Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: March 28th 2017
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…
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.