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?
I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.
Questions that have been plaguing my mind whilst thinking about this review:
- How do you review a book that’s literally impossible to review?
- How do you review a book where literally everything you say can be considered a spoiler and can ruin the incredible journey that the book takes you on?
- HOW DO YOU WRITE A REVIEW? LIKE IN GENERAL?
So yeah, be prepared for this “review” to be a bunch of filler that probably won’t be informing or helpful at all 💁🏻 aka every review I’ve ever written.
Trigger Warnings: Rape (there’s nothing descriptive or any scenes depicting it, but part of the history is that Gods take humans back without their consent and control their minds.)
Strange the Dreamer is one of the most creative and unique Fantasies I’ve read. I can not even think a book that comes close to it except Laini Taylor’s other book series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It defies all tropes and cliches and the tropes it does use makes you think that they’re brand new and have never been done before. This book heavily focuses on the dynamics of Gods, Monsters and Humans which is used a lot, but Laini Taylor manages to twist it into something that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.
“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill? Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”
Our main character, Lazlo, is probably one of my new favourite main characters. It’s not often male characters are the protagonists in YA fantasy and when they are they can definitely suffer from a lot not so great cliches i.e the asshole who gets away with it because he’s hot. Lazlo broke a lot of stereotypes and didn’t suffer from any kind of toxic masculinity. He’s incredibly precious. And a librarian. Without giving away TOO MUCH he was abandoned as a child and never really grew up experiencing love, but he was always so incredibly kind. It would have been easy for him to be jaded ect. like a lot of male characters, but he was so soft and pure and I wanted to keep him safe the entire time.
I don’t even know if I should talk about the other characters, but since it’s kind of in the blurb I’ll go into it a little. Sarai, the blue skinned goddess, is so incredibly interesting. She’s such a layered and complex character and I loved her just as much as I loved Lazlo. You don’t need to worry about her only existing as a love interest. She is just as important as Lazlo. Her gift is unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever seen before and I have no idea how Laini Taylor managed to make it work so well, but she did!
The world building and magic system proves that Laini Taylor is some kind of creative (and evil) genius. Every new detail that came to light completely blew my mind. The world is so dreamlike, but so intricate and detailed that it feels like it’s actually a real part of history.
One thing I didn’t realise when I first started reading this was that it’s part of a duology. I’m not sure why I thought it was a standalone? Oops. So there is a lot of foundation being laid down. This book took me a month to read. Yep. This is more on me than Laini Taylor, but I just thought I should mention it. Strange the Dreamer is definitely a slow burn read, if you’re like me and get distracted easily be prepared for this book to take A LOT out of you. I couldn’t read more than a few chapters at a time. That’s not to say this is a bad thing – this is just a me thing. I don’t think this book would have worked if Laini Taylor didn’t go into as much detail as she did. There’s also a MASSIVE cliffhanger.
I do recommend possibly reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone first because Laini Taylor has such an unique writing style it might help you get used to it. Strange the Dreamer is one of the most magical books I’ve read. It has an amazing cast of characters and incredible beautiful writing. If you love Fantasy then I feel like it’s going to be hard to be disappointed by this.
“And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.”