It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?
This was so. good. I had high expectations going into this because I loved Laini Taylor’s previous Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (which everyone should also read), and Strange the Dreamer did not disappoint at all. I’m pretty much at the stage where I will read anything she writes, because she is just that good.
Strange the Dreamer is the story of:
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.
Sigh, isn’t that so beautiful? I really don’t want to give any more information than that because this is a story best experienced when you go in blind. Taylor has such a beautiful style of prose that really wraps you up in the story’s magic. I have this really bad habit of spoiling things for myself; my curiosity often gets the best of me and I tend to flip to the end of a book just to find out what happens even before I’m halfway through the story. I realized about three chapters in that I didn’t want to do that with Strange the Dreamer. The setting and all of the characters are so nuanced and layered that I felt (for once) that I would be doing a huge disservice to myself and the story if I were to interrupt the story progression by skipping to the end.
Some authors struggle with finding the balance between showing and telling, but Taylor gets it just right with her atmospheric descriptions that give you the freedom to fill in the rest with your own imagination. The setting may be magical, but the feelings of amazement it evokes are all too human. Through the world and the characters that she has created, Taylor weaves a tale of hatred and forgiveness, hope and persistence, and a love that crosses the boundaries of dreams and reality. You feel Lazlo’s wonder, Sarai’s hope, Eril-Fane’s regret, Azareen’s grief, and Minya’s rage.
In its most skeletal form, the story is not a new one. It’s the classic trope of “orphan boy of unknown origins goes on the magical adventure of a lifetime and discovers that he himself is so much more than he ever imagined.” Taylor, however, brings that story to life within a world of gods and goddesses, magic, and dreams. This isn’t a story that will appeal to everyone – it’s incredibly imaginative, at times confusing, and if you’re looking for an easy read, this probably won’t be it. But, if you’re willing to let yourself and get drawn into the mysteries of Weep and its tragic history, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Never give up on your dreams. Sometimes, they might just lead you somewhere you never could’ve imagined.