BOOK REVIEW | STRANGE THE DREAMER, BY LAINI TAYLOR

Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: December 27, 2015

Genres: YA Contemporary

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ to review.

Star rating:★☆☆☆☆

Summary: 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.

MIGHTYAPE | PAPERPLUS | WHITCOULLS

 i have many things to say about this book, but at the same time i’m finding it rather difficult to put into words. i read strange the dreamer twice. the first time, i dnfed it around 50% (idk if others would count this as a first read seeing as i didn’t finish it, but i do). the second time, i made it right to the end. i don’t think i’ve read a book that i both liked and hated at the same time.

my favourite thing about this book was the beautiful writing style. it was just so poetic. everything flowed nicely and there was loads of vivid imagery. the world building was very well presented, but i often felt a little confused. it was as if i was reading the story from a distance, rather than being immersed in it.

the first time i read strange the dreamer, i was so bored and confused. nearly nothing happened. i found the characters really bland and boring. i primarily dnfed it because of the confusion, but i think that’s more because i read it while on a car trip and therefore not solely focusing on the story.

the second time i read it was much better. there was still some confusion, but not nearly as much as the first time around. i still felt detached from the story and the characters. again, i wanted to dnf and read something different, but i was determined to finish the book. i thought maybe my dislike was slump related, so i picked up the darkest minds series (which i absolutely loved) and realised it was the book itself. i’ve seen many reviews say that the second half is much better than the first, but it didn’t pick up very much at all.

as for the characters, i wanted to like lazlo, i really did. he was a main character but it didn’t feel that way. as a reader, i feel as if i didn’t learn very much about him which made it hard to connect to him.

i found the other group of characters very random. their storyline didn’t seem to fit or flow with the rest of the book. at first, i was extremely confused as to why we were being dumped into this other storyline with no warning or build up. i found their powers(/abilities?) quite interesting.

overall, if i didn’t have such a beautiful arc i don’t think i would’ve finished strange the dreamer. putting it in the simplest words possible: strange the dreamer is beautifully boring. i really enjoyed being able to talk with sarah about how i felt reading this book as it was so hard to put into words. based on this reading experience, i don’t think i’ll read the sequel, nor am i likely to pick up taylor’s daughter of smoke and bone trilogy.

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  • I can defs see where you are coming from Chels (this nickname has stuck now hehe). The beginning was so slow and the book was super confusing and even though Laini has so much description, she doesn’t describe what I need such as the setting and the way this city has been built because I couldn’t imagine that at all. However, I did overall enjoy it and gave it four stars! Thanks for sharing and I can see where you are coming from!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    • i don’t mind nicknames lmao. yeah the worldbuilding lacked a lot and felt like i had to supply everything for myself. i’m glad you enjoyed it! it’s quite interesting hearing people’s different opinions on this book.