Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316341684
Characteristics: 536 pages ; 24 cm


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PimaLib_ChristineR Feb 09, 2018

If ever a book deserved the title of "Lush" this book is it. Taylor casts a magic spell with her language, as if the reader has been sucked into, not a fairy tale, but into a universe where fairy tales are possible and where the ability to believe in things bigger than himself, makes Laszlo Strange, a dreamer, but also someone who can remain untainted by the petty nastiness of those around him. The plot is intriguing. The characters grow and become fleshed out, even those who aren't central to the story. But most important to this book is the writing. If you love words, this is a book for you. It feels like reading long pieces of poetry, if that poetry was the offspring of Coleridge and Asimov. As others have noted, the fact that this comes to a rather sudden and startling stop is unfortunate, but I'm willing to forgive the cliffhanger, as long as the next book gets here quickly!

Jan 25, 2018

I don’t have words to describe this book. It was mellow, thrilling, beautiful and magical all at once. The tale of Lazlo Strange enticed me from the first page and its entwinement with Sarai was so wonderfully done that I not once felt any negative feelings towards this book. Even the ‘villain’ characters made a place in my heart. We are introduced to Lazlo Strange, a young orphan who resides with monks, his only comfort the stories crazy Brother Cyrus tells him. He spends his childhood fighting imaginary Tizerkane warriors, dodging beatings from monks and indulging in stories of the city in Brother’s stories. But one day, the city’s name blanks out of his memory… and it’s not only his, but to all that knew it. In this moment, Lazlo experienced his first taste of magic when the name of his favourite city changed to “Weep”. Fate took another turn on the day he was sent to the library to run an errand… and never returned back to the monks. This novel follows his journey from the library basements to the legendary city of Weep, as his wits and intelligence take him places he only dreamt of his entire life. Because “the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.” When Sarai, a godspawn and Muse of Nightmares enters his life, there is more than just a taste; Lazlo experiences a whole feast of magic! I highly recommend this book, I couldn’t put it down! My review and the synopsis don’t do justice to the beautiful prose and writing style. Rating 5/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

forbesrachel Jan 25, 2018

Lazlo Strange has a big dream. As a boy, he thrived on fantastical stories, especially those revolving around the near-mythical city of Weep. A city which isolated itself from the world, and then lost its name. Lazlo wants to find it. But Lazlo is not the type of person who would normally be at the centre of such an adventure… and he knows it. In his teenage years, this studious young man, ends up as the leading, and only, authority on all things Weep, so when a contingent from said city comes looking for help, he finally takes the step he needed, and goes with them. Weep is appropriately named, for a shadow looms over it.

Living above this shadow is the other main character, a young woman named Sarai who has a terrible gift and a fate that keeps her, and her family, imprisoned. The yearning in Sarai’s and Lazlo’s voices makes them very sympathetic characters. Both believe themselves powerless to overcome the life they feel trapped by, and yet they have qualities that can overcome them. They also develop strong moral compasses, and they find comfort and strength in one another. The depiction of the world is heavily influenced by the viewpoints of these two. It is bleak at times, and magical in others. Taylor’s book is fairly large, but it is a fast and engaging read, in part because the author knows when to lay in the description, and when to hold back.

However, it is unfortunate that Lazlo’s journey to Weep was basically skipped over. It would have been nice to see how he changed, and the types of relationships he built up over that time. Certain secondary characters were underutilized, although they may have a bigger part to play in the next volume. This is especially true for the intriguing and fun figure of Calixte, who was set up as an important friend, and yet seemed to disappear from the narrative soon after they arrived in Weep.

Finally, there is the rather irksome cliffhanger at the end. Having the question of "how can they possibly get through this" at the end, leaves us with no real sense of resolution to the volume. Certainly the main "quest" is resolved, but it turned out to be superficial. There are still plenty of other questions left unanswered, but they haven't become key to the plot yet. This is all of course testament to how much this book pulled us in, not a criticism of it. If you hate being left with a cliffhanger, wait until the next volume is published, you will likely want to dive right in.

JCLChrisK Dec 29, 2017

"And just like that they were two people sitting at a table regarding each other shyly through a wisp of tea steam.
"Inside a dream.
"Within a lost city.
"In the shadow of an angel.
"At the brink of calamity."

A wonderfully crafted world with atmosphere and mythology. A pair of admirable protagonists. A plot full of constant surprises. Language worth savoring. Deeply felt emotions.

If only I had noticed it does not stand alone and ends on a cliffhanger.

Excellent fairy tale fantasy.

Dec 07, 2017

Brilliant and fantastic! After a few chapters, this was a book I simply could not put down and only wanted to devour more and more. The depth of imagination captured within the pages of this book was profound and I found the world to be so beautifully crafted; it was easy to lose yourself in such wonders. I was only disappointed to not be able to start reading the next instalment straight away – torture! This was the first book I have read of Laini’s and I am looking forward to exploring her other novels in the hopes they too will be an amazing journey like this one has been.

Nov 22, 2017

One of the most beautifully written and imaginative books I've ever read. Other commenters stated that they felt the book was slow in the beginning, but I was hooked from first to last word without any thought to the story not moving quickly enough. I found every detail incredibly absorbing and the world the author created so stunning. I am so excited that there is a sequel in the works. Don't hesitate to read this book.

peterpanbookclub Nov 10, 2017

What a gorgeous world Laini Taylor has built around the amazing character, Lazlo Strange! Tragic histories, difficult lives, uncertain futures and love are woven intricately together in the city of Weep. Lucinda LOVED this YA Fantasy, and can't wait for the next in the series! Of course, who doesn't love a good underdog story, when searching for a hero ...?

Nov 02, 2017

Intriguing concepts and story but some times slow and disorienting when switching points of view. Curious to find out what happens next...

AshleyF2008 Jul 22, 2017

This was my first time reading a book by Laini Taylor and I was impressed! She has a beautiful writing style and all of her characters, even those we aren't positioned to like, have depth. I really can't wait for the next one.

Note: Story does start a little slow and there are some areas where the author might have cut down on text without affecting the story. But I'm really not complaining.

kirstd31 Jul 20, 2017

I love this author. But this book seemed a little slow at the beginning of the story. When I read to around 200 pages I did not want to put the book down. I needed to know more about the magical city of Weep.

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Feb 09, 2018

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

RobertELPL Jul 07, 2017

RobertELPL thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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JCLChrisK Dec 29, 2017

One can't be irredeemable who shows reverence for books.

AshleyF2008 Jul 17, 2017

"One looked at him and thought 'Here is a great man, and also a good one,' though few men are ever both." -pg 69


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