WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS
Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in March 2017
Read US Paperback, 532 pages
Summary (via Goodreads)
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.
Thoughts After Completing Strange the Dreamer
The wounds are fresh and I mean that with absolutely no pun intended. My heart is broken from this beautifully tragic story that has really made me think and fall in love with another set of characters by Laini Taylor. I have said this many times, as have many others have said many times, Laini Taylor really has a way with words. She is very whimsical, and has many lines/passages that really make you think and feel tremendous emotion. I was constantly tabbing favorite lines and passages, and the parts that really had emotion exploding out of me like Sarai’s moths. But beyond her words, Taylor is also brilliant at world and character building. How does she dream up these worlds (again no pun intended at all…okay, maybe just a tiny bit)?
I admit that I first tried reading Strange the Dreamer when it first came out and struggled to get into the first fifty pages. I remember feeling horrid that I could not get into the book, not understanding why I was not clicking with Taylor’s work. So, I put it down and did not get back to it until now. It must have been the right timing because I flew through those first fifty pages and devoured this book, and, as I have said, fell in love with it. I will let my book diary for Strange the Dreamer speak for itself, but I will say that this book is much heavier than it lets on to be in the synopsis. It deals with extremely heavy topics such as rape (even if not explicitly said, I don’t even think that word is used) and murdering a younger generation for the sins of the parents, in fear that those sins will come through those children. So I will say that if this is something you know is difficult for you to read, maybe this book might be something to skip over. But if it is something that you are able to digest, I will just say it is a beautiful book- again, Taylor’s writing is beautiful, there are strong messages behind what she is writing, really making a reader think, and it is very captivating. I can easily give Taylor’s book (5 / 5).
I hope you enjoy the book diary below! If you make it through all the entries, I give you major props! I know it is a lot, which I think will be a constant with the book diaries, but I am enjoying them, so I am going to continue on! I tried to be as spoiler-free as possible, but as the warning above states, there are items that could be constituted as spoilers. If you wish to go into Strange the Dreamer not wanting to know much about the plot, I thank you for reading thus far, but would definitely skip over the book diary until you have read!
I have almost forgotten how beautiful Laini Taylor writes. Almost. She has such a poetic way with words, and with world and character building. Barely 60 pages in and I am so invested in the story. What/where is Weep? Why, one day, did the real name of Weep suddenly disappear? What kind of magic (if it is magic) caused the name to disappear? What lies in this city? Is it full of wonder and magic, or is it simply a dead city? And Lazlo Strange! Oh goodness, I relate so much to Strange the dreamer. I feel like sometimes I too chose my dreams poorly, but still have that want, that need to follow them. One line really struck me in chapter three, spoken by Master Hyrrokkin, one of the librarians, “You’re not a child anymore. Isn’t it time to let all this go?” (chapter 3, page 26) I made sticky note that said, “You should never let of of dreams just because you’re not a child anymore.” And I firmly stand by that. I hope Lazlo does too!
Oh… and I understand Nero having the weight of the world on his shoulders, but what an ass.
First, I still stand by my last entry, Nero is an ass, but it was a pleasure to see Lazlo stand up and, in a way, reclaim some of what Nero took from him. I don’t necessarily mean his books per say, but what the books represented to Lazlo.
Second, these several chapters we also meet the five Godspawn, children/teenagers that are ½ god and ½ human. They all have such intricate personalities- I am partial to Sarai and I am also very much interested learning more about Minya. Why has Minya stayed in her physical child state all these years? But oh gosh, learning more and more about the Godspawn is really like getting hit in the gut over and over. Their story is so tragic- shunned in secrecy for the sins of their god parents. I am really curious to see what dynamic was played between the humans and gods prior to the Carnage. And too, I wonder what is to come for the Godspawn and humans in the remainder of the book. I have a theory that the Godslayer who claims responsibility for, well, slaying the gods (meaning the parents of the Godspawn) is more than just a Godslayer, but I guess I will find out if my theory pans out.
To end, here is a favorite passage I read: “You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can” (135).
So first, my theory was right, the Godslayer is more than just the Godslayer. Either it was more obvious than I thought it was, or I am just that good at figuring things out. If you’re reading this and know what I am talking about, did you see it coming?
But now that the action is starting to set up in the novel, I feel like I am not ready for it with the Godspawn. I mean, I knew they wouldn’t be left alone to continue their existence on/in the citadel, but there was that part of me that wants them all to be okay. It is hard to tell with Laini Taylor if she’ll break my heart… I just want the Godspawn to be okay. Though Minya is a scary little thing… but I cannot imagine having the trauma she has. I get it, but still… vengeful little thing.
AND LAZLO CAN SEE SARAI! I kind of know he has some sort of power, but I am not quite sure where it is going. Another theory in my head, but I am not sure this one will actually be true… could he be like Sarai?
Wow, Minya really is a scary, but again, I can understand her anger and motivations behind why she is the way she is; though I wish it wasn’t necessarily scaring the others. Like, I know they aren’t living this completely wonderful life and are in hiding, but they had some kind of life where they were together and surviving, you know? Now I am worried about what is going to happen to them. Granted, I am assuming with Muse of Nightmares that at least one of them will be fine (physically at least, mentally/emotionally might be a different story), but yeah… they are just this family that Laini Taylor has made me grown so attached to.
I have also really been thinking about the book as I read, and I am coming more and more to realize how horrid Weep was with the gods and with the end of the gods. Some of the descriptions, such as how the women (and men) of Weep would be taken for a year and would only have an idea of what happened to them a year later because their stomachs/stomach tattoos would be stretched. It is heartbreaking and made me realize the book is a lot heavier than I had anticipated. I am not saying this has completely changed my thoughts on the book thus far- I am loving the book, but it really is making me think and morphing how I am approaching the book and characters… if that makes sense. One thing is calling the Godspawn that particular name. I am starting to feel like Lazlo, like it is a derogatory term that puts this negative connotation on these kids that are living a life due to the sins of their parents.
This is so heartbreaking, yet so beautiful at the same time 😢 I am not sure I really have more words than that right now.
Chapters 50-Not the End
I am broken 😭 Laini Taylor, you have broken me… This book is again, beautiful, yet so heartbreaking. I’m very grateful there is a second book to this, but I’m scared to go into it… I cannot imagine where this story is going and how it will wrap up… will it continue to break my heart?!
(5 / 5)