21 April 2019

Review: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor cover
I haven't been this impressed by an author's imagination and world building since reading my first Harry Potter. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor is a Young Adult fantasy novel and not what I typically read. However, when I read that the main character Lazlo Strange, a war orphan with an active imagination comes to work in a great library after being raised in a monastery by monks, I was keen to pick this up.

Strange was the surname given to all foundlings in the Kingdom and he was given to the monastery as a baby during war time. Strange grew up fascinated by stories and obsessed with the mysteries of the lost city of Weep.

At the age of 13, Strange was asked to deliver some manuscripts to the Great Library of Zosma but never went back. Strange felt instantly at home amongst the manuscripts and scrolls and was taken on as an apprentice. The descriptions of the Great Library of Zosma were incredible and I longed to walk through the Pavilion of Thought and scan the shelves. Imagine the Citadel in Game of Thrones and you can't go wrong.

"The Great Library was no mere place to keep books. It was a walled city for poets and astronomers and every shade of thinker in between." Page 14
"Shelves rose forty feet under an astonishing painted ceiling, and the spines of books glowed in jewel-toned leather, their gold leaf shining in the glavelight like animal eyes." Page 15
The writing is atmospheric and transported me from the first page, here's the description of a kiss from Page 421:
"A first kiss… [it’s like]… finding a book inside another book. A small treasure of a book hidden inside a big common one - like… spells printed on dragonfly wings, discovered tucked inside a cookery book, right between the recipes for cabbages and corn. That’s what a kiss is like, he thought, no matter how brief: It’s a tiny, magical story, and a miraculous interruption of the mundane."
Strange the Dreamer is overflowing with the most amazing writing that made me feel as though I were immersed inside a fairytale. Full of magic, gods, alchemists, scholars, myths and legends, Laini Taylor swept me so far away that I felt I wasn't reading at all. I was very much part of Lazlo's world and accompanying him on his adventures.

Strange the Dreamer is the first in a duology and an absolute certainty for inclusion in my Top 5 Books of 2019. The best part? I have the sequel Muse of Nightmares on my shelves ready to be enjoyed.

Highly recommended!

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Eye catching cover! I am considering reading this one...

  2. Thanks Theresa, the original blue cover was even better if you can imagine. I'm regretting I didn't buy it then and now you can't buy a copy with that cover in bookshops. Cover art aside, I really hope you'll give this one a try. Just read the Preview from the GoodReads page for the book and you'll know if it's for you or not.

  3. Not my normal read either but I'm going to give it a go Cheers Carole

  4. So glad to hear you'll be giving this one a go Carole. Fingers crossed you enjoy it half as much as I did.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!