Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - review

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton (28th March 2017)

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? (Publishers' blurb)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Laini Taylor is my favourite YA author, so reading this book could have gone either way. How could anything live up to the rich and devastating world of Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Somehow, I loved this book just as much and it left the same lasting impression on me. Days after I finished reading, I'm still flooded with emotions whenever I think about it.

One of my favourite things about this book is the writing style. The descriptions are consistently beautiful and evocative, whether dealing with a dream landscape or the mysterious city of Weep. Laini also infuses her writing with witty dialogue and humour, which was a refreshing contrast to the lyrical descriptions.

Another strength of this book is the characters. I can only think of Philip Pullman and JK Rowling who create characters that I care so deeply about and that are so multifaceted. The shifting third person perspective between Sarai and Lazlo worked really well and by the end I couldn't decide which character I responded to more. I appreciated the secondary characters, especially the warrior leader Eril Fane and Lazlo's antagonist Thyon Nero. (I even love their names...)

The plotting in this book is also really on point. Laini Taylor is a master of writing books that don't resemble anyone else's, and I loved trying to work out where this was going.

This book will give you a full emotional workout and suck you in to a dazzling world. It's one of the best YA books I've ever read. 

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