Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $4.52 shipping
Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer (1)) Paperback – May 22, 2018
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Laini Taylor is so damn good and like no other."―Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom
"Laini Taylor set my imagination on fire so hard that it spontaneously combusted...This is the kind of story that paves dreams."― Roshani Chokshi, author of The Star Touched Queen
"[A] must-read YA!"― USA Today
"Part adventure novel, part romance and part exercise in epic myth-building, it's gorgeously written and full of surprises."―NPR
"[One of] our favorite books of the year!"― Popsugar
"An epic world of gods, moths and nightmares; a world where the dream chooses the dreamer."― Justine Magazine
"Weighty as a nightmare and as transportive as the finest of fantasy, Laini Taylor's new novel will leave readers with miracles on their minds."― Hypable
* "Gorgeously written in language simultaneously dark, lush, and enchanting, the book will leave readers eager for the next."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "...Characters are carefully, exquisitely crafted, the writing is achingly lovely, and the world is utterly real...This is a thing to be savored."―Booklist, starred review
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The male hero is a librarian turned secretary. He’s not physically attractive or muscular. He has a crooked nose, in fact, because it broke after a book fell on it from a library shelf. He’s been cast into a low socioeconomic class, so he’s poor and has no apparent economic prospects. His expertise is fairy tales. His passion is an area of learning that the scholars of his day consider dead. He’s selfless and service-oriented. He can’t help but show concern for others even if they don’t appreciate it or reciprocate. He’s utterly without ego, cooperating instead of competing. His greatest strengths are dreaming and loving. He doesn’t try to dominate any woman or man around him. He isn’t a professional killer, or in a profession that involves killing, or violence, nor is he driven to slay, or even prone to occasional, angry outbursts. He doesn’t drink or roughhouse, or think a great night out involves harassing women at bars. He isn’t trying to become wealthy through some impressive, high-flying career that might not actually accomplish much for the world, the way the novel’s Sisyphean alchemist is. Lazlo, in fact, tries to help another man become wealthy without expecting anything in return, specifically because he knows how much stress the pressure to “succeed” has produced in this acquaintance.
So you should like Lazlo, right? He’s a great guy. He works diligently to protect and advance the bank of scholarship which serves society and provides it with hope. If he’s poor, it’s because others created a class, put him in it, and are trying to keep him there. He’s ever helpful and polite, doesn’t beat anyone or get into fights, and never stabs anyone in the back.
The novel's heroine comes to love this man by entering his dreams. That is to say, she learns who he is on the inside, and discovers that his inner world is far more appealing than her outer one. That’s why their relationship grows into love before they ever physically touch.
Lazlo may be contrasted with the character of his lover’s father, a testosterone-filled warrior who fought bravely for his people, and who committed atrocities in doing so that caused him to be estranged from his own daughter. Outwardly, he appears strong, brave, noble, and heroic, if repressed and a tad rough around the edges. In reality, his past experiences have left him broken and ruined inside. He is a tormented shell of the man he might have been had he approached life in a different way.
This is healthy fare, then, for men thinking about who they are and what their values should be, and for women thinking about interacting with men and what makes for a good man. Wherever you may come down on these matters as a reader, there is plenty to consider, because in the end Lazlo is revealed as a complex person who demonstrates as much genuine heroism as any hero in literature.
Strange the Dreamer is categorized as a young adult novel, but it’s suitable for adults of any age. The lovers are Lazlo and Sarai. Lazlo is the main character, but it did not surprise me to learn that Laini Taylor originally envisioned a different main character for this book, and presumably that was Sarai. Sarai is the daughter of the Goddess of Despair and of a human man whom the goddess raped. The author stresses that one cannot learn about strangers by looking at them; Sarai has the gift of being able to look inside them, and it is this which drives the story, so I can see why Sarai would have made a compelling main character. Personally, I happen to love complex supernatural characters, so I am sure I would have liked that.
But I think Ms. Taylor had to shift the focus more to Lazlo, because some of the most entrancing and beautiful parts of the book take place inside his dreams, where Sarai is a visitor. So instead of focusing on the trials and tribulations of a supernatural being whose existence is altered when an unusual human appears, this is presented more as the story of a man’s gradual self-realization and personal growth.
I can also see why the author expanded the book, which she initially planned as a standalone novel, to a duology; having created a world so beautiful, one would want to allow one's readers to linger in it. That is, after all, one of the reasons why we sometimes choose to read an extended story when we could have watched a two-hour film or seen a television show.
I would advise you not to worry if it initially feels like you’re not following the story. Go with the flow as in a dream, and you'll be rewarded as the events and characters coalesce and the story becomes clearer. Then you won’t want to put the book down.
The novel has a certain Romeo and Juliet-esque quality in that the lovers become progressively divorced from their own societies as they grow closer to one another. There are strong messages about control and freedom; the more certain characters seek to control others, the more rapidly the social orders upon which their control depends erode. This leads to some satisfaction as certain selfish or dysfunctional characters get their comeuppances, but it produces a running tension generated by hatred on both sides which goes unresolved. There are clear messages about the futility of ongoing conflict, war, and hate, as contrasted with the transcendence (and sometimes the tragedy) of love. The author goes out of her way not to trivialize death, and characters do not die for entertainment in this novel. Death has consequences, and the consequences play a major role.
Naturally, dreams also play a major role: When societies collide, whose dreams control? Who dreams whom, and why, and how? This is a “Western society-meets-other society” fantasy, so as I was reading, it called to my mind the Adventures of Esplandián, the myth of El Dorado, and tales of the Fountain of Youth in which Europeans invented fairy tale creatures and fanciful places while pondering life beyond the horizon.
Initially, Lazlo is destined to be a monk, presumably within Christendom, but as he heads east he encounters a polytheistic world. The pantheon there is complicated. Deities have their ups and downs, and strengths and weaknesses. The eastern city is enmeshed in an ancient conflict which seems incapable of resolution. Its populations live in close proximity, but separately, and look upon one other with mutual hostility stemming from horrific events they experienced during early conquests. In this respect the fantasy has a clear basis in reality, providing food for thought and reflection. The neglected city that Lazlo is driven to see for himself has been stricken by the Goddess of Oblivion, who has devoured its name. Now that no one can remember the city's name, its people call it Weep. This resonates with me in the context of colliding cultures, where conquerors have often sought to erase indigenous societies and cast them into oblivion. Again, what happens to the dreams of the invaded?
My favorite quote from this novel encapsulates much of what it is ultimately about: “For what [are people] but the sum of all the scraps of their memor[ies] and experience[s]: a finite set of components with an infinite array of expressions[?]” In Strange the Dreamer, personalities are malleable, dreams are strange, strange is good, and the passions and obsessions that spring from our dreams are our destinies, not our choice.
This book is beautiful. It's like poetry for the novel/fantasy reader. I don't really like poetry, but that is what this is. Taylor writes will such magic and flair, it is impossible to imagine this anything but a magical place. Her use of vocabulary--Strange, Weep, Unseen, Godslayer, godspawn, vengeance--all her words carry such beautiful importance. It's truly a work of art, and I don't say that often. It isn't a book I could read in one sitting because you have to absorb it.
As for the plot... fascinating. She has such an imagination. Her characters have depth. There is all range of human emotions in one, from love to hate, despair to joy... And honestly, the cliff hanger ending is beautifully created, and terrible. So I'm desperate to see how it ends. And hopeful.
First half: 1.5 stars. Second half: 2.5 stars. Narrator: 4 stars (loved his voice but I kept zoning out)
Let me start off by saying that I'm surprised at how low I've rated this. I loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy. I loved Night of Cake and Puppets. So I was, while not completely interested in the plot of this story, excited to get started on another Laini Taylor read.
When I first started this, I couldn't get past page 60-ish. The pacing was so slow, for some reason I wasn't enjoying LT's flowery writing this go around, and the characters were all 'meh' as I was reading it. I hoped it was just the reading mood I was in at the time. Decided to grab this in audio book form from the library. I was still bored.
Now the audio book narrator was very good but his voice was so soothing that I would drift off or zone out and miss a few pages. I want a pleasant voice to listen to but also one that I'm able to pay attention to while I'm doing other things and not drift.
I was so confused because of how much I was missing but because I was so bored with what was going on I didn't want to go back or pick up the physical book to fill in what I missed. At the end of this book, I understood the gist of what was happening but none of the finer details.
So I'm putting this into the unhaul pile and I doubt, highly doubt, I'll pick up the next book.
Top international reviews
Strange the Dreamer is the story of Lazlo, a young man who was orphaned as a baby and raised by monks before he discovered the magic of the great library and trained to become a librarian. Lazlo is in part a little like every book worm you'll ever meet, he's obsessed with stories and spends so much time with his head stuck in a book that real life often happens around him without him even noticing. Lazlo's biggest obsession is the mystery of Weep and he has dedicated his life to reading everything he can about the city that disappeared so long ago. It's been years since anyone was able to find Weep and nobody can even remember the city's real name but Lazlo longs for it to be discovered again and he would give anything to visit the place he has spent so long dreaming about. Lazlo is a dreamer but he's also smart, funny and very caring. He always tries to help people but never expects thanks for his hard work and is so grateful for every opportunity he is offered that he never takes anything for granted.
This is also the story of Sarai, a young woman who has been trapped in her home for years with only her siblings for company. I don't want to get into too much detail about where Sarai is or how she ended up trapped there but her path crosses Lazlo's in the most unusual manner and I absolutely loved spending time with them both and watching the beginnings of their romance. Sarai and her siblings have been through something horrific but thanks to her unique talent she is the one best placed to understand both sides of the story and she longs for peace and freedom. She's such a compassionate girl, one who has seen the worst people have to offer but who also has great capacity for forgiveness and who tries really hard to look at the good in people.
Once again Laini Taylor has created a world that you just want to dive into, there are so many beautiful and amazing things to discover but there are also dark secrets lurking underneath that will leave you reeling. Her characters are people you want to be friends with and even her villains are so complex that you can understand their actions even if you don't particularly agree with them. There is so much pain and fear between the two different groups in the story that it's going to take a miracle to pull them together but I have complete faith that if anyone can pull it off Lazlo Strange and the Muse of Nightmares can. Working together I think they can achieve anything.
Strange the Dreamer is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and there is no doubt in my mind that it is going to be appearing on a lot of "best of 2017" lists. The Muse of Nightmares is right at the top of my 2018 wish list but I know I'll be rereading this book while I wait for it to be released.
I found myself completely immersed in this imaginative and captivating read, drawn into the vividly described fantasy world that Taylor has created. From the Great Library of Zosma, to the vast desert plains of the Elmuthaleth, and to the lost City itself, it was a joy accompanying Lazlo on his voyage of discovery.
Lazlo himself makes for a wonderful fantasy book hero, with his nose always behind a book and his mind full of wonder; he's gentle and kind and very easy to like. Yet I thought that Taylor did a really good job of portraying a whole host of more complex characters too. There's Thyon Nero, the arrogant alchemist, who early on in the story seems set on being a clear villain; yet I was surprised to find that it wasn't quite so black and white. The Godslayer too is another prime example, a hero who saved his City and its people from a reign of terrible tyranny, and yet at a great cost too;such that he is haunted by the blood on his hands. Minya, again, is an intriguing character; controlling and manipulative, she might easily have been painted a pure villain, but the tragedy of her past and the great trauma she has witnessed can but render her in a more sympathetic light.
I don't want to go into detail regarding the ins and outs of the story, but I thought that Taylor touched upon some great themes within the book, re-working them in an imaginative way. Its a story about the aftermath of tyranny and war, about hatred and how hard it can be to forgive and reach a reconciliation. I thought that Taylor did a good job of portraying two sides of a story; as a reader it is easy to appreciate the suffering that the people of Weep have endured, but by allowing us to get to see things from the Godspawns' points of view, and Sarai's in particular, we gain an insight into what they - the orphans of war - have endured too.
I personally found the idea of the Mesarthim and the Godspawn, with their mystical powers, intriguing; and there are still so many unanswered questions regarding them. Who were the Mesarthim, where did they come from, and what happened to all those Godspawn children over the centuries?
Sarai's power is a particularly interesting one and obviously shapes a lot of the story; with dream elements becoming more prominent as the book goes on. I really liked the depiction of the dream sequences in which Lazlo and Sarai interact; and thought Taylor really managed to capture that whimsical and magical quality that dreams have. The romance between the two central characters was I thought sweetly rendered; and whilst some people have complained that it felt too instantaneous and also took up too much time I would disagree on both accounts. I think the secluded nature of the lives that both Lazlo and Sarai have lived, makes it believable that they might develop feelings so quickly for each other; and I think the ending of the book makes it quite clear why so much time was invested in their relationship.Certainly the book ends on a cliffhanger, with some very interesting dynamics being set up;such that I can't wait for the sequel.
I did guess at the ending of the story, but that didn't at all spoil it. I would also say that the book starts off quite slow, but if you stick with the first few chapters, things soon start getting interesting.
A beautifully written book, with exquisite prose and imagery, this is certainly a story I won't be forgetting in a while.
Since reading this, I have read the Gods and Monsters trilogy, and I still come back to Strange wondering why the book ended as it did. It is a trilogy, and I want the next two books to arrive quickly so I can understand how the various threads and characters evolve and interact.
I wont be telling you about the characters because I will do the writer a great injustice. If you are reading this review, pls know that this book is worth reading. It does not belong in "YA" category!
This book is beautifully beautifully written. I cannot praise her writing enough. Its descriptive, poetic, the imagery is fantastic. And yet she hits you with poignancy, agony, mischief and tenderness every now and again that takes your breath away.
But the plot is absolutely masterful, she unweaves the story with just the right amount of detail, teases the darker edge to it. The multiple points of view do not take away anything from the story. The characters are so well thought out and described with such detail that I can see them in my mind quite clearly, right down to their quirks and nuances.
But all of this with new characters, brand new story with hardly any echoes back to her previous series is an incredible feat!
Laini Taylor, you are a master of your craft, take a bow!!
Oh and the book design is amazing, makes me feel like electronic medium will never take over the world till such lovely books exist!
It's early going so far, in fact i'm only on chapter 2. However it sparkles with the same charm and imagination that I've missed so dearly. I look forward to being captivated by this author for years to come
How have I not read any of Laini Taylors books before?? I really only ordered this book because of all the great reviews and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.
I was hooked from the prologue and then the first chapter had me smiling goofily at my desk at work. The authors writing is absolutely beautiful, it's not just the title but this book is so dreamlike, from the characters to the writing, from the setting to the plot.
Tha main character is so lovable. He's so different from the vast majority of fantasy male characters. He's not big, muscly, arrogant or particully 'masculine' . He's sweet and nerdy, innocent and kind. Early on something gets taken from him and your heart breaks with his.
Utterly magical. I was honestly not expecting to love this book as much as I did. Ordered the sequel and another of the authors book as soon as I put this book down.
It took me a while to get into the story and the only reason I didnt dnf it was because reviews had said it gets better. It does get better after the journey begins. The world is very well described at times and sets up the mystery of weep quite well. I like the character of Lazlo at times but sometimes he came across as pretty bland. Its sad to see as other secondary characters feel more fleshed out to me than he does. The other main character feels more rounded, she want a blank slate she very much had her own desires and motivations that made her really compelling.
I can't help comparing this to daughter of smoke and bone especially as hints of that book are peppered through this one. I felt she did a slightly better job on characters in that book. Where as the world is better set up in strange the dreamer. The biggest thing is the story's from both came across as far a bit to similar for me to enjoy it as much of I hadn't read her other series first.
I will be reading the rest of these as I am interested in where the story leads and how Lazlo will develop as the story goes on.
In truth if you have an active imagination, it is easy to get lost in the story, the way Taylor writes this book, her words make it easy to imagine the world. The story starts with how Strange got from the monastery to the library, and the tales of a city told to him by one of the old monks. From there, we follow him on his journey to Weep, the lost city, where he truly grows as a character. When Sarai travels into his dreams, you feel as if you are there with them, enjoying the sights of this dream city.
Beyond the descriptive dream world, is the cold and dark reality of Weep, and what people had to endure under the hands of monsters. Reading about brings a somberness, that makes you sympathise for the people of Weep both in and above the city. You feel for what they had to endure and what they must live with. It also highlights how heroes sometimes have to do bad things in order to save their people, but also begs the question 'To what length?' But this 'flawing' of characters is what I really enjoyed as no one is wholly good nor bad, except for some.
Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the city of Weep for as long as he can remember. A librarian and a dreamer, he longs to journey to the lost city and discover its secrets. But this is a story of godspawn and monsters, of alchemy and nightmares; sometimes fulfilling your dreams brings much, much more than you ever imagined.
Taylor's writing is a whole other level of beautiful. She has such a clever way with words and her novels are a joy to read as a result. I'm sure I will be flicking back through this purely to enjoy her wonderful writing.
I loved the dual perspectives of this book: some chapters focused on Lazlo, while others followed Sarai, the daughter of a god, trapped in a citadel floating above the city of Weep. No one knows that she, or her siblings, are there and they need it to stay that way.
There were some brilliant plot twists in this novel, some I saw coming, others I didn't. And the ending is just... Well, I can't really say anything without major spoilers, but it's superb and has left me desperate to find out what happens in book two.
It begins with a coming of age story and I think you’d be quite hard hearted not to want the best for our protagonist Lazlo Strange. Sarai is also a wonderful heroine, can I call her that? She is a jewel amongst a hundred smithereens of darkness! There are in fact so many wonderful characters brought to life beautifully in this magical tale of wonder and dreams!
Overall this is a very special book, in every way. I adore this book and maybe it adores me - anything is possible. :)
As the title suggests, the mystery and plot focus heavily on dreams, and much of the action in the second half takes place in dreams. Increasingly, I had a theory about Lazlo’s origins and gift, which was right, but I still enjoyed the revelation when it came. The characters are all richly drawn and believable, with their own personal grief, vengeance, joy, ambition, insecurities and power.
I love the way that the author has woven real life mythology/religion into the story (second coming of the gods, gods mating with humans to produce a superior race, lost cities, giants, theories of immortality). And also how she uses the world of fantasy to explore the real life issue of prejudice based on race, skin colour and parentage. So much of Lazlo’s character is a lesson in how to be a good person. I’ve thought about reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and somehow never got round to it, but I might go back to it now as I really like the author’s style.
2ndly... OMG... how could I have waited this long to read this book.... nothing much to say but you need to Read this book RIGHT NOW.
The only good this in ending a book this way is that I own the 2nd book in the series "The muse of nightmare" .... God what would have happened to me if I had to wait for its release 😱