Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor
Publication date: March 28, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Coming-of-age, Fantasy, Young Adult
The unconscious mind is open terrain—no walls or barriers, for better or worse. Thoughts and feelings are free to wander, like characters leaving their books to taste life in other stories. Terrors roam, and so do yearnings. Secrets are turned out like pockets, and old memories meet new…The only rule is that there are no rules.
A young man who dreams of a blue goddess at night, a city dying under the shadow of a floating citadel, a young woman who visits the dreams of others turning them into nightmares, a spoiled aristocratic alchemist, and a warrior known as the Godslayer are just some of the fantastical elements that come to life in Laini Taylor’s novel, Strange the Dreamer.
Lazlo Strange has been obsessed by the mystical city of Weep since he was a young boy. A city known only in legend as its true name has been lost to time and no one from there has been seen in 200 years. Now, as a teen Lazlo comes face-to-face with Eril-Fane, the real man who is the Godslayer. He’s traveled from Weep with some of his soldiers looking for aid in solving a problem that is slowly destroying his city. Despite having no formal education, Lazlo’s knowledge of Weep means he’s one of the people chosen for the long journey.
As Lazlo and the others make their way back to Weep, Strange the Dreamer shifts to an entirely different landscape. An enormous palace with only five occupants, children of the gods: each a teenager, each blue, and each possessing an unusual power. For Sarai, the gift of being able to enter others’ dreams has turned into a burden. Minya is the small group’s leader and has decided that as they’re the only survivors of the massacre that killed everyone else at the palace Sarai must go a step further and actively work in their enemy’s dreams to turn them into nightmares as retribution. The work wears on Sarai until the return of Eril-Fane when she inadvertently lands in the night mind of Lazlo Strange. As she moves within his dreams, he sees her. Something that has never happened before and which will send the two on an incredible journey to save both their worlds.
Much of fantasy fiction relies on embellishing an unknown world and Strange the Dreamer is no different with its lavish and vibrant landscapes. What made it different was that Taylor’s reach went far beyond the tangibles that may bewitch the eye, but provide little else. And while the extravagant details are dazzling it’s the familiar intangibles of life, whether the scent of bread baking or the ache caused by loneliness and sadness, that resonate. All are so well-represented on the page that opening Strange the Dreamer is less like reading and more like falling into a fantastical world. A world so wonderfully executed that this world can be forgotten for hours at a time.
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