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Strange the Dreamer Hardcover – March 28, 2017
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"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
* "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
* "[Strange the Dreamer] has all the rich, evocative imagery and complex world-building typical of Taylor's best work. This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections."―School Library Journal, starred review
* "The luxurious prose and complex world building invites and rewards slow reading....Here readers will find characters to love and ones to hate and, ultimately, a world to be willingly lost in."―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
* [Readers] will dive into Taylor's gorgeous prose and brilliant imagery and relish this story about dreams, love, monsters, gods, ghosts, war, and alchemy. Told from alternating points of view, this is complex but satisfying, a story about cultures meeting and clashing."―VOYA, starred review
"[Laini Taylor] has spun another mesmerizing tale with captivating twists and turns, an array of intriguing characters, strange and beautiful language, and baroque flourishes of the imagination."―Horn Book
"Lovers of intricate worldbuilding and feverish romance will find this enthralling."―Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
LAINI TAYLOR CONTINUES TO SHRED MY HEART.
Nope. Never mind. Not composed.
Will never be composed. What is life.
All right, SO. STRANGE THE DREAMER is phenomenal. Gorgeous, lush, magical, heartbreaking. It's The Laini Taylor Brand, okay. It's also the book I'll use to answer "If you were stranded on a desert island and had one book to read forever, what would it be?" I never actually thought I'd have an answer to this question. But while I was reading this, I'd just pause every few paragraphs to put the book down and sigh over how beautiful it was. Which is why my first night of reading, I got less than 30 pages into it.
"There were no books to hide behind, and no shadows--only Lazlo Strange in his worn gray robes, with his nose that had been broken by fairy tales, looking like the hero of no story ever told. Or. No story ever yet told."
This is a story for the dreamers, for the ones that look at the ocean and hope for a glimpse of Ariel or Nessie. For the ones who could spend a day with a book, and still be thinking about it when they finish the final page. For the lost ones, and the scared ones, and the broken ones. For the hopeful ones, for the shunned ones, for the weird ones.
This book is slow. Like, achingly slow. But broken Godslayer Eril-Fane, rebellious Ruby, clueless Feral, bookdragon Lazlo, sweetsweet Sparrow, blue gold hearted Sarai, twisted and bitter Minya, and so many others will wrestle your heart from you.
Happy book birthday STRANGE THE DREAMER. May you bring a little more magic and compassion into the world.
STRANGE THE DREAMER is many things. It's a tale of lost cities and a centuries-old clash between gods, their half-blood children, and humankind. It's an ode to libraries, alchemy, and quest stories. It blurs the already-faint lines between dreams, nightmares, and reality. It takes themes such as war, love, knowledge versus power, self-discovery, and "what makes a monster?", then stirs them into an otherworldly concoction with hints of melancholy as blue as the godspawns' skin and the gold shimmer of wonder. It's witty and aching and frightening in parts; and when you finish reading it, part of you doesn't want to leave its absorbing world... and part of you wonders how our poor heroes will find any resolution to their conflicts in next year's sequel.
I'm not sure if I have a favorite character from STRANGE THE DREAMER. There's Lazlo, the titular dreamer, who's kind, intelligent, eager to learn, happy to help, and desperate to know where he came from. And there's Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, a half-human girl who screams moths at night and is haunted by other people's horrors when she sleeps. And Eril-Fane, the Godslayer who saved the city of Weep fifteen years earlier but is tormented and conflicted by his past. And the other godspawn like the sweet "gardener" Sparrow, the impulsive and (literally) ignitable Ruby, the sobering rain-gatherer Feral... and Minya. The oldest of the godspawn yet trapped in a 6-year-old's body, she binds the ghosts of Weep to do her bidding - and while it's easy to understand her desire to protect her remaining kindred, her hunger for revenge against the city's humans is so relentless and absolute that it chills you to the bone.
What's keeping me from giving STRANGE THE DREAMER 5 stars, though, is the "book of two halves" dilemma. The first half is stunning and well-paced as it introduces readers to her invented world and her large cast of characters. But the second half, despite the gorgeous dream sequence interactions between Lazlo and Sarai, was a bit of a slog. It's overwritten and much too slow, which unfortunately weakens what should be a devastating ending.
In short, I didn't love STRANGE THE DREAMER as much as other Laini Taylor books like DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE or BLACKBRINGER. Yet it's still victorious in showing what a whimsical and incomparable talent Laini Taylor is and the fresh air she continues to inject into YA fantasy. No other writer in that genre is quite like her, and that's why I continue to marvel at her work, one book after the next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a talent. How cruel to make us love them so and pull the strings of or emotions . . .Read more