Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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From the blurb at Goodreads:

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?

 

A review by Kira and Shelly, interview-style.

What was your overall view of the book?

Kira: I loved it! It wasn’t a perfect book, but it was the theme that drew me in. It was about how no one is good or bad because everyone is good and bad. They way it was depicted was original. I’ve never read a story quite like it. The world building was amazing!

Shelly: I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it was just gorgeously written and so imaginative. I felt the author did a magnificent job of creating the world and executing an unforgettable, slow-burn fantasy. The romance was well-done and I have no issues with the overall plot.

On the other hand, the ending just ticked me off. We’ll get to that in a moment.

(I listened to the audio version, narrated by Steve West and he owned it like a boss! I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much had I not listened to the book!)

Who were your favorite and/or least-favorite characters?

Kira: Lazlo and Sarai were my favorites. They were different but complemented each other well. Lazlo really was strange. Life had not been kind to him but he remained optimistic and kind. Sarai was strong but sad. I loved her because she managed to love the people who made her life miserable.

Eril-Fane was fascinating because he depicted human nature in a way it rarely is. He truly was the best and worse of humanity all in one person. I wanted to hate him as I learned more about him but couldn’t stop liking him.

Minya was the one character I truly hated. She was so heartless.

Shelly: I adored Lazlo and Sarai. Lazlo was a fantastic male protagonist and I loved watching him go from the orphaned, nobody librarian to the confident blazing hero. I felt so bad for Sarai and her circumstances and was emotionally attached to her feelings of conflict over her ancestry and her melancholy yearning for a more fulfilling life (instead of being trapped in the floating citadel).

Eril-Fane was great as well. He is a multi-layered heroic male supporting character who brings Lazlo and some of his people to the city of Weep to help him solve the citadel “problem.”

I loved the rest of the godspawn (of which Sarai is one) and even the despicable Minya was intriguing. Thyon was a well-developed villain and even he was great! (Although I hated him.)

Let’s talk about that ending (no spoilers).

Kira: I didn’t like the ending but didn’t hate it. It was shocking. In some ways it throws an interesting twist into the plot. OTOH it prevents so many things I was hoping would happen from happening because I don’t see how this can be undone. Even if things can be somewhat rectified it’ll never be the same. I’m still looking forward to the next book but don’t know what to expect from it either.

Shelly: Okay, so the ending made me rage. I wish I would have been warned there was a HUGE cliffhanger with MAJOR shocking events. I felt a little bit like I was being emotionally manipulated. Who knows how long we will have to wait to see how it is all resolved. Sigh. But, instead of being too angry, I have decided to trust that there will be a satisfying conclusion. Fingers crossed.

Is there anything that stands out for you, pros or cons?

Kira: Pros…

  • The writing
  • The city of Weep
  • Great character development and characters
  • The excellent depictions of human nature

Cons…

  • It was too slow especially in the beginning
  • The devastating ending

Shelly: Pros…

  • Awesome world-building.
  • Great characters. There is so much that could still be done in this world.
  • The writing is beautiful and emotional. 

Cons…

  • A bit too long and the pacing was a little slow in sections, although a lot of this was offset by the fantastic narration.
  • That ending.

Are you looking forward to the next book?

Kira: I am, but I have mixed feelings. I’m not feeling optimistic about it. It’s not that I think it’ll be bad, but it’s not going to be happy. I will read the next book as soon as I can get my hands on it. I am dying to know more about the world and the fate of the characters.

Shelly: I am looking forward to the next book. I am so curious about the Mesarthim, the brutal blue-skinned, magical beings who took over Weep. I hope we get to find out more about them and their history. That could be a whole other series!

I do recommend this book, with the caution about the cliffhanger and to expect an emotional ending!

 

7ya8izz

Shelly’s review at Goodreads.

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Kira’s review at Goodreads

3 thoughts on “Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Add yours

    1. Thanks for the comment. I agree! Although I hope maybe something happens towards the beginning and it’s not as sad as it seems like it could be. 😦 I can’t help but look forward to it too, if nothing else than to find out what happens. – Shelly

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yikes. I’ve been seeing some mixed reviews on this book, but I’m still curious to see how it goes. However, I’m not a huge fan of cliff hangers though.

    P.S. I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award. Enjoy!

    Like

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