Let’s face it, every once in a while, we all commit the bookish sin of “Judging A Book By It’s Cover”. And ever so often, we go the extra mile by purchasing the book, bringing it home and spending a significant amount of time admiring the cover. When I first set eyes on it it seemed very mythical to me and as you can see I was right!
Strange The Dreamer happens to be one of those books whose bewitching blue and gold front cover played an important role in me picking it out at the bookstore.
Laini Taylor’s novel opens with the tale of a young boy, Lazlo Strange; a war orphan who was taken in by monks after he was dropped off at their monastery as a sickly baby.
Lazlo grows up under the strict eye of the monks, but never misses the chance to let his wild imagination fly. After listening to the tales of an old senile monk, Brother Cyrus, Lazlo becomes obsessed with a city he speaks of the city of Weep a mythical lost city, now forgotten by the world.
Certain events lead to Lazlo being employed as a junior librarian at The Great Library of Zosma. His obsession with the city of Weep grows as he begins to read all the books he could lay his hands on, regarding the subject.
Over a span of 7 years, he creates his own notes and theories about the city. It’s culture, it’s language and finally, it’s fate. He dreams of one day, travelling halfway across the world in search of the city. To uncover it’s mysteries and to discover why it was kept a secret from the rest of the world.
“In the sheer, shimmering improbability of the moment, it seemed to Lazlo that his dream had tired of waiting and had simply come…to find him.”
As fate would have it, on a day like any other, Lazlo wakes up to find a group of Weep warriors called the Tizerkane, in Zosma.
On a mission to recruit the most brilliant mathematicians, inventors and alchemists of the world, the warriors stumble upon Lazlo. His sheer passion and knowledge of Weep convinces their leader, Eril-Fane, the Godslayer to bring Lazlo along with them.
After a grueling six-month journey, around two dozen men and women reach the city of Weep, only to be greeted by more questions and mysteries.
The story goes on to tell us about blue-skinned Gods which once ruled Weep. It also introduces half human, half godlike creatures called Godspawn, five of which still exist above the floating Citadel above Weep. Magic, myth and mystery envelopes the reader into a trance and it becomes impossible to put this book down.
The enthralling plot of the book is one thing. But the brilliant use of words is another. Laini Taylor simply won me over by using terms like ‘calligraphy written in honey’ and ‘dissolved like sugar in tea’ and ‘listened like a cactus drinks rain’. The rich vocabulary and immaculate use of adjectives brought a whole new reading experience to the story.
Somewhere halfway along the book, the story did seem to drag on a little. Which was a clear attempt by the author to stretch out the story long enough for there to be the need of a sequel. Sure enough, this particular book ends with three menacing words.
“To be continued…”
The next installment in the series titled, The Muse of Nightmares is currently without a release date. But we can only hope that it will hold the answers to all the questions Laini left us with in the end of Strange The Dreamer.
This book deserves no less than a 4.5/5 star rating! And it’s the perfect recommendation for someone who wants to read a little bit of fantasy without it being too much of a commitment.