Sometimes a moment is so remarkable that it carves out a space in time and spins there, while the world rushes on around it. This was one such.” Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The last time I was left awe struck by how beautifully a book was written was when I read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murkaami. Strange The Dreamer a YA fantasy novel is now within that list of books that blew me away.
The story focuses on the librarian Lazlo Strange a war orphan who likes to let his dreams run wild. One of his main fascinations in life has been learning about the mysterious city of Weep known to him as “The Unseen City” and what exactly became of this once great city 200 years ago. He has been fascinated by the city since he was 5 years old and it’s what has kept him going in life. The reason why it’s called Weep is because it’s true name was erased from the peoples minds but something inside of Lazlo’s mind tells him that knows it’s true name and has seen this city. Lazlo has big dreams but he’s essentially seen as a nobody, just a librarian lost in his books which is why people call him “Strange The Dreamer”. But like a lot of bold dreams Lazlo gets the perfect opportunity in the form of the Godslayer aka Eril Fane and a band of warriors to finally make his way to the city that’s been his life’s work. The warriors require scholars and experts who hold a wide range of different skills. The purposeof why is unknown but the answers awaits in Weep.
In addition to this, the books other protagonist is Sarai. I won’t give much away but she’s been hidden away with her family in a palace which is blocking the sun. They grow tired and restless of their daily routine, however all of this is about to change in the blink of an eye.
I absolutely loved the plot in this book. The whole mystery around Weep and whether it exists, what’s become of it and why exactly the Godslayer needs the help of Lazlo and others. Moreover, Laini Taylor’s writing blew me away. Every word she wrote in this book was sweet like honey, It was just so beautiful. She made the world,characters and their own personal stories seem so real and interesting. Every single thing she described was so detailed that if I closed my eyes I could see everything! It made me devour this book like chicken wings lool I just didn’t want to put it down at all.
In addition to this, the characters were amazing! Lazlo Strange for me was such a likable character. The way Laini Taylor describes him and his love for books makes you impossible to dislike him. I also loved his love for books, I think all book lovers will instantly like him.
“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.”
His likability makes you root for him and his journey in discovering the mysteries of Weep. He spent so much time learning about the city that when he finally gets to go there I felt elated for him. I mean the guy literally has his own book focused on all of his research about the city.
Furthermore, the other protagonist Sarai was so interesting, I absolutely loved her backstory and how we learn about who her and her family really are and how they came to have the gifts they possess. Learning why exactly they were stuck like prisoners in the palace was actually really sad. I also found the character of Minya who is also trapped in the palace so chilling. She really created an intense and chilly atmosphere.
However, although there are so many positives in this book I do feel the old arch enemy “instalove” struck again. I’m not saying I didn’t like Sarai and Lazlo’s love story, but it did feel like towards that so much time ended up being focused on their love story rather than what was happening in the world.
Overall, a fantastic and beautifully written book that drove my imagination wild. The world building and characters in this book made me eat up this book. Although, instalove made it stumble towards the end but it won’t stop me from reading the next book!