I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but I do want to send out my apologies for being an absolutely horrid blogger for the last two months. Truth is that I’ve been taking on some freelance design and social media work – which has been a total blast. Unfortunately, it meant having to cut back some of my reading, photography and blogging time…
This past weekend I decided to pull myself together and do some writing, but then I ended up reading most of the time. Lol! But hey, at least I’m reading, right?
I cannot wait to share more about the book that completely snagged all my time and focus this weekend because it is SO inspiring. However, for now, I want to talk about Strange the Dreamer – the book I kept going on-and-on about for its beautiful writing style…
*This book was sent to me by Jonathan Ball Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*
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?
I remember reading that blurb for the first time and thinking, “Okay, this sounds EPIC, but WTF is going on??!!”My mind was reeling trying to figure out what on Earth this book could possibly be about because it sounded like a very complex story. So I went along and dived right in without giving the blurb much thought – in fact, I put it well and truly out of my mind. But by the end of this story, my first instinct, funny enough was right on point: this book was filled to the brim with EPICNESS and by the end of it, I sat with the same bewildered “WTF is going on??!!” thoughts that I had when I initially read the blurb…
Here’s the thing with Strange the Dreamer: it is utterly and sublimely strange. (Take this in the best possible way!)
It took me a long time to complete this book, even though I found it quite interesting and addictive. The reason I think it took me so long was that I picked it up at the wrong time, and I wasn’t in the frame of mind to stick with the complexity of the story. Life was so hectic when I started it which, I’m sure, played a significant part in my attention being pulled away each time I got back to reading. If it were any other time I honestly believe I would’ve blazed through the story because it is, without doubt, a wonderful read.
Strange the Dreamer is the first book I read by Laini Taylor, so I’m not sure if this is her signature writing style, or if she chose to write in this way for the purpose of the story. But whatever the reason behind it is, I truly appreciated the final product – it was magical. Like I said before, the story is strange and weird at the best of times. However, with her dreamy writing, impeccable world building and character building; it transformed into a beautiful piece. It made that special ‘something’ (a.k.a. the strangeness) of the story come into its own, and everything fitted perfectly together to completely draw me in from the start.
While reading the story of Lazlo Strange and Weep I did feel like the book dragged at certain points, but I also considered that it was, without question, incredibly well thought out. With the amount of detail this story is made up of it is hard not to sit back and admire what Laini Taylor has brought to life through her gift of writing. And when I realized this was the first book in a series I actually found myself so much more appreciative of all the details she added to lay down a rock-solid foundation for what the bigger story is being built on.
Now, when I look back at all those points I felt was ‘slow’ at the time, I understand the necessity for what she’d done. This technique has helped me form connections to the characters and pulled me so far into the story that I could experience what was happening right along with them. The impact of certain circumstance the characters were facing felt all the more real, and to me, it added a whole new level to the plot.
Of course, there were a few tiny issues I had with the book, but it seems so insignificant when I look at the whole picture…
Overall, I think this is a fantastic start to a brand new series and I cannot wait to read more about Lazlo. I’m really excited to see where the story is headed for in the future. I also think that this is a great book for someone who’s on the verge of dipping their toes into the genre of high fantasy. A few people suggested I read some of Laini Taylor’s previous books so that I can get accustomed to her world building and how she sets things up. Although, I didn’t feel like I was at a disadvantage because she explained everything in such good detail and took the time to make the reader feel part of the book, experiencing it along with the characters in the story.
“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill? Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”
I gave Strange the Dreamer 5/5 stars on Goodreads.