‘Strange the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor is a deep book. It slowly sucks you in and devours you wholly.
Lazlo Strange is an orphan who embarks on an adventure to Weep, which has held his imagination and dreams since he was a boy. There, he unconventionally meets Sarai, a Godspawn and blight across Weep. Together, in their dreams, they grow something neither are familiar with (love) but even dreams have to end.
It was a bit of a slow start for me. I found that it took me longer to read a page than was normal and I couldn’t figure out if it was because of the story or because I had a cold. Either way, I wasn’t instantly sucked in and had to fight through the first 10 chapters before I felt the familiar urge to know what happens. By the end, I realised that this story forced you to savour it. It was decadent and not at all to be rushed. I’m very glad I persevered.
I found the setting of this book excitingly odd. Of course it is fantasy and there are going to be magical creatures and the like but I hadn’t prepared myself for it, I felt a lot like one of the Faranji. I enjoyed reading about the Godspawn and I found myself wanting to know more about them. There are a lot of questions that have been left unanswered and I can only hope these will be addressed in the sequel.
I liked Lazlo, he had a bizarre sense of humour (much like my own) and his belief of more in the world was new. He is a strong character despite his monk-ly upbringing and his love of books is definitely something we can all relate to. I liked that he never gave up his passion for Weep or his kindness for people who were perhaps undeserving of it. Sarai is another strong character. Her strength is different to Lazlo, it’s more singular and personal. Her understanding of the human’s actions says so much about her and I couldn’t help but like her for it. There was no judgement where she was concerned.
I would have liked to have seen more of Eril-Fane. His complexity has a lot of potential and it was a waste not to see more of his depth. I can only hope to see him again in the next one.
On the inside of the books jacket it reads ‘The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.’ and I can’t help but agree with this after finishing the story. I felt there was an underlying message to this; there was a sense of how unfair life could be. The book trembled with unhappiness; it was cloaked in a grey sadness much like lull. And as soon as there was a spark of light, of freedom from the gloom, it would rush back through the characters worse than before.
I loved the story, it was fresh, it was unique, it was rich with palpable imagination and feeling. I felt let down at the ending though. I thought the characters deserved more than the fate they were dealt (hence the docked star) but who knows? Maybe they’ll get their happy ending in the next book.
‘If you’re afraid of your own dreams, you’re welcome in mine.”
You can get it here