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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (edition 2017)

by Laini Taylor (Author)

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8864514,465 (4.23)54
Title:Strange the Dreamer
Authors:Laini Taylor (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2017), 544 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:fiction, fantasy, young adult, read in 2018

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I know that Laini Taylor has a very strong fan base, but when this book was offered through Vine, I hadn't read any of her previous books, despite them being on my wishlist. I therefore didn't know what to expect from her writing.

The very first chapter quite simply blew me away.. it read so beautifully, with a dreamlike quality which immediately made me want to read more.

From this, it switches to tell the story of Lazlo Strange, an orphan raised in a monastery. He is already obsessed with a lost city, now known only as Weep, and when a twist of fate leads him to become a junior librarian, this obsession grows as he gathers all he can find, be it knowledge or story. When presented with an opportunity to find out more, alongside the hero known as the Godslayer, will fate allow him to follow his dreams?

Next we're introduced to a strange citadel and it's blue-skinned inhabitants, who have their own fascinating history and story to tell.

Then, of course, everything starts to come together, and the full story is told. I'm starting to see reviews crop up which outline much of the story and plot, and my advice is to avoid these.. part of the joy of my reading experience was to discover each part as it was presented to me, bringing together the various strands in the way they were supposed to be.

In summary, this is a beautifully written spell-binding tale, combining magic and fantasy, love and hate, dreaming and nightmares. I miss the world so much, I've ordered myself a signed hardback, and I simply can not wait for the second part.
  michelle_bcf | Aug 13, 2018 |
amazing, beautiful, brilliant
there is so much about this book that i absolutely adore

-phenomenal worldbuilding
-bewitching narration
-amazing characters
--within the very first chapter i immediately love lazlo strange. hes my son now

--you understand and empathise with all of the characters. they are all so complex and real. even minya, the closest thing to a villain, had understandable motivations, and i was moved by the tragedy of her.
-can't help but picture thyon nero as dennis reynolds. i am the golden god(son)!!!
-So Many Feelings. had i not read the last hundred pages in a public library i would be sobbing in my little reading corner in the privacy of my own home.
-im not usually big on schmoopy corny romance especially not instalove but lazlo and sarai..... idk maybe it's laini taylor's amazing way with words but im in love with them, too. (i mean a few times i was rolling my eyes at their cheesy romantic lines and page-long descriptions of kissing but the writing is So Good i can forgive.)

a few minor things:
-the worldbuilding is so rich and deep that for a forgetful airhead like me, a glossary would be super helpful. a quick summary of each name, place, god, or magical property would do well. i can't remember half the time.
-narrator is very omnipresent and dips in and out of characters heads within the same paragraph. i get dizzy.

anyway to sum up: this book is amazing, and i need to find other books by laini taylor because what a gift her writing is. ( )
  MegScrungus | Aug 7, 2018 |
I love fantasy, but this book has what a lot of books in this genre don't: lyrical writing. Plus, a protagonist who is a librarian! And a mystical city in the sky! Really great book; I'm excited for the next one. ( )
  AngelClaw | Jul 27, 2018 |
First published at Booking in Heels.

2.5 stars would actually be a fairer rating.

My very first reaction, on beginning Strange the Dreamer was, ‘Seriously, seraphim again!?’ I mean, I really liked Laini Taylor’s original series, which starts with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but you’d think she’d have come up with a new supernatural entity for her second series, surely? For clarity, the plot is completely different, but I did raise a skeptical eyebrow during the first few chapters.

The plot – slow to start but pretty damn great.

Alrighty. I really did like the plot. It’s told in alternating chapters between Lazlo, down in the city of Weep, and Sarai, trapped with her godspawn siblings in the Citadel. Unusually for a book of this nature, I can’t say I particularly preferred one narrative over the other. I liked both characters and, whilst their voices were a bit same-y, I was willing to get on board with it as it was a voice I liked. Both of their stories are unique – it’s not something I’ve seen done before and I really enjoyed the ingenuity of the plot.

The problem is that it took a really long time to get going. A really long time. I understand that there was a lot of world-building to get through – there are several lands, with their own characters, legends and societies, but it’s not introduced subtly at all. The first quarter of Strange the Dreamer was almost painful to drudge through. Yes, the writing is pretty, but that’s not much of a saving grace when nothing is happening. I’d read a chapter and then put it down. And then another chapter… and down it went. It just wasn’t easy to follow what was happening, much less why it was happening, and even less why I should care. Three stars for the first third of the book.

An upward swing… and then waaaaay back down.

In contrast, the middle of the book is great. Really great. The plot is in full swing, and we’re learning more and more about Lazlo and Sarai, as well as Eril-Fane and Azareen, and their circumstances. The pace is much slower and I was enjoying learning new things, instead of desperately trying to keep them all straight in my head. The plot, as I said, is very creative and I was totally on board with Strange the Dreamer. I absolutely could not wait to see where it was going to go. Four stars for the middle of the book

But ohhhhhh, I should have seen this coming. I have always, always remembered how much I loathed the ending of Dreams of Gods and Monsters. To be honest, I can’t even remember what that ending was, but I recall the disgust and disappointment quite clearly (and there’s another review here that makes me feel vindicated). Therefore I should absolutely not have been surprised at the terrible ending of this one. First of all, I think it was a mistake to include as much information as she did in the prologue. It essentially spoilt what could have been a huge, dramatic twist. But I actually think that plot point was quite clever, I’m just not convinced we needed to know about it in advance.

Secondly, yes, yes, Laini Taylor’s writing is very pretty. But seriously, there is a fucking time and a place. I do not need pages and pages of flowery description in the middle of a tense, action scene. The pacing is way, way off and I found myself skipping whole paragraphs of ramblings just so I could find out what was going to happen.

Thirdly, the ending. I don’t mean the Ending ending, the one hinted at in the unnecessary prologue as, yes, that’s a good ending and an interesting idea for the second book. But the build-up to that, the plot development that makes all that possible, is horrendous. It’s all way too easy and I’m so disappointed. This huge insurmountable problem is solved with an ‘eh,’ and a shrug of the shoulders.

And the rest – romance (yay), writing (nope).

I’ve seen a lot of reviews that slate the romance as being Insta-lovey, and normally I’d be right there, waving my red scowling banner alongside them. I hate InstaLove. But this time… I don’t know, I sort of get it. Not only had neither of them really seen another person of the opposite gender before, they were both sort of misfits that came together in unusual circumstances. And it wasn’t super instant, I suppose. I do think that way too much of the book was taken up with it – I would have liked less kissing and more action – but I don’t object to it in principle.

Also, this isn’t going to be popular, but I feel the need to say it. Yes, Laini Taylor’s writing is pretty. It flows beautifully and much of it is very quotable. It holds up very nicely when compared to a lot of other similar novels. The problem is that it hides a lot of lazy plot development. Characters frequently ‘just knew what they had to do,’ or ‘suddenly realised what it all meant,’ and I wanted to beat my book against the table every time it happened.

For clarity, my views on this book were so varied that I pre-ordered the next book and cancelled it, all in the space of a day. I don’t understand all this ‘Strange the Dreamer fills my soul’ crap. Yes, the plot is unique and I really enjoyed that part, once it got going, but the pacing is awful, the book is too long and the ending is terrible. ( )
  generalkala | Jun 3, 2018 |
A very enjoyable read. The two main characters were interesting as was the fantasy concept. My sense of impending doom proved to be correct and I have ignored my usual rule of waiting until something is complete to read it, so will have to wait for the next book. ( )
  infjsarah | May 12, 2018 |
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For Alexandra, unique in the world
First words
On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316341681, Hardcover)

A breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
a mysterious city stripped of its name.
a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
a young librarian with a singular dream.
a girl every bit as dangerous as she is in danger.
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 13 Jan 2016 13:14:23 -0500)

In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian, and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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