Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
By Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
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?
This was a buddy read with Debby @Always Booking. She seems to be the only human being capable of convincing me to share my reading time. We decided we would explore this title a little differently, so we came up with 5 key questions for each other regarding Strange the Dreamer. The plan is to share tour responses and then follow with a brief recap of my overall experience. You can find Debby’s personal take here.
*I have chosen to hide Debby’s potential spoilers. You can highlight to reveal them if you feel like taking a risk. But I do not allow those dirty little things on my page 😉
Debby’s Answers to My Questions:
No the conclusion wasn’t satisfying .. again spoilers. I wanted that crazy little witch to die. Of course she didn’t, it had to be the other one L How horrible?!?!?!?! All the action happened at the end and it ended on a sort of cliffhanger I guess. I don’t know if I’ll read the next book I just feel really frustrated toward the whole experience.
My Answers to Debby’s Questions:
1. Which character was your favorite and why?
I would be tempted, but would not because I have learned my lesson on those impulsive cover buys. But it would draw me in enough to read the synopsis. And that was effective in hooking me. So mission accomplished with cover!
My Final Thoughts..
Laini Taylor’s writing is in a category of its own. She has a way with taking the simplest sentence or description and turning it into something beautiful. Strange the Dreamer was no different in terms of writing. This series will amass a following, I have no doubts.
However, I did encounter multiple personal challenges during my time with Strange the Dreamer. A lot of this was centered around just how much time is committed to setting a stage that we are never quite allowed to fully explore. It was like placing a cake on the table but only being able to view it. As a fan of fantasy I do not take world building lightly, but eventually there has to be a story that adequately accompanies the setting.
For the amount of characters and sub-characters introduced, there was a surprising lack of development or growth with the majority of them. While the concept (see blurb – I am not recapping for this) is teeming with promise, there were too many marks missed for my tastes. At 544 pages, this really felt really long. Again, a too much design and too little actual evolution. I would read 100 or so pages only to realize very little had happened.
I am giving a nice nod to the author for avoiding all of the typical tropes/clichés I was honestly expecting in this one. I was surprised at how original every aspect of this felt, even at its slow pace. I also found the ending to be more agreeable than Debby. So extra points for that.
I think that if you go into this expecting more of an introduction or slower read, then you are more apt to find a true appreciation for all that it has to offer. For myself, it read as a very long prologue that never made it to those initial first chapters. Maybe this will be easier recommended to die-hard, established fans of Taylor’s work that do not mind the wait.