Another day, another book review –and this time, something a little bit out of my contemporary/young adult/thriller comfort zone. Last year, I booked to go to an event at Waterstones Liverpool to meet Laini Taylor, the other of the esteemed novel Strange the Dreamer and listen to her speak. Unfortunately, I was at work and couldn’t get out for the meet and greet so a lovely fellow blogger got my copy of the book signed for me. However, I am me, and I have about 50 books on my TBR pile at home so the book was pushed to the sidelines and left to wallow.
When I was asked to be a part of the Strange the Dreamer paperback release tour, I didn’t hesitate for a second, in spite of my incredibly hectic work schedule and other impending deadlines. It did however, mean I had to read the book and my goodness me, I am so glad that I did. It’s fair to say that Strange the Dreamer is a special book and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. It reminded me of the reasons why I read and the books that I myself want to write. I’ve realised that actually, the fantasy genre is something I should explore more and I’ll definitely be looking out for books just like this one in the future.
Prior to buying the book, I had heard a lot about the story and was intrigued – there was quite a buzz about the book blogging community and rightly so. The story of Lazlo Strange, an orphan brought up by Monks is a fantastical and exciting one- the Monks limit Lazlo’s life, prohibited from doing all the things he had previously. He becomes obsessed with the mythical city of Weep, a city that has become lost and detached from the rest of the world that he lives in. Everyone else appears to have forgotten all about it, but Lazlo Strange is different and unfortunately, this is the start of where his problems lie. When Lazlo realises that the city he has been dreaming of for all these years actually DOES exist, and the name of it had just been stolen from everyone’s minds, he spends his teenage years researching the city further and trying with all his might to find out as much about it as humanely possible. It is then that he decides to go on a journey to find it and fulfil his own dream.
On the other side of all this rests Sarai, a blue skinned Goddess (granted, she’s a half goddess, but her human blood means nothing). She lives in Weep, hiding in the citadel where the Gods live. She is the one responsible for giving the city of Weep nightmares. Naturally, a love story develops but arguably one of the most true and beautiful ones that I’ve read in a long time. It is definitely essential to the plot progression and they help each other to grow in a way that other characters wouldn’t have allowed them.
The language used throughout the story is beautiful and I was often reminded of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, a series we all know is my favourite book series of all time. It baffles me that an actual real-life human being could come up with a story as beautifully magical as this one and the language really is a tier above anything I’ve read recently. Lazlo and Serai, the two main characters, are beautiful characters – full of hope – and they are backed by a whole range of mystical characters, ranging from gods, goddesses to ghosts and moths. Yes, moths.
This year will be the year of the release of Laini’s sequel to Strange the Dreamer, The Muse of Nightmares and it’s fair to say that I am absolutely bouncing in my seat at the thought of getting my hands on it in the coming months.
If I could give the book more than 5 out of 5 stars, I would.
An absolute dream (see what I did there?)