Strange The Dreamer Book Review

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Strange The Dreamer

Laini Taylor

Little Brown

March 28, 2017

528 pages

Star Rating: 4/5 stars

Spoiler Level: I think it is better to know nothing about this story when you first read it, but there are no spoilers unless I let you know.

“Lazlo couldn’t have belonged at the library more truly if he were a book himself. In the days that followed-and then the months and years, he was rarely to be seen without one open in front of his face. He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or didn’t sleep at all”

Lazlo Strange is a war orphan and junior librarian and has an impossible dream. He is obsessed with the lost city of Weep, and he longs to venture into it. Then an oppurtunity to not only go to Weep but to save it presents itself and Lazlo knows he has to seize it. Many mysteries surround this city though, and it may be more dangerous than he suspects.

From the very first chapter, I instantly cared for Lazlo. He is a librarian that is obsessed with books and wants to help people no matter what. Seriously he is one of the kindest characters I have ever read about. I also loved how he made friends with the other people traveling to Weep.

“He realized that all this time he’d been looking to the Godslayer as a hero, not a man, but that heroes, whatever else they are, are also men- and women- and prey to human troubles just like anybody else.”

Though I loved Lazlo, my two favorite characters in this entire story to read about were Thyon Nero and Eril-Fane. They were both really interesting side characters with motives and backstories. Eril-Fane’s inner conflict about being the “Godslayer’ was a fascinating aspect to this book.

“Or, perhaps Minya was all viper and Sparrow was all darling, but the rest of them were just… they were just flesh and spirit and youth and magic and hunger and yes, saliva, all bottled up and nowhere to go.”

Sarai has been living her entire life in a citadel in the sky. The only contact she has had has been with her four fellow Godspawns (children of the gods), and some ghosts. The people of Weep want to kill Sarai and her family, so Sarai knows that they must hide. However, when many people from different parts of the world arrive to Weep with the intent of destroying their home, Sarai doesn’t know how to save her little family.

Sarai was unlike any female protagonist that I have read about before. She is very conflicted with the darkness of her gift and the bitterness that she should feel and the fact that she isn’t bitter and doesn’t want to torment the people that wronged her so long ago. I loved the internal conflict, however I felt like her perspectives in this story were not as fleshed out as Lazlo’s chapters.

“She hadn’t chosen humans over godspawn, but life over death-for all their sakes”

Minya was a really creepy character that did some horrible things. I really wanted Ruby to set her on fire many times. However despite all the inexcusable things she did, I still felt bad for it. I did not liked her, but I understood her. The others members of the godspawn family were a lot less fleshed out however. We kind of got to know Feral, Ruby, and Sparrow in the first couple chapters of Sarai’s perspective, but once Lazlo showed up it was like they didn’t exist anymore.

“Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

“Beautiful and full of monsters?”

“All the best stories are.”

The world of Strange the Dreamer was super inventive and intricate. It also was built beautifully, and I loved how information was given to the reader.  The writing in this book was also beautiful. It made the whole book have a dream like quality and transported me to a different place. The only problem was that I felt like this book needed to be tightened up a little bit.

The plot took a really long time to set up. Which I was totally okay with! I thought this would be a book where Lazlo was trying to save Weep and take down the citadel and Sarai would have to try and save the citadel and they both would have opposing goals. However all of those objectives were abandoned after Lazlo and Sarai met each other. There romance ruined the entire plot that was being set up in the first half of the book. This made me kind of mad, because this was the same problem I had with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

The following paragraph contains mild spoilers. Read with caution.

The reason Strange The Dreamer was not a 4.5-5 stars book for me was because of the very last chapter. I felt like this would have been a really good stand alone, but then the last chapter created an end that was supposed to make the reader read the next book (but it just frustrated me). The whole blackmail aspect was kind of generic and ruined the dreamy and whimsical aspect of this story. It also ruined Lazlo’s character for me. He kind of abandoned and betrayed his life long dream without a second thought, and it weakened his character for me. I also felt the plot twist with him was super predictable, and I guessed it when we first learned about Sarai.

Overall Strange The Dreamer was an original and magical story that I really loved. Most of the characters were intricate and well developed. The writing was gorgeous. However, the plot was not very strong and the end frustrated me. Have you read this story? What did you think of it? Who was your favorite character? Did you like the end? I would love to know.

Currently Reading: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab







  1. I really want to read Strange the Dreamer, but I keep putting it off. It seems like most everyone raves about it, and based on the reviews I think it’s something I’ll enjoy. I just need to stop pushing it off and just read it already.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t read the review bc, as you said, I’d like to go in not knowing much but hopefully I’ll be picking this one up soon! I’ve heard so many good things and I recently got Daughter of Smoke and Bone from the library so that will be my first Laini Taylor book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. New to your blog, but wonderful review! Strange is my favorite read of 2017 so far ☺️ It was especially interesting to see your take on the ending; going into it, I knew it was a duology, so I guess I was kind of expecting something like that. I can totally see your side though!
    😱 And you’re reading ADSOM now! My favorite 🙌🏼 Looks like we have similar reading tastes, so I look forward to keeping up with your blog 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderfully written review! I absolutely loved Strange the Dreamer. It’s impossible for readers not to automatically relate to Lazlo, given his endless daydreaming and preference for books over the outside world.

    Liked by 1 person

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