Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton (UK edition)
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Format/Source: UK edition from Bookdepository
(Side note: Just putting it out there that I don't know if it was only for the first editions, but my UK hardcover came with a title page signed and illustrated by Laini herself as well as blue-stained pages. You need this in your life. 😍)
Where, oh where, to begin with this striking, unforgettable story Laini has given us?
Like with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini's unrelenting and unparalleled talent for seamlessly weaving words together as if they were magic has once again offered us a remarkable, spellbinding world full of its own unique mythology/history and rich characters that you are bound to adore.
I honestly can't say much concerning the book's plot, because:
1. I really think is best for you to go into this book not knowing what to expect or having any idea as to where the story is heading.
2. To be honest, there isn't too much that happens, and yet.. so much happens. So much that matters.
It must also be mentioned that those who need action-packed, fast-paced stories, this is definitely not for you, but for readers who can just settle in and really soak up and bask in awe of outstanding worldbuilding, devastatingly beautiful writing, and alluring characters,this book is for you.
Again, I truly think it's best for you to go into this one with no expectations–with no clue of what's about to happen–so I'm only going to give the bare minimum here, and if you need to know more, as always, you can click on the title link for the Goodreads summary which is a bit more revealing.
Lazlo Strange is a dreamer. Orphaned as a baby, he was raised in a monastery until he was able to find the closest thing to home at the Great Library of Zosma.
All of his life, his thoughts have been occupied by one thing and one thing alone. The mythical, lost city of Weep. The last seven years he spent with his head stuck in books have only stoked the fire and intensified his desperate need to uncover the mysteries that surround the city.
One day, when a large host of warriors shows up, claiming to be from Weep and requesting that a select group of scholars join them on their quest, Lazlo just might get his answers, and may even be able to see the great city for himself.
In addition to this enticing premise (what book lover doesn't want to read about another book lover), there is also a romance that easily rivals Karou and Akiva's from DoSaB, so that's really saying something. Like the romance in DoSaB, the one found in Strange is also sweet, entirely innocent, and slow-burn, yet at the same time an instant connection between two dreamers that perfectly matches the pacing of the story.
Again, I can't mention too much, but other than Lazlo, there is another main point of view we follow–Sarai. I can say that I truly enjoyed both–to the point that I honestly can't decide which I preferred. I never found myself wishing I could skip ahead to the next Sarai chapter or the next Lazlo chapter; I liked being in both of their shoes equally.
Other than Lazlo and Sarai, there are a few chapters throughout the book lead by supporting characters. All of which, I was also glad we got to see, as though they may be supporting characters, that does not mean they aren't just as important and just as wonderful as our two main protagonists.
In fact, the entire cast is quite the diverse little mixture of oddballs, but at the same time, they are lovable, easy to relate to, and complex, fleshed-out characters with their own struggles and aspirations. I love them with all my heart.
The worldbuilding and history/mythology that Laini has created and based this world upon is incredible. Compared with DoSaB, this one definitely takes the prize for best worldbuilding, and I'm almost as obsessed with it as Lazlo is with Weep.
Honestly, I don't mean to keep comparing it to DoSaB, but going into this one I was highly anxious that I wouldn't love it as much as much as that trilogy–or worse: terrified I would love it more. Actually, I do love it more. But that doesn't diminish my love for DoSaB. Both are equally worthy of being called my favorite books.
Conclusion: THIS IS MY FAVORITE READ OF 2017 SO FAR, AND PROBABLY WILL BE BY THE END OF IT! I cannot urge you enough to go check it out!
As always, I would really love to discuss this one! Let me know if you've read it/plan on reading it!