March 15, 2017

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: March 28th, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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.


Strange the Dreamer is a difficult book to review. There’s a part of me that really enjoyed it, and part of me that really didn’t.

Taylor has a knack for world-building that isn’t easy to find, and the same can be said for her character development. She makes you want to live her in worlds, and know her characters personally. If you can sit back and take your time with the book, Strange the Dreamer will slowly come alive for you, and you may find yourself in awe.

All that said, the attention to world-building and character development makes the writing incredibly heavy. So much is devoted to those two aspects that there isn’t much of anything else until you're halfway through the book, and even then, the story takes its time. There were several times I would find myself having read several chapters in a row, and couldn’t tell you a single thing that happened in them. Not because it was forgettable, but because nothing happened in them. I truly believe this book could have been at least 100 pages shorter, and you wouldn’t have lost anything. On the contrary, it would have been absolutely fantastic. But, as it is, you have to dig deep for the story and I have a hard time imagining that the intended demographic will have the patience to get through this book.

But goodness, the story. My. What story there is, when you finally reach it, is so good. But the pacing in this book, and the time it takes to get there is just…unfortunate. I recommend everyone give Strange the Dreamer a shot. I imagine you’ll either fall asleep, or fall in.

Cover: 4 | Characters: 4 | Plot: 4 | Pace: 1 | Creativity: 5

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