Monday, 10 July 2017

Review: Strange the Dreamer - Lyrical, Magical and Utterly Captivating

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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.



Why did I not read this sooner?

So this was the first book I ever preordered, over TWO YEARS AGO. As soon as I read the description (or basically as soon as I saw Laini Taylor's name on the cover), I knew I would love it, and I placed an order straight away. Then the publishing date was pushed back - and then again - and I slowly lost interest. I thought this book would never arrive and I kind of forgot about it untill it appeared on my doormat in April. 

I went to Laini Taylor's signing later that month, having not read the book  - I know, shock, horror - and thankfully wasn't spoiled but I loved the evening. Laini was so lovely and everytime she talked about Strange the Dreamer I was so intruiged. When she signed my copy, she was so kind and asked me all about my life and what I study at university, and I vowed I would read Strange straight away But I didn't. Life got in the way, and honestly, the size and apart epicness of the book terrified me a little. Big books sometimes kind of scare me. I forgot about it again.

Then, this month, life got really hard and very stressful, and I really needed a book which would pull me away from the stuff I was going through. I needed to immerse myself in a completely different world. I remebered the lovely Cait at Paper Fury saying how immersive this story was. So I picked this book up.

AND GUYS. GUYS. It was so incredibly beautiful. So beautiful. This was a world-changing book for me. I lived and breathed this book, and it is without a doubt my favourite book of the year so far.

Lazlo Strange might be one of my new favourite characters of all time. He is kind and gentle, and slightly shy, and I swear the moment I read the line about his nose being broken by a falling library book, I fell in love.He's just such a lover of stories, and I relate to him so much. As for the other characters, I don't want to say too much, and spoil things, but I adored Sarai too, and I thought her character development throughout the story was excellent. Too my surprise, I even loved the villans of the story. They weren't cliche or predictable, but surprising and complex, and that was so refreshing.

This one is kind of a slow burn, and I can understand that that makes it a book that not everyone will love. If you're looking for action and fast-paced scenes, you won't find them here. What you will find are beautiful descriptions, particularly of the city of Weep. As you read, you will be transported onto winding city lanes, filled with cakes on windowsills, children laughing and the business of the local markets. Lazlo and Sarai's stories slowly intertwine, and perhaps the best part about this book is seeing their stories come together. Laini Taylor is a master at foreshadowing as well as world building, but most of all at pulling the strings of a story together. I had to pause at various moments and wonder at how Laini Taylor planned the story so brilliantly. I'm so glad she spent that extra year on the book, because you can see just how deliberate and carefully crafted every word is.

One of my favourite things about this book was the theme of dreaming. Laini Taylor perfectly creates that wonderous, odd atmosphere of a dream, and these scenes were beautifully threaded together with the waking scenes in weep.  As I said before, I don't want to give too much away, but the last 50 pages of this book were brutal. So fast paced and I was terrified for all my precious character babies. I can't wait to see what happens in the next volume, The Muse of Nightmares just became my most anticipated book of 2018.

How do I finish this review? Why with a F.R.I.E.N.D.S gif that perfectly sums up my feelings of course! ^-^
Image result for friends love gif






Quotes:
  •  “You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable," she pleaded. "Something beautiful and full of monsters."

    “Beautiful and full of monsters?"

    “All the best stories are.” 
  •  “It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.”
  •  “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.”
  • “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.”




 


(5 stars)



Strange the Dreamer is my fave book of the year so far. Have you guys read it? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments! <3
Love,




69 comments:

  1. I've had this book since March but I haven't read it yet. It sounds super amazing, though. Just haven't found the time for it yet.

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    1. It's so wonderful, Stephanie! I bet you'll love it! <3

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  2. Ugh. I've had this book since it released. Still. Have. Not. Read. It. Do you know why? I still haven't read Dreams of Gods and Monsters! Yikes! >_< I'm a terrible Laini Taylor fan... *digs own grave*

    Glad that you loved it! I just need to find the right time so that I can really give it the time it deserves... probably at the end of the year when I finally finish my studies for the year and can dedicate a full day or two to reading DoGaM, and then this one. :)

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. You are not a bad Laini Taylor fan, Cass - it took me like 3 years to read that final book lol. You should totally read DoGaM, but you don't have to to read this one? <3

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  3. I'm so glad you loved this one! I've been meaning to pick it up for FOREVER since Laini Taylor is my favorite. I absolutely adore the quotes you shared so I'll have to prioritize this one. Fabulous review <3

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    1. Thanks so much Faith - I hope you love it! <3

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  4. Glad to hear you liked this one so much! I still haven't read this one because I suck. I totally understand your thoughts about trying to read big books.
    Deanna Reads Books

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    1. Big books can be so intimidating, but this one was totally worth it. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it when you read it. :D

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  5. Ohh lovely review, I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed this book so much, and that friends gif, perfect choice ahah :) I'm hoping to read that one soon! :)

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    1. FRIENDS IS THE BEST XD Thanks, lovely! <3

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  6. This is a brilliant review! I admit that I tried listening to the audiobook when it was first released but couldn't get into it so I had to put it aside, but I think that has more to do with listening than the actual book itself. I hope to give the physical copy a go soon. I've heard such amazing things about it. :)

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

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    1. It's so magical - I hope you love it! <3

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  7. I hope to start this one soon. I am so glad to see how much you enjoyed it. Great review!

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  8. I haven't read this yet, but it's on my wishlist.

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    1. You should totally get it, it's so worth a read. <3

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  9. This sounds like a great book! I can't wait to try it out. Lovely review. :)

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    1. Thank you! I bet you'll love it! <3

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  10. Aw, I'm so jealous you met Laini. She sounds so lovely.

    I'm really glad you loved this one. I need to read it ASAP.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. She was amazing and so so kind. I hope you get to meet her one day too!

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  11. I'm so glad you liked it. I found it a bit slow for the most part but it may be because my expectations were way too high. Daughter of Smoke and Bone blew me away.

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    1. YES, Daughter of Smoke and Bones was one of my favourites, but this one is quite different and definately takes a while to get into. I hope you'll give it another shot.

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  12. I've seen lots of love for this book but haven't read it, but I think I might need to! It sounds different and kinda magical and just unique from a lot of the other stuff out there. Plus the synopsis just has me wondering what's going on. :) Glad you enjoyed it so much!

    Have I mentioned I love your background? There's something about seeing lots of books in bookshelves lol...

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    1. Thanks so much Greg, I love bookshelf backgrounds so I had to put one on my own blog XD

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  13. I totally agree, the writing of this book is just so jaw droppingly gorgeous I cannot deal! So glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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    1. IT'S SO AMAZING! I'm so glad you loved it too, Anisha! <3

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  14. YES YES SO MUCH YES!! *flails wildly with appreciation for this gorgeous tale* The writing was so lush and vivid I just was sooo sucked into the entire world. I MEAN WOW.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Lazlo is the most precious bookworm boy of them all. <3

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    1. YES YES YES YES. Lazlo is my sweet muffin cupcake and I will love and cherish him forever. <3

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  15. I've got to get to this one soon!

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    1. I hope you love it when you get a chance to read it, Lisa! <3

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  16. haha! I was JUST replying to your comment on Ari & Dante.. WHY HAVEN'T I READ STRANGE THE DREAMER YET?? WHYYY??? your review makes me want to bang my head against the wall harder!! :)
    and how WONDERFUL that you met Laini and that she was so nice!! and now your book is signed. ok. I so jealous now I can't even :)

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    1. Hehehe, I do love my signed book. I hope you get the chance to read this one and love it as much as I did! <3

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  17. I keep seeing amazing reviews for this book and I don't know what's taken me so long. I've always been fascinated by dreams and the premise just makes this one sounds super intriguing. Your review makes me want to cave and buy it. Great review!

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  18. I'm so glad you liked it. I can't wait to read it myself.
    Aneta @ Angelic Book Reviews 

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    1. I found it so magical! I can't waito to hear your thoughts on it <3

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  19. You've gone and reminded me I still haven't read this book. I loved Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and so I am full on intimidated by this book. I've heard good things but then another blogger I trust wasn't a massive fan so I'm scared to pick it up and get reading. Add in the fact I've not fancied reading anything fantasy in a little while and I'm worried I'll never pick up that preorder copy off of my shelf. Glad to hear you liked it and hopefully I will find the motivation to read soon.

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    1. I hope you get to read it soon <3

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  20. I always think the same thing when I read a book that has been on my TBR for a while. I have been trying to knock some of them off lately and I realized that I need to read this one, too! I am really excited now that it is one of your favourite books this year. :)

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    1. It's so wonderful, I adored it so much. You need to read it soon! <3

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  21. Oh, I'm practically just like you on this one... except I haven't read it yet! I preordered the book and picked it up at Taylor's signing (so I hadn't read it yet, obviously). I LOVED everything about Taylor and the author event, but now I still haven't read the book. You have convinced me that I need to pick it up immediately.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I hope you have the same experience as me with it Nicole! I just found it so magical and wonderful!

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  22. OH MY GOD TWO YEARS AGO??? No wonder you gave up on it. But I was so pleasantly surprised by this as well, I adored her writing <3

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    1. Haha I know! I just kind of forgot almost! I'm so glad you loved this one too <3

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  23. Love her books and still have not read this. I feel like I have to have time to savor it and that has not happened!
    Check out my new site: Jen Ryland

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  24. So I haven't read any of her books... ik shun me but I'm about to change that! i saw this one at the library and I think I'll get it next time I'm there!

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    1. Please do, and let me know your thoughts! :D

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  26. Totally agree with you! It's funny, I didn't know if I'd like it either, but I ended up winning a copy, and LOOOOVED it. It was a bit slower to start, but wow, the writing blew me away. And I adored the characters so, so much. Fabulous review, I am so glad you loved it too!

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    1. Awww, thanks so much Shannon! I thought this was such a wonderful read :D

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  27. Everything Laini creates is just magical. I started reading the ARC I was lucky enough to receive and after the first few chapters, I preordered as well. I knew it would be one of those books that I would fall in love with but it still blew me away. I found it a little slow to start but it was just so lyrical and lovely and she's now an auto buy author for me after loving her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series as well. Wonderful review Megan, thrilled you loved this one too <3 <3

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    1. I'm so glad you loved this one as much as I did <3 <3

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  28. I just finished reading this book over the weekend and it completely blew me away. Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far for all of the reasons you mentioned. If I can ever stop flailing about the book long enough, I need to write my review too. Your ending gif does perfectly sum it though. :)

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    1. Hehehe, I love FRIENDS too much! XD

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  29. I also loved this book! I know being quite lyrical and different it's definitely not for everyone - I get that - but I always love seeing people enjoying the same books I have!

    I also cant' wait to see what happens in the sequel - that ending was quite crazy!

    Love the quotes you used at the end. :)

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    1. I know! Why can't the sequel be here already!?

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  30. I haven't read anything by Laini Taylor yet, and I sometimes feel like I am the only person! But I SO WANT to read this one. I keep seeing it in bookstore and on blogs, and it looks SO GOOD. I am so excited to read it, especially after reading your review. I hope I love it as much as you do!

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    1. The cover is so beautiful too! I hope it's a new favourite of yours too! <3

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  31. I've heard nothing but great things about this book, so I am so glad you enjoyed it so much as well! It sounds like such a powerful but relevant story. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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    1. Awwwwww, thanks so much Zoe! <3

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  32. I absolutely adored this book too! I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of it, and it's just so gorgeous I can't get over it. Great review!

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    1. Eek, so jealous of you getting an ARC! I'm so glad you loved it too! <3

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  33. Argh, so I was forced to return this book to the library about halfway in because it was due so I really need to pick it up again, but I just found out that my book club's gonna be reading Strange the Dreamer soon so I'll have to wait even longer *whines*.

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    1. Oh no! I really hope you get a chance to read it all soon so we can fangirl over it together <3

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  34. This book is definitely one that I am officially afraid of reading now! I've just read so many rave reviews that I think the hype will get to me. I didn't love Daughter of Smoke and Bone because I thought it would be mindblowlingly amazing from what everyone had said >.< So I am scared that the same thing will happen to Strange the Dreamer.

    I have ordered it from the library, though, because the story and elements that people have described seem like things I would love to read about in a book.

    I'm so glad you read this book at the perfect time you needed it, Megan! And lovely review <3

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    1. AWWW, thanks so much Chiara, you're the best <3 <3
      And I hope you love this book so much when you read it!

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  35. OMG, Megan!!! What an AMAZING review!! KUDOS to you, girl!!!

    You've just made me WANT this book, and I mean WANT, WANT, WANT!!! The only Laini Taylor book I've read so far is "Daughter of Smoke and Bone", which I did enjoy, with a couple of quibbles. However, this woman can WRITE. I mean, her descriptions, her character development, her world-building.... These can definitely send a reader into RAPTURES! I think that, in addition to being classified as YA, her novels should also be categorized as literary fiction. That's how BEAUTIFULLY she writes!

    Thanks for sharing! Hope you're having a WONDERFUL weekend!! <3 <3 :) :)

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    1. You are so so lovely Maria! <3 <3 <3
      You should read this one so we can chat about it together <3

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