Strange the Dreamer was one of the first books I received via my workplace as an advanced copy – so there was lots of excitement from me upon getting my hands on this absolutely stunning book!
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?
Honestly, I can’t tell you what I expected of this book going into it. I, sadly, hadn’t read a novel by Laini Taylor before this – I do now have Daughter of Smoke and Bone sat on my bookshelf, ready to be read!
Essentially, this book lives up to its cover; in that, it is astoundingly beautiful. I cannot convey just how beautiful the world Laini Taylor has created is. The intricate, delicate descriptions make this whole world come to life. I know some people have said that perhaps it’s slightly overdone and can then have a detrimental effect on the pacing, but it didn’t have that effect on me. I just got this picture forming, becoming clearer and clearer, and was happy to get lost in Weep. I got lost in this world, and I was so, so happy to do so.
Shall we talk about Lazlo? Our titular character Lazlo Strange, Strange the Dreamer. What a dreamer he is. A soft-spoken, gentle giant of a librarian. Lazlo dreams of Weep, a place once wiped from everyone’s mind, reduced to nothing more than mere myth and legend. He is every part the dreamer and easily became my favourite point of view – the way he viewed the world was incredibly innocent, and there was a certain beauty to that in itself. My preference may stem from his POV being used the most – but his observant and intuitive nature made it easy for the reader to receive large amounts of information without feeling overloaded – which definitely could’ve happened! I just loved Lazlo, I also wanted to give him a big hug.
The same, however, could definitely be said when we read from Sarai’s POV. I adored Sarai and she definitely underwent the best character development. She gave a much needed dual perspective on the events unfolding in the book, giving valuable insight on how vastly different instances can be perceived – it’s a smart ploy in order for us to seek to do this in our real life, understand perspective, understand, empathise.
Sarai is an exceptional character – though she may not think so herself. She learned and developed with the reader, and I really enjoyed watching her grow from a tired, accepting, side character in her own life – to becoming a strong, independent heroine.
Some may argue that the romance is the reason for Sarai’s change, and therefore the story falls into the stereotypical trope and some of the enjoyment is lost through that. Whilst I can see the basis of the argument, I firmly believe that if you swapped out said love interest, and replaced him with an encouraging best friend type, the result would’ve been the same.
The romance never took away from the development of either character, and I must say, it produced some of my favourite scenes from the book! I was definitely on board that ship – it was lovely, they were lovely.
In my opinion, I think, well actually, I just hope that the sequel will explore the many side characters we are introduced to more – we were given glimpses of them in sparse chapters told from their POV. These brief insights really helped build both the character and the story. I really would like to see more of their POV’s interspersed throughout the next book, especially; Thyon Nero, Calixte, and Minya. Minya predominately is the one character I want to see explored more. I believe her to be one of the most complex characters, after all that she’s seen and been through.
Although lacking in action, with only a few scene to really see you through, the pacing is a tad on the slow side. However, this is definitely a book about the journey, and it was such a wondrous journey. And I really hope you all enjoy is as much as I did!