Series- Strange the Dreamer #1
Genre- Young Adult, Fantasy
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?
My Review- I have never been so thrilled and thoroughly enchanted at the same time as being torn apart and destroyed and devastated by a book this way.
Strange the Dreamer begins with a death, the death of a blue girl who fell from the sky. A Goddess. Then moves to Lazlo Strange, an orphan boy raised strictly and almost abusively by monks. But he is wild within his imagination and feeds off the magical stories of a senile and grumpy monk about a city known as Weep. It is both a real place and a place that, over time, has been cut off from the world and, while not forgotten, has become a fantasy, a fairytale in the minds of people. Eventually, those who believe in the place and all the majestic stories that come with it are scorned and laughed at. Only Lazlo doesn't care what others think about it or think about him, he is entirely selfless and kind and in love with a world of fairies and gods and dragons and mysteries he searches the answers for. He is, after all, a dreamer.
And then, one day, they are visited by citizens of Weep which have become little more than a fable after many, many years and they are searching for scholars and people with great talents to help them with a problem within Weep. Somehow, through acts of desperation, Lazlo finds himself on a great journey to the place that kept his dreams alive since childhood. And once there he dreams of a blue-skinned, beautiful girl whose existence ties in to Weep and its histories intricately. And that brings us to the stunningly brave and strong blue-skinned girl called Sarai. Quite possibly one of my favourite heroines, rivalling my love of Feyre from ACoTaR easily. She is understanding, forgiving, and brimming with emotions. She is mature and yet naive and innocent. She is full of as much love as she has the capacity to hate and above all these things, she can look at her enemies with a depth of empathy and understanding. Sarai, is beautifully written and I loved her POV as much as Lazlo's.
The writing, the words and the descriptions in Strange the Dreamer is just overwhelmingly beautiful. It conjured up vivid images in my head of the world, the city of Weep and all the magical places we visit along the way. I could see and feel everything. The book is 'wordy' but it is poetic, necessary. Laini Taylor's descriptions are tangible!
The style of the storytelling consumes you until the characters emotions become yours and not just the hero or heroine's, but all of them. Because in this book both hero and villain are flawed, the moral of good people being capable of bad deeds and vice versa are strong throughout. And the ending, perhaps on the cusp of our characters changing their morals and viewpoints, was heartwrenching.
Lazlo and Sarai and Laini Taylor have turned me into an emotional wreck with this book and I fully intend, once I have recovered a little, to read the second book and hope to be wrecked that little bit more.