Sunday, April 9, 2017

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Hachette via NetGalley

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

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 to 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?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.
Review by Nara

Laini Taylor is one of those absolute gems that consistently release extremely high quality novels. Admittedly, I have quite a narrow pool of auto-buy authors, mostly because I'm picky about what books that I buy (limited shelf space, you know the feel). Laini Taylor is one of those authors whose books I will certainly not hesitate to grab for that precious shelf space.

Strange the Dreamer took what high expectations I had for Laini Taylor and lifted them even higher. I love her writing; it's just absolutely gorgeous. I could easily see myself reading this book time and time again, coming back to the spectacularly magical world that she has created. If anyone has read Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, Strange the Dreamer reminded me of that novel, and if you enjoyed that book I would certainly recommend giving Strange a go as well (although to be honest, I'd recommend that you read Strange regardless, because it is magnificent).

Such fantastic ideas emerge from Laini Taylor's brain. I thought it would be difficult to top Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but Strange the Dreamer is certainly at least on par (please don't ask me to choose between them, it's too hard).

I hesitate to mention anything about the actual substance of the novel, because it's one of those novels where it's completely fine to go in blind (as I did) and just enjoy what you're reading. I knew nothing about the characters or the world, and was still spellbound from page one.

Honestly, Strange the Dreamer was basically a flawless novel. Actually, I take that back, there is a flaw, and that's the fact that the book ended on a monstrous cliffhanger and now we have to wait for the sequel. I'm pretty sure everyone who read the book is now curled up on the floor willing themselves to hibernate to wait out the winter until The Muse of Nightmares is released.

(Also sidenote: I bought the first edition hardback. It's actually so beautiful with its blue stained pages and Laini's moth illustrations (and signature). Would 100% recommend you get it, or the Aussie paperback edition which also has these bonus features, if you're a fan.)

(And yes, I realise all the above sounds more like the words of a raving fangirl than a proper review, but I'm totally okay with that haha)

Panacea Candidate
Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5