Strange The Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

This has been on my To Read list since my short-lived foray into Booktube a few years ago. Short-lived only because my TBR list exploded and I became envious of all those people who had beautiful hardback-majority shelves, while I have to periodically sit down and not cry while consigning books to the charity shop pile due to lack of space. Then, after Christmas, this popped up on the 12 days of Kindle sale, so boom – finally got to read it.

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Published: 2017
Pages: 536
Format: Kindle

Lazlo Strange is a dreamer, and a Librarian. When he is presented with the unexpected opportunity to travel to the Unseen City (more prominently called Weep) with other outsiders, Strange leaps at the chance, arriving into Weep where this group of outsiders are needed to help. Inside the city, there is a blue girl with extraordinary powers. She lives above the city, hidden from sight with four other gifted survivors. But change is brewing. 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 library knows its own mind… When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.

Strange the Dreamer

I absolutely loved the first half of this novel. Lazlo is a proper bookworm, which makes him relatable to those who keep the lamp on late into the night, desperate to learn more. He is also the only person who knows or cares about what happened to Weep (he called it the Unseen City) and I really enjoyed the element of mystery with what happened to the city, and how you find out through Saira’s point of view what happened but not any of the reasoning or repercussions. The Lazlo of the library is very different from the Lazlo that arrives in Weep, and he starts to get a bit annoying after a while – he gets so convinced he is right that I just wanted to slap him and tell him to at least listen to other people’s viewpoint. I quite like Saira for the most part. First half of the book is absolutely fab, then it steers directly into high YA and I started to find it a little harder going. Still good, but I was more impatient to get to the end. Also, no spoilers for the ending, but how did Lazlo and Saira not see that coming?!

I didn’t realise, when I first turned my kindle on, that this was written by Laini Taylor, also the author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (I keep meaning to read book three…). The stylistic similarities however, were quite similar. It’s a very lyrical writing style, and I quite enjoy it most of the time (sometimes the descriptions drag a bit), and honestly some of the quotes are simply gorgeous – like these ones below, my absolute favourites for this book:

“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.”

“He looked him right in the eyes and saw a man who was great and good and human, who had done extraordinary things and terrible things and been broken and reassembled as a shell, only then to do the bravest thing of all: He had kept on living, though there are easier paths to take.”

and of course

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.”

Strange the Dreamer

The first half of the book was incredible and I devoured it. I found the last third at least a little hard going. This is a fantastically quotable book – it’s almost like there are entire passages written for bookmarks with bubble writing and scattered with stars. Overall, I enjoyed it. I’m trying to decide whether I want to go and get the second book (Muse of Nightmares) but I’m currently holding off because it’s still a tenner on kindle and that’s too much for me to buy an ebook.


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