Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.
First published: October 2018
This book is a sequel – read my review of the first book here.
I was relatively late to the party with reading Strange the Dreamer, as I only got around to it at the end of last year, while the hype had been going on for most of that same year already. That didn’t lessen my excitement about the beautiful book, though, as you can read in my review here. I remember being a little disappointed when I found out that Strange wasn’t to be a standalone novel, and that a sequel was forthcoming. That’s because I was afraid things were going to be dragged out, which is what happens in series sometimes. Nevertheless, I’ve been hugely excited about Muse of Nightmares ever since its release date was announced.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about reading a book. I actually danced around with glee when I picked up the book from my shelf and was about to dive in (my boyfriend can vouch for me – he laughed his head off). Of course, I had very high expectations, since Strange was beyond anything I’d ever read before. Dreams and nightmares are kind of my thing, and combining that with quiet, calm Lazlo as the main character and the inexplicably beautiful writing style, Strange just pushed all the right buttons for me. So Muse had to be just as amazing, right?
Now, let’s get one thing straight right now: I loved Muse of Nightmares. It was a wonderful story and had so many amazing elements to it, like this quote, for example, which struck a chord with me:
Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s eye yourself.
But. To me, it wasn’t as magical as Strange the Dreamer (even though there was way more magic in it). What I loved most about Strange was its calmness; even when very exciting things were going on, it always radiated a sense of calm. This was already let go of at the end of Strange, though, when things all of a sudden started to get pretty epic, so it’s not that strange (ha) that this calmness wasn’t present in Muse either.
We pick up right where we left off at the end of Strange, and while Muse isn’t extremely action-packed, it’s much more so than the first book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I was on the edge of my seat for most of the novel. I was truly invested, and I was very happy with all the answers we finally got to the many questions Strange posed. There’s a lot of new information, but everything gets revealed in very natural ways.
All this new information did take away from the calmness, though, and where Strange lulls you to sleep, Muse shakes you awake. One isn’t better than the other (in fact, I think the combination is pretty perfect), but I know which one I preferred just that little bit more. Perhaps it’s because Lazlo, while still important, isn’t the main focus of this book. There are other characters whose stories need to be told and while I loved them too, I did miss Lazlo a bit. To be more precise: I missed the old Lazlo. Although the new Lazlo is pretty badass and I loved him too.
Muse of Nightmares is a wonderful finale to a magnificent duology. I couldn’t tell you anything that’s wrong with it. I loved all of the characters, even the two new ones that at first I was a bit wary about (why introduce new characters when we’ve already got so many others we need answers about?), and the ending was truly satisfying. It’s just that where Strange soothed my soul, Muse was “just” an amazing novel I really loved.