Strange the Dreamer: Review
I was absolutely blown away by Laini Taylor's writing and felt myself wanting more as I turned the last page of Strange the Dreamer. This is a hefty 544-page fantasy novel, but it's filled with lovely world building and lyrical prose. So if you the time to spare, I highly recommend giving the book a read!
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?
Welcome to Weep.
Were you confused by the summary? Well, you're not alone. I admit that I was lost in the first hundred pages or so and it took me an agonizingly long four days to get through the first half of the book. Don't get me wrong, the writing was still beautiful! Lazlo Strange is an endearing character, and it's because of him that we're allowed beautifully described environments and fairy tales. The world building is amazing, because Taylor has literally created a world, mythology, and history from scratch. But when you have to do something like that, it takes a toll on the pacing of the book, as the reader must also learn the history of Weep for themselves.
Lazlo Strange is a protagonist that you root for, however, and it's for him that I kept myself going. He is clever and funny, kind and compassionate. Learned and book-smart, handsome, but awkward. He's the best of a whole cluster of my favorite male protagonists, and I'm still reeling from how much I just want Lazlo to be happy, and from that ending.
Now, I'm treading a fine line between spoilers and what's already described in the summary. But notice the mention of the "blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams." Her appearance is when things truly start to pick up in Strange the Dreamer, and while some readers might criticize this plot point as being cliche, I thought it was lovely. I thought it was a clever way to explore real contemporary topics of race and sexuality. Ok, enough of that- I was ready to spoil everything!
I rate Strange the Dreamer 4/5 stars!