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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
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

RTC.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer by Laini Tayor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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?

I honestly still don’t know what to rate this, so I’m going with 3.5 stars.

Wow, so it took me nearly two months to finish this book. Here’s the thing. The writing quite literally slays, and so does the characterization. My struggle was this: Half the time, I was sitting there in awe, thinking ‘This is the best book EVER WRITTEN’ ahhh. The other half? It felt like wading through mud. Sparkly, very very pretty mud, but mud nonetheless. There would be pages and pages of descriptions – and while they were mind blowing, I was dyyinggg for the story to start.

So just a heads up – it takes about half way or maybe even more for anything to even start happening. The pace didn’t pick up until like 80%.

My recommendation? If you’re a writer (or aspiring writer) – this is a must read. For sure. But be prepared going into it. I think I’ve highlighted half the book because of how pretty and raw the sentences were. It was poetic at times and short and raw at others. Such an interesting combination I feel like I’ve learned a ton and I owe Laini a great deal for that.

Lazlo Strange is easily one of the most tender and relatable characters in YA lit. He was precious down to the bone, and I swear I don’t think anyone could read about him and not fall in love. From the very first page, too. He sucks you in quick. His fascination of ‘Weep’ becomes the reader’s fascination of weep. It’s impossible not to feel Lazlo’s emotions.

As far as the other characters – same deal. They all felt real. I loved Sarai even though she didn’t have a huge personality. Her abilities are super dark but super cool and I was totally rooting for her. I also liked to see the interaction with the other… ‘gods’ or whatever they were. I love how they each had distinguishable personalities. What I didn’t love? Their POV talking about next to nothing.

Anyway, like I said, the pacing is extremely slow and I think the characters are the entire reason I stuck around. If it hadn’t been for them, I would have just picked it up occasionally to get some writing inspiration.

The world building was also phenomenally done, (albeit weird at times with the metal thing). But cool. Okay, does anyone remember watching ‘The Little Princess’ as a kid? That movie was what spurred my obsession with Indian Folklore. I would chain watch that movie over and over again because of the blue goddess love story and ahhhh this book brought back memories of that and of other stories I used to love. Ugh see? This is my issue. I would have loved this book so much more -perhaps even cried over it- if the pacing had been better.

So here I sit with mixed feelings. So much greatness. So much brilliance. And yet it took me months to get through it.

Take what you will from that!

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

I am so honored to be hosting a giveaway for one of the most highly anticipated reads of 2017! Check out below to see exclusive content, videos introducing the characters and the world, and an awesome giveaway! I hope you guys enjoy the post-make sure to follow the link to enter our two week giveaway ending on 5/10. Good luck! 🙂 <3

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

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?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Dreams are crazy things; Most tend to be obscure, unearthly images that leave you baffled upon waking. Or, you know, you simply forget the moment you wake. The star(s) of my dreams tend to be random instances from years ago, drawing upon old relationships that have long since been terminated and I have no desire to rekindle-old friendships where it ended badly, yet you have no clue what you did wrong. I dream about old best friends so much it’s unsettling. I tend to let dead horses lie, so why do these old friends pop in my head so  much? Is that a saying? I probably phrased it wrong. My point is-dreams are odd and they come from your subconscious out of absolutely nowhere…and leave you a bit disturbed after, no matter how realistic they may seem. And then there are those dreams where you are in a totally normal-ish situation, yet in a totally unexpected, ODD, creepy place. Those are my most common dreams-these dreams? I’m more than happy to leave behind.  

But I think dreams more often refer to what you want out of your life, what you wish and pine for-what you work so hard for. And I’ll admit, I’ve had plenty of dreams-Too many to count. But, until recently, they haven’t come to fruition. 

Just last month my biggest dream (after being married to my high school sweetheart) came true-I had a little baby girl and she is literally the light of my life. My husband and I are over the moon. And it’s crazy…because this was my dream-not his. He always agreed to my dream, but he dragged his feet-but come last July, he finally agreed and we were so happy to begin trying…except, you know…we got pregnant literally the first try. 

I was shocked, elated. There are no words for the amount of happiness I felt. But I was equally terrified to tell my husband-after all, it was literally the first attempt and I couldn’t be sure how he’d take the news. Turns out? He was beyond words ecstatic-we stayed up all night talking about it. He guessed it was a girl, I guessed a boy. Wouldn’t you know it, he was right. 

So here we are, 10 months later-and it’s not nearly as terrifying as I had imagined it would be (9 months is a looooong time to fret about being a bad mother). She sleeps through the night, eats great, and is one of the strongest babies ever-she lifted her head right after being born! And she has a beautiful, full head of brown hair. Did I mention that literally all I do is brag about her? Yeah. Well, I imagine that won’t end any time soon! 

My dream came true….but there are so many more now. I think that’s how dreams work. My dreams kept being fulfilled (husband, house…now baby), yet I always want more. Now I dream of our next baby (a sister or brother) and  everything I plan to do for our current baby girl. Nothing will ever be good enough for our girl-and God help the boy(s) that tries to win her heart-Dad will have NO part of that. 

My dreams may not be in line with everyone else’s, nor would I say they are conventional for this day and age where career comes before self…but that’s me and it has always been me-I refuse to change. I have everything I’ve ever dreamed for-and more.

What are your dreams? What do you dream about? Are they odd, crazy, weird….do they make you wonder where in the world they came from? Or, have any of your real life dreams come true? Sound off below in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

 

ONCE UPON A DREAM: Keep the nightmares at bay with this dreamy prize pack! (Re-tweet and follow to enter giveaway! here )

One (1) winner receives:

  • copy of Strange the Dreamer
  • sleep-mask and aromatherapy pillow sleep mist
  • and a luna moth enamel pin to watch over your dreams!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Little, Brown & Co.

 

Visit the Official Site

Follow @TheNovl on Twitter and Instagram

Follow @LainiTaylor on Twitter

Hashtag #StrangetheDreamer

 

Check out a sneak peek here:

Read the Prologue on EW

Read Chapter 1 on Mashable

Read an Excerpt on TheNovl

Bonus Content!

Which Godspawn are you? Take the quiz!

Download a variety of quote-art here.

 

About the Author

Laini Taylor is a New York Times bestselling author and a National Book Award finalist. She is the author of the global sensation the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, andDreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion e-novella, Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the highly acclaimed Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

 

 

So….is Strange the Dreamer on your MUST READ list for 2017?? Or perhaps you’ve already read it (and hopefully loved it). Share below! I know I cannot WAIT to try this one out-I’d love to hear your thoughts on Strange!

 

“I partnered with Little, Brown to share this giveaway.”

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