Strange the Dreamer

A book review of “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor; published March, 2017.

Strange the Dreamer

Jasmine Washington

“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?” 

-Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

   Dreaming is a beautiful thing when you think about it – it’s something we’ve all done in our own unique way. And we’ve all met a dreamer who saw the world as this beautiful object waiting for them. Over Thanksgiving Break, I read what’ll probably be one of my favorite books of all time (though it’s impossible to choose).

 

 

“The library owns its own mind. When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.” 

-Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer 

   Strange the Dreamer follows two perspectives, the main one being a young man named Lazlo Strange. An orphan in his regular realm, Lazlo fell in love with books at a very young age and became his world’s librarian along with another older man. He loved books so much that they were a part of his soul – the type of thing he couldn’t imagine taking a breath without. His crooked nose, which is so often mentioned, actually happened because a book fell on his face. He is a dreamer, and he’s been obsessed with Weep, a forgotten, fallen city, for hundreds of years. I was immediately engulfed in the book from the way the author talks about Lazlo playing as a mighty Weep soldier against his own imagination – even though he could never hurt a fly.

Lazlo Strange

   One day, Lazlo finds a white bird while he is on the roof, and it simply vanishes! He’s extremely shocked, and when he looks outside of the window, the royals are coming to the library. Riding with the royal family is Thyron Nero – a prince Lazlo secretly helped turn things into gold and make the kingdom rich. What the royal family also brings with them is who they call the godslayer, a warrior from Weep who basically saved the town. 

   Lazlo Strange, who has been obsessed with Weep and all of its wonders since he could read, begs his way onto the voyage with other capable people (unlike him) from their world to Weep in order to find a way to bring this certain thing down. Though the humans don’t know, it holds the survivors of an orphanage in which all the other godspawn children were killed.   

 This brings the second perspective – Sarai (also known as The Muse of Nightmares) is a godspawn in the skies, and she is able to go into people’s dreams and either give them nightmares or good dreams. On the plus side, she has been able to see humans (unlike her other godspawn family), but unfortunately, no one can ever see her. She sits in the shadows and despises herself for the power she was given and who her mother was – one of the worst gods during Weep’s worst time. This all changes when she plans to surprise and torture her human father, but in his bed is another person. She goes into this mysterious man’s dreams and finds him. She is fascinated by his face instantly, and while she is staring into his beautiful eyes, he sees her.

   Lazlo is unable to get the blue girl (the color all godspawn are) out of his mind. As Thryon drives himself crazy trying to figure out what type of metal this certain tower is, Lazlo continues loving his dreams because he gets to see her – a woman he mistook for her mother. Through dreams and the beautiful mind of Lazlo Strange, the two slowly start to fall in love. Even with Lazlo’s learning of the harsh truth around him – the disease of hate, as the author calls it, and with Sarai facing backlash from her close relationship with a human by another godspawn, these two still manage to create beautiful dreams for each other and the lives they’ve lived.

 

“‘Dream up something wild and improbable,’” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.’ ‘Beautiful and full of monsters?’ All the best stories are.” 

-Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

   As you follow through the dreams of Lazlo, and even the nightmares of Sarai, this is definitely a book you won’t want to end. The ending of this novel ultimately caught me in so many different ways, hundreds of plot twists combining themselves like a knitted blanket. A terribly cold blanket at that! With the number of descriptions, the battle for what’s wrong and what’s right, and the act of admitting the past, Strange the Dreamer deals with heartache and the imaginative mind in such a beautiful way.

   I’m not the only one who thinks so. When it comes to Goodread’s review of the book, it has an overall rating of 4.3 stars – the majority of readers considering it a 5/5 star novel. The Barnes and Noble website rates Strange the Dreamer as 4.4 stars for an overall rating. Amazon has an overall rating of 4.6/5 stars, 77% of customers rating the book 5/5 stars. On about every place books can be purchased, Strange the Dreamer is given a rating higher than 4 stars.

   If you’re ever in the mood to feel simply nostalgic and like an adult all at the same time – I definitely suggest this book to you. Do I personally consider it a romance novel? Not at all. It’s more than just Lazlo and Sarai’s story – it’s stories of the godslayer and all the other godspawn with Sarai. It’s a story about hatred and its disease over who has different skin when in reality (minus a few powers), we’re all the same. It’s a book that makes you question which side is truly good – if there even is one. Dealing with such dark topics in the tone of a dreamer who wants nothing more than to fulfill his childhood fantasies and a godspawn who wishes things in her life could change, it’s a beautiful book nonetheless. And trust me, by the time the book is reaching its end, you’ll be dying for the sequel like I am.

Image Sources: 

Featured Image; Image One: AudioBooks

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