The following review will probably make no sense. I tried my best to be eloquent and we should all know by now that when Rendz tries to be smart she does not sound smart.
ANYWAYS. WELCOME TO A VERY GUSHY REVIEW. I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS ON THIS SUPER HYPED SERIES THAT I HONESTLY THINK IS WORTH THAT HYPE.
It is PHENOMENAL.
Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares
by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
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?
Welcome to Weep.
*Many thanks to HBG Canada for sending me finished copies for review! You are the real MVPs in this line of work!*
THIS IS ALL LIKES
Where do I even begin? Gosh. I have had this series in my possession since last fall/winter and yet I had never found the right moment to pick it up. I was always too nervous. Do you know how incredibly hyped this book series is? Laini Taylor is a household name in YA and the first time I read one of her books, it didn’t go as planned. (For many reasons, most of them having to do with my level of maturity)
Well I can safely say that this series is undoubtedly AMAZING. Hella weird, but so, so, so wonderful! This is a story that is so complex and yet 100% comprehensible. Never was there a moment where I was lost or side tracked or doubtful of how things were. I have to applaud Taylor’s amazing writing style and organization. She crafted this story so elegantly that while you consume the words on the page you grow with immense knowledge of the world and it’s history and characters. You get lost in this story and it is a good kind of lost, the kind where you don’t even notice the pages slipping by because you are so incredibly immersed in the story.
The characters were absolutely phenomenal. Lazlo, Sarai and the rest of the gang were incredible. They were fleshed out beautifully, incredibly dynamic and complex. Ruby was hilarious, Sparrow was a sweety pie but also a boss, Feral was clueless but also fun and Minya was the first 6-year old that I called a b*tch and yet wanted to hug close to my chest. Thyon took some getting used to that’s all I will say, but he is also so incredibly interesting and his growth through both books is huge! Eril-Fane, I don’t even know where to start, but his story was so heart-breaking and complex and bitter and seemingly hopeless, but it’s a journey and it’s not easy and it might have spiritually broken my heart. Azareen, was a boss and broken and tough and vulnerable and so so so many more things. My heart ached for her every single time she was on the page!
Lazlo was everything. He is the Soft Boi™. I can’t think of a single other dude who beats his status of softness. I love him. I love him. I love him. I think I might actually be in love with him. Like he is scholarly, compassionate, funny, painfully naive, warm, passionate, he’s got a little bit of a dark side. Truly, I think I’m in love and this is coming from the girl who loves bad bois i.e. Carswell Thorne. Anyways. Lazlo was the perfect star for this series, from his humble origins to his big adventure, every step of the journey was charming and crazy and dangerous with him.
Sarai. People speak of her as if she is a spoiler, but I don’t think so. She was also soft. Like the cutest thing ever, but she can literally make you go insane (?) so like she’s also dangerous! I loved everything about her! From her dedicated love to her siblings to her compassion for dreamers and her love of life! Gosh when things happened to her I felt like sobbing. The end of book one is literally so HORRIBLE (in a good-story kind of way) that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Sarai’s goes through a lot and journeying with her and having to deal with all that she has done is an incredible adventure.
The chemistry Lazlo and Sarai had! *screams* I think it is the only sort of insta-love I will ever accept. INCREDIBLE.
Okay, this world is weird and really intriguing. I have an imagination, but Taylor has an Imagination. I loved Weep and it’s surrounding cities. I loved how complex it’s history was and how much it suffered for it. The creatures of this world are unlike like any others I’ve ever read. When shit gets weird, you know it’s a High Fantasy and this is a prime example of it! Taylor’s exploration of Weep and the world is so amazing and covers a lot of ground. The culture of the people is so beautiful and yet marred by it’s history. Gosh, it is amazing. It actually celebrates a girl’s first menstruation with a tattoo around the belly which is so cool!! And no aspect of the culture is left just to be, it is integral to plot and wow I just LOVED IT.
I keep talking about the history of Weep and I won’t say much because you really have to experience it to get the full meaning of it all. But I will say is that it deals with my most favourite, favourite plot-line ever: Divine Intervention. And let’s just say that the gods are not nice in this one. And they wreak havoc. And the consequences of that damage is so monstrous that both gods and humans don’t know how to move on.
The history and whole plot of the story deal with such hard questions. Taylor did not hold back. If I were more eloquent in these reviews I would do a full analysis, but I’m not so I’ll just tell you that it’s hard. It made me question a lot of the notion of heroes. Heroes who do the unforgivable to win. The trauma they might have after “winning” and the shame/guilt that comes with it. The way sorrow consumes a community as much as it does a person. The prejudice and hate that exists because we are taught to hate and choose to pass it down. How we reconcile the unforgivable to move forward, if that is even possible? How all-consuming vengeance can be and how it drains a person of their will to truly live. It’s an endless series of questions. Not all of them have answers, but I just love the way the book explores these themes and challenges the reader to think.
The endings to both books are so incredible. Book one ends in a shock, that had me speechless! I didn’t know what to do with myself! Book two has quite an ending too! I did not see it going in that direction and there is one little bit that made me sob inside!
On the more technical side. The pace was perfect. Actually book one was a little heavy and slow in the beginning and it takes a while for the adventure to start, but I really liked that we got this full background so that we were fully prepared to take on the rest of the story! Other than that, the pace is great. The suspense had me going wild, it was just right to keep me intrigued all the time. The writing, as I mentioned before, is stunning. It was absolutely beautiful. The action was less fight-y and more of a ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what the heck are we gonna do now??? kind of thing. Although book 2 has it’s moments and there are lots of flashbacks too!
THE MAGIC. I can’t say much about it. But the powers were quite unique. It gets a 10/10 from me.
Overall, I loved this series. I thought the writing was beautiful. The story was elegant, intriguing, thought-provoking and fun! It’s a story starring a book-nerd and a life-lover. The characters are amazing, the world is lush and horrific and enchanting. Everything about this series is perfectly thought out and wonderful. It’s a thrilling read!
Strange the Dreamer: 5 / 5 Stars
Muse of Nightmares: 5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: ABSOLUTELY 100% YES.
I definitely look forward to picking up Taylor’s previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and co. I have a feeling I’ll have a better appreciation for it now!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Tell me everything! Who are your favourite characters? Did you like the ending? Do you hope for more? Have you read Taylor’s other work?