Thursday, 17 January 2019

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Publication date: March 28th 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 536

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?

I've finally done it - I've caught up with the rest of the reading world and finally picked this one up off my shelves.
This book wasn't quite what I expected. I'm not entirely certain what I expected, but it wasn't this. Don't take that the wrong way, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was a curious book that left me following, bewildered, in its wake as it spun out the story for me.

I will admit that I struggled to get into it. It wasn't until I hit the halfway point that I started actively wanting to pick this up and find out what happened. Before that I was mostly reading it out of habit and idle curiosity -I wasn't really gripped by or engaging with the stories and the characters. I think a lot of that is because this book takes its time. It's such a curious world that it needs that room to breathe and expand and thoroughly immerse the reader before the story itself can get underway.

It's a curious and strange story. One that doesn't allow itself to become limited, and I adored the dreams explored, and the conversations that unfurled within the dreams. 

Once the story gains momentum I found it incredibly hard to put it down, and raced through the pages trying to work out what would happen next. It's curious and wonderful and heart breaking, and whilst I could see that ending coming from some way away, it didn't make it any less powerful. It's left me desperate to start the second book, and I'm very glad that I waited until both books were out before making a start.

If you enjoyed Laini's previous tales then you'll love this. It's filled with a rare kind of magic not often seen in stories.

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