Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Strange the Dreamer #1 | 4.5 feathers
(Happy Midsummer, everybody! 🙂 )
*This review contains spoilers*
I think that the less you know about this book, the better. It’s about Lazlo Strange, an orphan who grew up in a monastery to become a junior librarian in the Great Library of Zosma. He has always been obsessed with the lost city of Weep – a city that used to be at the heart of civilisation, but suddenly people stopped coming out of the city, and whoever went in search of it would disappear and never come back. And one day, the real name of the city was erased from everybody’s minds. Now it is only known as Weep, a half-forgotten legend no one really believes in anymore.
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it did not disappoint. I loved the idea of a lost city and a main character who is obsessed with researching said lost city. And Lazlo is such a cinnamon roll, I liked him so much <3.
I think that this was the first time ever I had a favourite chapter in a book – in this case it was the one titled “Another World”, when Sarai first visits Lazlo’s dream. Partly because it painted such a beautiful picture of Weep, even if that version of the city doesn’t exist anymore, but partly also because I loved the scene when Sarai walks up to Lazlo and outright stares at him before she realises that he can actually see her.
Laini Taylor is also good at making both sides of a conflict very complex. I found myself sympathising with both sides, and hoped that they could somehow find a middle ground. The only character I didn’t like was Minya, that evil little shit. There was a point towards the end when I felt a flicker of understanding towards her, but she lets herself be so blinded by her hate of humans that she becomes cruel, even to the people she’s trying to protect.
I am, however, sceptical to using dreams as a plot device. It works here, but I always feel as if the author disregards their magic system by letting dreams take up a huge space. I loved Sarai’s gift of being able to enter people’s dreams, but it felt too easy that she and Lazlo could actually talk to each other in the dream.
Also, though I liked the badass that Lazlo became in the end, I would have preferred if he stayed the dreamer with his head in the clouds. Sure, save Sarai all you want, but I wasn’t fully on board with his turning out to be Godspawn.
It did also get a bit insta-lovey, so it would have been nice if the romance had been a bit more slow.
Overall, though, I really liked this book, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.