Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the DreamerGenre: Fantasy
Date Published: March 28 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Pages: 544
Buy: Amazon – Book Depository
Australia: Angus & RobertsonBooktopiaHachette Australia

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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?

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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?

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!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Like  nightmares, dreams were insidious things, and didn’t like being locked away.

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.”




Have you read Strange the Dreamer or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day.

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41 thoughts on “Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

  1. Well, you were wondering just how to write a review at the beginning of this post, and by the end of it you certainly convinced me to read that one as soon as I can. It sounds so unique and I love these quotes you’ve included. Great review, Lauren! 🙂


    I am currently reading this and only about 4 chapters in but I am sucked in!! I had to re-read the prologue again because Laini’s writing is so lyrical and different. But now that I’m into the store, I have dived in. I am loving Strange and he definitely doesn’t have that manly stereotype we usually see. Awesome review!


  3. I’ve been seeing this around a lot and thought it was just another boring YA book everyone is hyping up, but you make it sound super intriguing! I also think you did a wonderful job reviewing it without giving too much away. x


  4. You just made me want to read this even more, Lauren! I keep hearing about how unique and magical it is and I already know I adore Laini’s writing from having read her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’m definitely going to have to get around to this one as soon as I get the chance. Great review as always! 😊♥


  5. This book was such a hard one to review I think I just ended up gushing to much instead of talking plot XD Lazlo is such a precious bean and I want to put him in my pocket and keep him, I loved that he wasn’t masculine and macho but a real kind hearted amazing human with fantastical dreams!

    DOSAB definitly gets you into Laini’s style of writing so I’m glad I had already read it before this, I love Strange a lot more though AND have you see the title for the second book? The Muse of Nightmares omg I’m scared already bahaha So glad you loved this even if it was a slow burn, great review Lauren!


    1. Haha, right!!! I didn’t want to divulge too much of the plot because it would have taken away from the reading experience but I wanted to express how much I loved it at the same time. I’m gonna go read your review now 😀 Lazlo was so so so precious.

      Yeah, same!! I think I enjoyed this more too. Oh my god yes, I SAW THAT. Ahh, I’m so excited (but terrified), haha. Thanks, Casey ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I stayed away from reviews for that exact reason with books like this I LOVE going in blind and think everyone should do the same XD He is such a precious sweetie man I just want to hug him and Sarai!


  6. Gasp! I really need Strange the Dreamer now. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy so.. fingers crossed I can get my hands on a copy soon!


  7. Massive cliffhangers stress me out but it’s Laini Taylor so I can’t put off reading it haha. I love that we get to explore the dynamic between Gods, Monsters and Humans and that the characters defy the typical tropes and cliches. It wasn’t until I ordered the book that I realised that it was part of a duology.


  8. Great review for this book Lauren, and I’m really glad to see you enjoyed this one as well.
    I completely agree with everything you said and yes it is so hard to write a review for a book like this which is such an adventure you can’t really describe it too much without giving away major plot points, I think it’s something you just have to read yourself to fully experience. 🙂
    I definitely get what you mean when you said this was a slow burn read, it took me a while to get through it as well just because of the way Laini Taylor writes I think, there’s so much going on it can take a while to absorb it all.
    Again great review, and oh after the way this one ended I cannot wait for book two! 😀 ❤


    1. Thanks so much, Beth ♥

      It’s definitely hard trying to work out to give enough information, but not ruin people’s journey?

      Yes, exactly. Everything was so wonderfully intricate it took a lot out of me. I love Laini’s writing though so that definitely helped 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! 😀 ❤
        Yeah there are books I felt like that with. Most times I end up having to put a spoiler warning at the beginning because I'm not sure I manage it all the time.
        Same actually, reading this book has made me want to go back and re-read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series! 🙂


  9. AHHHH *INTERNALLY SCREAMING* I’m so excited for this book I had to skim read your review ❤ But overall, I know how hard it is to not spoil good things about a book so thank you for that 😀


  10. You might’ve doubted yourself at the beginning, but you definitely pulled off this review. You got me interested in reading this book ASAP. As a matter of fact, I’m adding it to my TBR as we speak 🙂


  11. Great review! This definitely sounded like a difficult one to review without being spoilery, I at least feel like I know a bit more on what it’s about now, I’ve been confused for ages haha! I will definitely have to read her other series first, I’ve been meaning to for so long but have never got round to it. Adding them both to my wishlist now!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ahhh I love the sound of this, Lauren! I think you did a great job of reviewing what sounds like a pretty off the wall book – I feel ya though, I always find fantasy/magical books much harder to review because they’re so complex and often so open to interpretation! The cover is dreamy (no pun intended 😂) too! PS. LOVE THE NEW DESIGN 👌🔥😍


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