Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

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 to 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?

Laini Taylor knows how to write an epic story! As I started reading, I had no idea what I was in for. Lazlo Strange, a young librarian and dreamer, starts off the narrative, introducing readers to the mysteries of Weep, the city with no name, the city that has had its history swept from the world. Lazlo's efforts pave the way for the events of the rest of the novel, slowly building up expectations for when readers are finally introduced to the greater cast of characters, and the city with no name.

When the Godslayer shows up and Lazlo becomes part of a quest to remove the last remnants of the gods from Weep (the godspawn), he brings his dreams with him, creating a link between the hidden dimensions of the children of gods and those sent to destroy the last vestiges of their existence. The stakes are high, the plot is suspenseful, the characterization is superb... I can't wait for the next in the series or trilogy or duology or whatever it happens to be.

One thing that I love very much about this book is that one of the main characters, Lazlo, is a librarian. Taylor's love for books, libraries, teachers, and librarians is evident throughout the novel, from Lazlo's love of storytelling, to the significance of storytelling and collecting tales from throughout the world, to the dedication that Lazlo proves over others in his peer group because he is a lover of stories rather than simply a scholar in love with collecting information. This is a glorious thing, the true appreciation of stories and storytelling, and I was very happy to see the role and the respect for this shown within the pages of Strange the Dreamer.

I am, of course, annoyed that this is only book one and that I need to wait what is likely to be a while before the next book comes out. However, I am glad that I have had the opportunity to begin this journey and to dig into this new world of Taylor's imagination. I look forward to the continuing story of so many of these lovable (and nasty) characters!

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out March 2017)


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