Genre: YA, Fantasy
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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 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.
What can I say about Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor? I should probably start off by making it known that this was my first ever Laini Taylor book. I’ve seen her DoSaB trilogy floating around the book community and even though the chatter was intriguing enough to convince me to buy the box set, I still haven’t gotten around to actually reading it. Still, that didn’t stop me from picking up Strange the Dreamer.
When the excerpt was released, for some reason I was a little disappointed by it. It was interesting, but a little meh compared to the hype surrounding it. But then when I started reading the ARC, I was immediately captured by Lazlo Strange, the librarian and main character, and connected with him on so many aspects but mostly his love of reading and all things books. Lazlo considers himself an outsider, losing himself in fairytales, stories about magic, and everything to do with the lost city of Weep. The mystery of Weep is unbelievably spell-binding; the idea that there’s a magical city – with the most beautifully written imagery – that just went *poof* one day.
Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful, and I was mildly surprised despite all of the comments about DoSaB. Each sentence was utterly mesmerising, creating beautiful imagery to perfectly pair with the unique world-building and characters. Ah, the characters. We meet Lazlo, the librarian. But later on in the story we also meet Sarai, a blue-skinned goddess and some of the story is from her perspective which I wasn’t expecting at all! Sarai quickly grew on me though.
At Laini’s London event, she spoke about the motivations behind the story including how she wanted to write a story set after incidents many fantasy stories usually focus on, such as a war. So, instead of the Gods being alive in this story, the is set years after the Godslayer had already defeated the Gods. Therefore, the story explores the aftermath of the destruction left behind by the Gods.We see how the citizens of Weep have been attempting to move on with their lives.
Now, let’s talk the ending. The story is quite long, being over 500 pages, and I feel like it could have been a little shorter. I was warned by several people that the ending would break me, and though I sort of guessed how it would end the further into the story I read, it was still heartbreaking to see it unfold. Laini did mention that she didn’t want the story to end with this epic fight scene, and even though it didn’t, it still managed to end with a bang.
“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”