely put me into a fantasy slump for a little while!
        It doesn’t seem as quoted/designed, whereas Strange the Dreamer is everywhere because it was such an anticipated release. Yeah same here, maybe in the next few months! 🙂

        Like

      5. She does! I can’t remember but I think City of Fallen Angels ends in a cliffhanger as does Lady Midnight.
        I have a lot of contemporaries I’ve been meaning to get to also. And my list just keeps getting longer because a lot of good ones have been released so far this year. I’ll be prepared for a fantasy slump once it hits me. 😊
        ACOWAR will most likely end up doing the same to me. I’m not ready for Feyre’s trilogy to end.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. In that case I’m glad I won’t have to wait for City of Heavenly Souls (right title?) or Lord of Shadows because that will have been released by the time I’m up to date on the series!
        Oh so many amazing ones. I’m slowly building up my list so when my fantasy slump hits I’m well prepared as well. If anything puts me in a fantasy slump it will be ACOWAR, or it could go the other way and I’ll end up on an extreme fantasy binge! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. City of Heavenly Fire, and you will be SO HAPPY you don’t have to wait for that one because I remember the wait for it being torture. Mainly not knowing what would happen to the characters because I was so invested lol.
        Right? We could only be so lucky if ACOWAR puts on even more of a fantasy binge. That was the case with TSR so I’m really hoping that is the case with ACOWAR. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ehh, I got three out of the four words right! 🙂 But yeah I probably will, and once I get to that book I’ll be sure to let you know my thoughts on not having had to wait for it. Was it as bad as the wait for ACOL would have been?
        If that is the case it’s possible I’ll run out of fantasy books! I’ve been going through them so quickly. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Probably not as bad as ACOL would have been. Only because if I remember correctly City of Lost Souls isn’t really cliffhangerish but I was just really anticipating it because it’s TMI’s series ender.
        I think I’d be good for the rest of the year. Mostly because I’m a terribly slow reader. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Ah OK, the thing with ACOL was that it was a major cliffhanger but there was also that anticipation for the last book in the series. Honestly I’m not sure how I survived the wait! 😀
        Well as long as you enjoy what you read does it matter how long it takes to get through books? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay. When a book manages to EXCEED your already high expectations???? That is absolutely amazing! This book also sounds really awesome, from the characters to the world-building. Fantastic review, Beth! 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I love Laini Taylor so I knew this was amazing but I still wasn’t fully prepared for it to be as amazing as it was. This is a brilliant book, and one I’d highly highly recommend as well. There was nothing about Strange the Dreamer I didn’t like.
      Thanks Lashaan. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow I’m very happy this book exceeded your expectations! I loved the part you explain Lazlo knows he is not the hero stories are written about, something about it broke my heart 🙂 Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes this book was beyond amazing, and I loved every second of reading it! Yeah that’s something Lazlo mentions in the book, he knows the glory won’t fall on him he just wants to be part of the story. He’s such a brilliant character!
      Thanks Donna! 😀

      Like

  5. Yayayayay you loved this book!! It’s Laini Taylor though, so I guess it’s kind of a given? Haha. Nonetheless, I’m so glad to hear this is worth the read! Lazlo sounds like such an amazing character?! I adored her previous series and this review has me more excited than ever to jump into this. Loved the review, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah definitely a given. She’s definitely one of my auto-buy authors for that reason alone! 😀
      Strange the Dreamer was amazing and Lazlo is such a great character as well. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is a favourite of mine too, and I think you’ll love Strange the Dreamer Analee.
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m very excited about reading this, but I put it on hold at the library instead of buying it, and there are five people ahead of me who reserved it, so it will be awhile until I get it!

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  7. Great review Beth! 😀
    I’m sooo happy that you loved this book! It makes me even more exited to be reading it in the future. It’s always great when you anticipate a book and it turns out to be even better than you expected it to be! 🙂 Though I do find that rarely happens, it’s always a wonderful feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Anna! 😀
      Yeah I knew I was going to enjoy this book but I still didn’t realise just how much I’d love it. It’s always a great feeling, kind of rare for me as well though, and I’m sure when you get around to picking up Strange the Dreamer you’ll love it as well. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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