BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


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 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?

Welcome to Weep.


He had a trio of fears that sat in his gut like swallowed teeth, and when he was too quiet with his own thoughts, they’d grind together to gnaw at him from within. This was the first: that he would never see further proof of magic.
The second: that he would never find out what had happened in Weep.
The third: that he would always be as alone as he was now.

And so begins one of the…well…strangest, but most wonderful books I’ve ever read. And I’ll admit that it took me a while to decide to read this, mostly because I didn’t connect with this author’s other work for…reasons…but it never meant I didn’t enjoy her actual writing. Or that I didn’t LOVE the male lead and the idea of the romance she created. So when I saw this beauty coming out centered around an orphaned, young, lonely boy-Lazlo Strange-I couldn’t help but fall prey to my number one weakness by well-written authors-A young tortured male lead. Yes please.

They came to stand face-to-face-arm’s reach without reaching. The three strings that joined them wound them ever nearer. Hearts, lips, navels. Closer, still not touching. The air between them was a dead place, as though both of them were carrying their hopelessness before them, hoping for the other to dash it away. They held everything they had to say, every desperate thing, and they didn’t want to say any of it. They just wanted it to vanish-here, at least, in this place that was theirs.

Yeah yeah, we’ve done this song and dance before-I’m a masochistic psychopath who loves the tortured men. I do. It’s a blessing. It’s a curse. It’s virtually impossible not to fall for these guys and, yes, there are many of them…but that’s the best part of being a book slut-I have room in my heart for them all. And not one of them is treated as ‘less than’ or forgotten. Sure, I may move on right after this and fall for yet another tortured soul. Or a prince. Or a pirate. Or, even, a thief/gangster. I love them in all shapes and sizes 😉. But that doesn’t stop the fact that, when I think of my young men individually, my heart beats in a different way for each and every one of them.

“…None of us became monks to be nursemaids.”
To which the child Lazlo replied, with fire in his soul, “And none of us became children to be orphans.”

And now it’s Lazlo’s turn. I have chosen to bestow him with my obsession for the time being. He’s such a poor soul, yet so full of hope and wonder and whimsy-left behind like many orphans, he doesn’t even know his own name. I just…I loved him from the moment I met him. Kind, earnest, sweet-and his dreams lead him to the city that’s name was stolen from the world, only leaving the name Weep in its wake.

Lazlo wanted to go and find out. That was his dream, daring and magnificent: to go there, half across the world, and solve the mysteries for himself.
It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?

As I mentioned above, I may not have liked her other trilogy, but I so adore her writing. This book was no exception. Beautiful, alluring, addicting writing that I can’t help but to obsess over. I was in a weird mood where none of the books I had purchased to read were suiting my fancy-so I was like, hey, what about that book the publishers sent me RIGHT when Aubrey was born? I had been saving it for a rainy day-a day where I didn’t know what to read or why, because I knew it would be a book that needed full attention and an open mind-as many thick fantasy books do. So, for some reason, in my new home where chaos surrounded me, I found solace in this crazy, wildly imaginative novel-Imagine that. Even I wouldn’t have guessed this book would soothe my soul. But, alas, it was everything I never knew I wanted or needed.

Sarai understood Ruby’s hunger. She didn’t spy on such private moments anymore, but even the sight of a strong, bare arm crooked gently round a waist or shoulder could make her ache with the yearning to be held. To be one of a pair of bodies that knew that melting fusion. To reach and find. To be reached for and found. To belong to a mutual certainty.
To wake up holding hands.

And it’s not just Lazlo I’m obsessed with, which shocked me. But I adored Sarai, as well. And her ‘brothers/sisters’ that weren’t really sisters/brothers-namely, Sparrow, Ruby, and Feral. And, again, since I haven’t paid much attention with anything to do with this book or series, I had no idea really what this was about. Honestly. For one, I thought he went to Weep, like, alone? I thought it started much sooner in that world. And, frankly, I didn’t realize a lot of this was a ‘journey’ book, which I mostly despise. And, I guess the difference was that we had many POVs interwoven so beautifully, so seamlessly, that it didn’t matter, because we were always somewhere else, or unraveling mysteries with different characters.

And…okay….the bad. I really couldn’t handle the child slaughter. This isn’t something I was aware of and it really sickened me. I have a personal trigger now that not only centers around animals, but children/babies, as well. I don’t know what it says about me that it didn’t bother me before having a child, but there you have it, either way. I used to not care, but now I do. It makes we want to hurl, and I sometimes recede into a shell that borders on depression when I see or hear about something to do with this-and, I’ve noticed recently, this has been a recurring theme in a ton of my books lately-and this one centers heavily around it. I could hardly stand it.

I told myself that if I didn’t LOVE the end I would lower the rating-obviously that didn’t end up being the case, because the end was just…ahh my masochistic, peril-loving little heart. It burst with pride when I finished this. Subtle chaos is just the best chaos, ya know?

So, that was my bad thing-everything else was just so wonderful and addictive. I thought I’d hate the slow nature-I did not. I thought it would be too out of this world for me-It was not. And, I worried the story would just be a total let down-and, alas, it was not. I devoured this massive book as fast as I could with a teething baby/toddler/whatever that thing is, and I didn’t regret a moment (aside from when I couldn’t be reading).

The mysteries of Weep had been music to his blood for as long as he could remember. This time tomorrow, they would be mysteries no longer.
The end of wondering he thought, but not of wonder. That was just beginning. He was certain of it.

In the end, that wasn’t AT ALL what I was expecting. Talk about picking up a book and not knowing at all what it was about, truly. And the imagery-it was unreal. The imagination and creative flow it takes to make such vivid dreams and descriptions-it blew me away. I could taste what they were eating or drinking and I could see the layers upon layers it took to create each individual moment. It was jaw-dropping, if I’m being honest. But, this is what I’ll leave you with-I just COULD NOT not picture Glamora or live-action smurfs. LOL. I got over it, though, as you will, too. Now I must wait a month to see the fate of all my children-even that evil, manipulative little Minya. GRRR. But she does add that epic villain vibe, ya know?


What a wondrous, magical book.

Also, I am dead and dying. What a monstrous, evil, wonderful book. You stole my feels.


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  1. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    Thanks for the in-depth review. I’m on waitlist for this book. I’m a little scared of it because it’s so big. I’m glad you mostly liked it.
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…The Sunday Post #167My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Ahh you’re welcome!! I just loved it so much!! It’s large, but, for me, it went SO QUICK!!!! Hope you enjoy it! 😀

  2. T.H. Hernandez

    Sounds awesome!! This is one I haven’t heard of before now.
    T.H. Hernandez recently posted…Book Review + Giveaway – FRAGMENTS OF ASH (Modern Fairy Tales) by Katy RegneryMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Lol I have to wonder if you live under a rock!! It’s Laini Taylor haha Sooo even though she and I haven’t always agreed on her books, it’s hard to miss her in any every existing feed-but my recommendation stands for starting with this series! 🙂

  3. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    This is a book that I NEED to read soon. Sounds like you loved it!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Epic Reads Meet-up RecapMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      I think you’d love it!!! Based on what I see you read! 🙂 But perhaps not…I’ve been sorely wrong before lol

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    Laini Taylor is a beautiful reader. I really need to read this one – hopefully soon! I’m glad to see you really loved this one, and I hope you feel the same about the sequel.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Women’s Wellness Weekend: Adult Summer Camp ReviewMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Ahhh I hope so, too! Lazlo is an adorable little cinnamon roll!!

      And yes, I’ve never hated her writing, that’s for sure!

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