Book review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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SYNOPSIS: 

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.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I seriously feel like someone just resurrected me from the dead badly.

I wonder if anyone with bulky muscular arms is willing to hug me right now, I want to be compressed back to death because I’ve decided to abandon humanity to become an orb of energy and light instead and just live photogenically until The Muse of Nightmares is out!!

“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”

How much money do you think I should invest in the search for immortality for Laini Taylor to keep her as a story teller forever?

Because gosh, I love her writing and the way she tells her stories so much that my heart actually threatens to break out of my collarbone.

I swear it’s like you’re reading and you can just see yourself sipping champagne on a balcony overlooking Paris at sunset in a silk robe with roses all around and a fountain in the background. Her writing is the equivalent of honey dripping off a spoon over a toasted bagel and I don’t know how else to describe it but there’s just something incredibly soothing about it. Like a memory foam mattress with underfloor heating and you just want to sink in. It’s the feeling of wanting to float around as collections of rose petals like the nymphs in narnia. It’s your eyelashes stuck together from crying, and lana songs playing and you just want to claw your way out of your body into a warm slipstream and just let the current wash you away.

And you really have no idea how I wish I could tattoo that feeling and carry it around with me forever.

So. What is Strange the Dreamer about?

It’s a story of a city that lost its name and was lost to the world, of blue-skinned goddesses who appear in the dreams of men and moths who infiltrate their unconsciousness.

Of ghosts bound to a child’s will and orphans who inherited tales of hate, of dragonfly wings purchased in dreams and noses literally broken by fairy tales, of heroes with untold stories or rather stories stolen by imposter heroes.

Of dreamsmiths who “turn their nightmares into fireflies and catch them in a jar”, of godslayers and great men who are also good men (and the repercussions of being both)

And of beginning that are very literally endings and of a character who “couldn’t have belonged at the library more truly if he were a book himself”.

It’s a story I wish I could purchase another heart entirely just to love it with.

The characters:

I love how you can see a little fragment of yourself in Laini Taylor’s characters’ eyes. Especially when these characters have been fragmented in so many pieces so many times in so many different ways and you can recognize parts of yourself in their anger and guilt and bitterness and loneliness and desire to be more than this (where this translates to everything). In the way they’re constantly trying to stitch themselves back together and wondering if it will ever be the same Original image, if the pieces will ever fit again.

And if there’s anything I like more than flawed characters and characters you can relate to, it’s flawed characters that you can relate to.

✨ Lazlo Strange 

I can’t remember if I had a personality before loving Lazlo Strange but at this point it’s quite irrelevant.

Lazlo Strange makes me want to reinvent myself as the concept of kindness and stop glorifying bitterness and saltiness and start promoting the idea of being nice to people “simply because they needed it” (and not necessarily because theydeserve it)

He is the kind of person that is so deeply kind and compassionate that you would listen to them speak and it’s like you’re watering your heart and soul garden. And I just can’t believe the world isn’t catered to making him feel good and content, because let me tell you: being kind and gentle and vulnerable when you have been exposed to less than zero modeling of that behavior is not easy and Lazlo Strange does it every day and honestly?? He can use my body as a canoe and row himself across the toxic waste, he deserves only the softest cashmere.

Let’s not also forget that he’s a reader but most importantly he’s a book lover. And I’m sure in an alternate universe, he would pick me up at 3am and have night adventures with me in a desolate library or he and I could be sharing harry potter celebration boxes harmoniously and that would have been perfect.

“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.”

He’s also an introvert. The kind of introvert who’s constantly trying to astral project into a library with soft candle lightning and the warm sound of silence. Who gets what it’s like to be a lizard person in human skin trying too hard to fit into society but not understanding the appropriate level of eye contact nor how to talk about his passions (books) in a moderate amount.

So hey @universe, when is a certain lazlo strange going to manifest in my life?? [tapping my watch passive aggressively]

✨ Sarai 

“It was no small thing to shed a lifetime of nonbeing and suddenly be seen.”

Sarai is the blue-skinned goddess who infiltrates dreams and turns them into nightmares. Except she’s also just a child who’s inherited a story of hate and revenge, like being rendered a solid object with a parental control lock on it.

Which just goes to show you that is so fucked up how much value is placed on family in the sense of blood, when you have at least six genetic twins somewhere around the world but nobody tries to make you feel bad because you don’t love them just because you’re made of the same stuff (or in sarai’s case, because you wouldn’t carry on their petty revenge agenda).

And you know what? I just want to build a spotless and aesthetically pleasing floating citadel with her and go live in it and be sexy goddesses together and do nothing but insert god’s fear in the hearts of all men.

Sarai x Lazlo

I think my biggest shift in perspective has been going from being aggressively anti-instalove to not giving a fragmented fuck that technically this was insta-love. I just really love these two dorks so much together and I love that they’re willing to be unattractive in front of each other. I’m trash for this warm kind of intimacy, tbh.

✨ Thyon Nero 

I have a lot of inner conflict regarding thyon because on one hand, I hate him with a casanovian passion, and on the other, I just want to stroke his hair gently because honestly sometimes you just lose track of where “trying to protect yourself” ends and “selfishness” begins. Sometimes you succumb to jealousy and self-pity and bitterness and you lose track of yourself. Sometimes your defense mechanism kicks in and you hurt before you get hurt.

I feel bad for Thyon but seriously. If he hurts my child (Lazlo), the deal’s off the table.

✨ Minya 

How cool is it to get to hang out with ghosts?? (says me who in case she’s ever had a paranormal experience, she’ll probably immediately have a heart attack and die)

Except in this scenario, Minya gets said ghost to hang out with her. And by hanging out, I don’t mean teaming up to scare the rude old lady that lives across the street. I mean it in the sense that she catches them like one would catch butterflies in a net and keeps them to do her binding and cede to her every whim.

Which is seven shades of gruesome but I refuse to believe for one second that Minya is just that. Not when I feel like my heart has just been torn into a million pieces and scattered across the desert to be picked at by vultures whenever I think about her and “they were all i could carry, they were all i could carry”.

I really just hope everyone sees through her thick armor of bullshit and glimpse the confused and hurt and lonely child inside who’s only ever wanted to protect her family.

Oh and on a side note, that ending was just pure cruelty, Laini Taylor. Pure fucking cruelty.

Overall: this was awesome and I’d 250% recommend it because everyone needs to read this book!!

7 thoughts on “Book review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor”

  1. “I just want to build a spotless and aesthetically pleasing floating citadel with her and go live in it and be sexy goddesses together and do nothing but insert god’s fear in the hearts of all men” RELATABLE AF

    I need to reread this soon

    (also let’s not forget my fav lesbians Calixte and Tzara who honestly deserve their own fucking book or at least a novella)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMFG I LOVE THIS BOOK WITH MY EXCUSE OF A HEART AND SOUL. I just love it. I TOTALLY ADORE THE WRITING STYLE and you described it beautifully and LAZLO is precious and I HATE MINYA FOR HURTING ALL MY BABIES but I GET her at the same time. I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR MUSE OF NIGHTMARES I CANNOT EVEN. Lovely review, IT WAS WRITTEN SO WELL, I AM IN AWE.

    p.s sorry for so much caps locks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aaah I 150% relate to your capitalized passion about this book BECAUSE J LOVE IT SO MUCH I CANT EVEN ADEQUATELY PUT IT INTO FUCKING WORDS. LAZLO OWNS ME HONESTLY HES SO PRECIOUS AND KIND AND EVERYTHING NICE AND JUST GOD I WOULD DIE FOR HIM. MINYA IS ABSOLUTELY NUTS BUT I ALSO CANT HELP SYMPATHIZING WITH HER SHES A CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dude, the writing is magic. I literally cannot wait for the next book I’m going to combust waiting for it!!!!!!!!!!
      also thank u dhfjdjfjdjf you’re so lovely!!

      Like

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