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.
First published: 2017
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was the first book I finished in 2018 and if that says anything about the reading year I’m going to have, it’s going to be an amazing one. This book, you guys. I love it so much. I haven’t been captivated by a book this way in a very long time – I even considered skipping a night’s sleep to keep reading, and that never happens.
I’d been looking forward to reading Strange the Dreamer for quite some time, because if there’s anything I love it’s stories about dreams and nightmares. They fascinate me tremendously, perhaps especially since I myself have a lot of nightmares and tend to sleepwalk as well. That’s one of the reasons why I chose to write my own story about dreams. I’ve been planning and outlining that for a while now and because I didn’t want to let myself be influenced by other dream stories too much, I kept putting off reading Strange the Dreamer.
I think another reason why I was postponing reading it was because I was scared it wouldn’t live up to my expectations – but luckily that didn’t turn out to be the case! I knew hardly anything about the story before starting it. That was a deliberate choice and I’m glad I made it. It only enhanced all the mystery and mystique already present in the story.
It did take me a few chapters to really get into the story, but then once it grabbed me it wouldn’t let me go again. The writing flows beautifully and I immediately liked Lazlo as a protagonist. He felt very different from the usual protagonists, although the orphan thing has of course been done countless times. Yet his mellow, quiet character and his dreamer-like qualities were refreshing to me. I would probably have been satisfied just following him around on his day to day life in the library.
The first time Weep is mentioned in the story, I was immediately intrigued. I think it was a combination of Lazlo’s own fascination and the way it was written about – there was a kind of reverence to the tone as soon as Weep was mentioned. It just made me so excited to find out more about it and I felt connected to Lazlo in his excitement.
The sheer imagination behind the story and the world is extraordinary to me, as well. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s partly because of the plot and the originality of it, but I think the mystique and writing style comes back into play here as well. The only word I can come up with to describe it is ‘otherworldly’. I was simply so in awe of it all and I felt truly inspired.
There’s only one thing I didn’t adore about the book and that is the ending. Those of you who’ve read it will probably understand what I mean when I say it was a bit too epic for me. I liked the calmness of the story – even when what was going on was very exciting – but that was let go near the end, it felt like.
I’m extremely curious to find out what happens in The Muse of Nightmares, the sequel to this book, although I have to admit I was kind of disappointed to find out this isn’t a standalone. I cannot wait to read it, though! Hopefully a release date will be announced soon…