Review: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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Title: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Genre/Audience: Fantasy/YA
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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.

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

Let me first admit, Strange The Dreamer was a complete cover buy. I saw the UK cover and fell in love before I read the synopsis. Unfortunately, as excited as I was to receive this book, it has been in my TBR for the longest and I am glad to have FINALLY read it.

I loved Strange The Dreamer. The characters were well-developed, the world-building was intricate, and the writing was beautiful. I enjoyed the plot and loved the characters. It’s difficult to capture the beauty of Strange The Dreamer without spoilers, but I will do my best. I will provide a spoiler warning if I start to venture into spoilers.

Lazlo Strange is a 20-year old orphan and dreamer. Since he was a young child, he has been in love with magic, warriors, and Weep. Strange the Dreamer is about his journey and oh, what a wonderful character journey it is. Lazlo is kind, sweet, pure, brave, honest, and an unlikely hero. He is a character I was willing to fight other characters for.  In a world filled with jerk YA male protagonist, Lazlo was a breath of fresh air. He is so pure and innocent.

“Lazlo Strange: head in the clouds, world of his own, fairy tales and fancy.”

This story is not only about Lazlo’s journey, but other characters’ as well. Sarai, the female protagonist, was also well-developed. Her story is different from Lazlo’s and essential.  I loved the way Laini Taylor wrote her character because Sarai was not just an average YA character. She’s powerful, but there’s vulnerability and depth to her character.

The secondary characters were also well-written and I understood their motivations and fears. I loved Minya, Ruby, and Sparrow. Minya is witty and vengeful (rightfully so). Ruby is your typical teenager.

Strange The Dreamer was my first Laini Taylor book. I’ve heard so much about how beautiful her writing is and I can attest to this. The writing was beautiful and fantastical. It was descriptive, magical and alluring. I found myself underlining certain parts because I really enjoyed the writing.

On par with a high fantasy novel, the world building was intricate and very detailed. Laini Taylor dedicated so much of the writing to the world-building. Sometimes, it felt overwhelming, but it was still amazing nonetheless. There were some unanswered questions about the gods and Weep, but I think Laini may be saving this for the sequel.

While I loved Strange The Dreamer and the world-building, the pacing was slow. At times I became impatient with how slow the plot was moving because I was excited about what would happen next and anxiously waiting for the next development. The ending/climax felt rushed. Without giving away any spoilers, I understand why the ending took place the way it did. Unfortunately, I had to read the last 3 chapters a few times to fully understand what had transpired because it happened so fast.

Despite the rushed ending and slow pacing, I loved this book. It’s one of my favorite reads of the year and if you’re in the mood for a high fantasy novel with intricate world-building and characters’ journeys, you’ll enjoy this.


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