Laini Taylor: Strange The Dreamer

Strange The Dreamer Cover

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?


Strange the Dreamer is a new fantasy series by author Laini Taylor, more popularly known for her Daughters of Smoke and Bone series. Strange the Dreamer is about Lazlo Strange, a young boy who was orphaned into the protection of monks where his imagination and mischievousness ran wild. As he grew older and took on the role of Librarian, Lazlo was able to fulfill his need to learn as much as possible about the mysterious city Weep and why it’s name became lost to him fifteen years ago. When a convoy of Tizerkane from Weep come to his city, Lazlo cannot help but beg to go with them on their adventure to defeat whatever threatens Weep and bars it from the rest of the world.

I’ve never read anything by Laini Taylor before but, with Strange the Dreamer receiving a lot of hype over the past few months, I became intrigued. And, with a title like that, I didn’t think it literally portrayed what the novel was about: a young man called Lazlo Strange who dreamed…

Strange the Dreamer was a fascinating novel with a unique plot-line, unique characters, and a brilliant writing style that was full of vivid imagery. I found the plot-line to be fast-paced, intelligent, and original without any boring, slow scenes that leave your mind wandering. I was pulled in from the first page and spat back out right at the end with a cliffhanger that was unexpected and left my reeling. Only once before have I finished a book without thinking it was about to end, believing there to be far more to the story to tell and hoping I would get it all in one big, juicy novel. Boy, was I wrong!

The characters were entirely unique to the story-line and so full of emotion and humanity. Lazlo reminded me of every young child with a vivid imagination and a fascination with history. His obsession with Weep really connected with me and my fondness for reading about the past and finding out new and interesting facts. I enjoyed that this fascination continued into his adult life and that he didn’t let anyone deter him from his dreams. Lazlo is a big developer throughout this novel, finding the answers to two of the biggest questions of his life: who is Lazlo Strange, and what happened to Weep? Both questions progress him to where he is at the end of the novel and his part within the adventure, though seemingly minuscule, helps him to find his place in the world. Similarly, Sarai – who helps to provide the missing puzzle pieces of Weep through her narrative strand – also develops as a person as she begins to understand the plight that her people have put the citizens of Weep through. It is thanks to Lazlo that she gains more humanity and compassion for those she does not know in a bid to gain the life that she wants as opposed to the one forced upon her by those long passed.

Taylor’s writing is exquisite to read, with vivid metaphors and setting imagery. I was drawn into the world of Weep as well as the world of dreams that both Sarai and Lazlo inhabit, painting a picture that was right before my eyes and left know room for error. It was clear what kind of scene she was trying to depict and what these scenes meant in the grand scheme of things. Taylor is able to string together a novel that seems confusing and hard to define what path it is taking and, only when you have reached that path, do you begin to understand exactly where she is coming from. The narratives flow smoothly with brilliant continuity and context and draws you in from the get go.

I am upset that the novel ended so abruptly and at such a crucial point within the novel where change is and was imminent. I was immersed so deeply within the novel that I felt like I had been snapped back into existence from a world of dreams where magic, myths and legend come true. I seriously cannot wait for the next novel and to see where and how Lazlo’s life changes in the future.

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