Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Date: March 2017
Buy the Book • Goodreads
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.
As a huge fan of both Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and her Faeries of Dreamdark series (which WAY more people need to read!), Strange the Dreamer was one of my most looked-forward to books of 2017.
I was so instantly attached to Lazlo Strange that I felt almost more invested at the start of the book than I was later when the limelight was shared with other characters. Lazlo’s story arc is a common one in literature and film, but popular. An orphan who doesn’t know where he comes from, he spends his days as a librarian researching the lost city of Weep, a personal obsession of his. Unexpectedly, a delegation of warriors comes one day from the lost city seeking help and Lazlo answers the call to adventure that lies outside of his books, finding a way to insinuate himself with those chosen to make the journey to Weep. As expected Laini Taylor’s prose is spellbinding and dreamy, but never in a way that drowns out the actual story and action taking place.
Once they arrive the dark history of Weep is slowly unveiled, one involving a war between men and gods and a small group of children still hiding in fear. Here the line between hero and villain gets a blurred, some characters being both depending on the perspective. There is Eril-Fane, the savior of Weep who carries the guilt of having murdered innocent children when fighting to defeat the gods and free his city. There is the godspawn Minya, her psyche forever warped by one tragic day and her inability to save all those she wanted to, while she rules absolutely and cruelly over those few she did. And then there are the magical dreamtime meetings between Lazlo and the godspawn Sarai, dreaming of a brighter world and each other.
“I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And …” His voice grew bashful. Only in a dream could he be so bold and speak such words. “I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”
Occasionally the middle portion of story could feel a bit slow, but the last hundred pages starting flying as mysteries are hinted at and revealed in quick order all leading to a finale that felt both exhilarating and tragic.
“He nodded to Minya and the space where his legend was gathering up words grew larger.
Because this story was not over yet.”
I finished this book knowing the Lazo Strange I loved for most of this book, the naive librarian with a dream of a lost city, was gone. Someone new had arisen from within him and I cannot wait for Muse of Nightmares to be released and see what he does next.