Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Posted 18th April 2018 by Tizzy Brown in Book Reviews / 🗨0 Comments

 

Strange the Dreamer flat lay by Tizzy BrownTitle: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Edition: UK Hardcover
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 
Release date: March 28th 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
No.pages: 536
 

 

 

Synopsis

Strange the Dreamer book cover by Laini TaylorThe 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.

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?

 

My Review

Star Rating:  5 star rating

 

N.B: The only spoilers that this review contains are related to the romance, not the main plot.

If you’ve read any of Laini Taylor’s other novels, you will know what a master storyteller she is. Her vivid imagery is simply delicious and the beauty of her prose is summed up by how Lazlo Strange describes the Unseen language, “like calligraphy, if calligraphy were written in honey.”

In Strange the Dreamer, Taylor has created yet another unique and mesmerising fantasy world that I didn’t really want to leave. It is a rich and colourful world filled with mythical creatures, ornate buildings and fascinating customs. Some reviewers have commented that the story is too slow for them, but I really like the pacing of the novel. Taylor takes time to focus on world-building so the reader can drink in all the magical details, with mystery and intrigue slowly building to a dramatic finale.

The characters are complex and many-layered. Some hide their insecurities behind a mask, some have done terrible things for understandable reasons and all of them have a history that explains how they became as they are. Taylor constantly challenges the reader’s perception of right and wrong and blurs the lines between things that appear to be opposites, like good and evil, hero and villain. We start to wonder whose side we should be on and which characters we should be rooting for.

I really identified with both the main characters, Lazlo and Sarai. Lazlo is probably someone that most book lovers can relate to. He is a daydreamer with a passion for knowledge and a love of libraries. He is an idealist with a vivid imagination, big dreams and a thirst for adventure, but he was born into the wrong social position and is downtrodden and overlooked by almost everyone. Yet, they shouldn’t underestimate him.

Sarai is Lazlo’s opposite in some ways, as while he has been longing for adventure and fantasy, she has lived a surreal and dramatic life and longs for the ordinary. She has spent most of her life in hiding and knows that people would be afraid of her if they knew who she is or what she can do. They are similar in that they both want to be understood and they can each see the true nature of the other, instead of judging like everyone else.

While I am not usually that interested in romance subplots, I adored the relationship between Lazlo and Sarai. They are ‘star-crossed lovers’, but not of the one-dimensional insta-love variety. Instead of becoming infatuated by Lazlo’s appearance, Sarai falls in love with his mind and recognises that there is more to him than meets the eye. Normally I find myself scanning over romantic parts in books, but I was hooked. Taylor doesn’t need to include racy sex scenes, she has a wonderful way of making the simplest of gestures-like hand-holding- into something intimate and sensuous.

Strange the Dreamer explores the nature of human emotions such as love, hate, fear and envy through the themes of war, power play and forbidden romance. At its heart, it’s about knowing yourself, following your dreams and daring to believe in what everyone else dismisses as impossible. It’s about seeing the beauty in the unorthodox; in the people that are called ‘strange’ or labelled as ‘monsters’. It’s about the difficult choice between fighting for what you believe in and staying loyal to those you love.

I would recommend Strange the Dreamer to almost every bookworm, but especially to those that love fantasy novels filled with whimsical language. If you prefer action-packed books with little description, then this may not be for you. The book also covers some adult topics and includes violence (rape, the murder of infants) which may be a trigger for some.

But if you enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, you will almost certainly love this. As you can tell, I have fallen head over heels in love with this book. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Muse of Nightmares, and immerse myself in this captivating world once again.

 

Favourite Quotes

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.” 

***

“And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.” 

***

“He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.” 

 

Before you go… 

Have you read Strange the Dreamer? What did you think?

 

Tags: , , , ,

🗨 Leave a Comment

Divider

Review of the Maze Runner Series, Plus Discussion of Author Behaviour

Review of the Maze Runner Series, Plus Discussion of Author Behaviour

  I recently finished reading The Kill Order, which is the prequel to James Dashner’s successful dystopian series which all started with The Maze Runner. I read the first three books last year but still haven’t gotten around to reviewing the 2nd and 3rd.  I’ve decided to combine my reviews into one post. I feel that most people know the series well by now anyway, so I see no point in going into too much detail.     An Important Note I feel like it would be remiss of me not to mention the current allegations of sexual harassment aimed […]

Posted 24th February 2018 in: Book Reviews
Tagged: , ,
🗨2 Comments
Continue Reading »

Blog Tour: The Longing and the Lack by C M Spivey with review and giveaway

Blog Tour: The Longing and the Lack by C M Spivey with review and giveaway

Today I’m hosting the next spot on the tour for The Longing and the Lack (The Unliving #1) , a New Adult Paranormal novel by C.M. Spivey, which is due to be released on the 19th September. Keep reading to see the synopsis, read my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win the grand prize!   About the Book “Gothic curses, deadly love affairs, and vengeful ghosts combine to make this paranormal mystery a compelling page-turner.” — Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin. Lucinda Hightower is no stranger to death. Since she was a child, Lucinda has […]

Continue Reading »

Blog Tour: Fate of the Stars by Arwen Paris with review and giveaway!

Blog Tour: Fate of the Stars by Arwen Paris with review and giveaway!

Hope you’re all having a relaxing Saturday. To kick off this weekend, I’m taking part in the blog tour for Fate of the Stars, a YA science fiction novel by Arwen Paris which was released on September 1st. Keep reading to see the synopsis, read my review and enter the giveaway for the chance to win an Apple iPad mini 4! About the Book When the fate of the world rests upon you… Allison Delaney wants to spend her senior year healing from the loss of her father, to leave the shadows of his death and her junior year break-down behind. […]

Continue Reading »

Blog Tour: ReWired by S.R. Johannes with review and giveaway!

Blog Tour: ReWired by S.R. Johannes with review and giveaway!

  Today I’m excited to be taking part in the blog tour for the YA cyber thriller ReWired by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which was published on August 27th. ReWired offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s Heist Society meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens. Keep reading to discover the synopsis, read my review and enter the giveaway for the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!   About the Book   Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s […]

Continue Reading »

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

  Title: The Maze Runner Author: James Dashner Publisher: Chicken House Release date: June 2014 for my edition (originally released Oct 2009) Genre: YA Dystopian No.pages: 371   Synopsis     When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to […]

Continue Reading »

Book Review: Hippy Chick by Louise Harwood

Book Review: Hippy Chick by Louise Harwood

Title: Hippy Chick Author: Louise Harwood Publisher: Pan Publishing Release date: July 2007 Genre:  Adult contemporary romance No.pages: 357 My rating:  Synopsis Come on in, the water’s lovely . . . Ibiza: paradise for the clubbers, hedonists and sun-seekers, but for Honey Ballantyne it is the only home she has ever known. With the responsibility of running a hotel on her shoulders, and two hippy-dippy parents whose idea of a hard day’s work is a yoga class without their clothes on, Honey feels trapped. When her first love, Edouard, returns to the island from London and truths about her parents start to unravel, Honey […]

Posted 3rd July 2017 in: Book Reviews
Tagged: ,
🗨0 Comments
Continue Reading »

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) Author: Maggie Stiefvater Publisher: Scholastic Release date: September 2012 Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy No.pages: 409 Synopsis Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her. His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that […]

Continue Reading »

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3) Author: Veronica Roth Publisher: HarperCollins  Release date: October 22nd 2013 Genre: YA Dystopian No.pages: 526 Synopsis The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered […]

Posted 21st December 2015 in: Book Reviews
Tagged: , , ,
🗨0 Comments
Continue Reading »

Book Review: Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Book Review: Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Title: Meritropolis Author: JoelOhman Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Release date: September 8th 2014. Genre: YA Dystopian No.pages: 226 Synopsis The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment—to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond. But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn’t […]

Posted 21st December 2015 in: Book Reviews
Tagged: ,
🗨0 Comments
Continue Reading »