When I saw that Laini Taylor had a new book out, I was really excited! I enjoyed her other series, although I’ll admit that I liked the beginning of the series more. So I downloaded this new book on Audible and now that I’m finished, I’m going to tell you my thoughts. My really positive, gush-y thoughts!
Spoiler Free Review
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: Little, Brown Books, 2017
(from GR) 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.
I can’t remember the last time I read anything so poetically beautiful. Not as poetically beautiful as this, anyway. That’s just Laini Taylor’s writing. It’s true – she could write this book using way less words. Lots of people have mentioned this, and from what I’ve heard, this seems to be the book’s most deciding factor in terms of whether you enjoy it or not. But luckily for me, I love writing like this. Yes, this could have meant the difference between a 250 page book and a 500 page book, but I loved the writing style. I love being immersed in a book through beautiful language, and feeling like I could step into this world and touch it. I can’t fault the writing, because this is a style that I love.
I really enjoyed learning about the characters in this book. Lazlo really struck my heart – my little, bookish heart fell for him in the first few pages when we hear about his unlucky childhood and his loneliness. I love a good librarian too, and his search for books and his search for Weep made him all the more endearing to me. As the other characters in the story appear, Taylor goes into great detail and really fleshes these characters out (yes, I’m not talking about any characters directly now, because I’m determined to keep this as spoiler free as possible!). By the end of the novel I felt like I not only knew this characters in the current time period, but knew them from years before, and could see exactly why they were acting this way due to past experiences. Yes, there are eventually a lot of characters, but I felt like I knew them all well – which hardly ever happens for me in a lot of books.
The city of Weep is such an exciting part of the book. A wondrous, mysterious place. I enjoyed the ‘search for the city’ aspect of the story because by the time it was truly revealed, I was so curious about it. I loved hearing about its history and the terrors it contained, and I particularly liked Lazlo’s dream-Weep, explored so vividly using Taylor’s beautiful writing.
The only thing about this book that I had a *few* issues with was parts of the plot. In general, I really enjoyed this story. I loved the idea of the story, the search for the lost city, learning about the cities inhabitants and history. I just felt – as did some other readers – that some of the story was drawn out a little too much. At first it felt like it was building suspense to keep the action drawn out, but after a while my feelings began to sink and I just wanted to see what happened so I could begin to feel that momentum again. Some have credited that slowness to the writing style, but I’m not so sure. There were parts of the story that I liked being deliberately slow, particularly when characters are learning about each other, but other parts it did feel like a drag. It also meant that when it reached the end, it felt rushed – but probably because everything else had appeared on the page at a slower rate.
I also want to add that I really enjoyed listening to this via Audible. The narration was good, although I did speed it up a little bit.
My Rating: 4.5 stars!
I’m super pleased that I picked up this book and would really recommend it! It wouldn’t be my first choice for readers who enjoy fast paced, increased action stories – the real appeal of this book is the slow unfolding of the story and the luxurious writing. If you’re not a fan of those, this might not be the book to pick up next. But the characters and the plot of the story are real winners!
Have you read this yet? What were your thoughts?! I’m hoping that Laini Taylor doesn’t wait too long to give us the next installment!