Tuesday 28 March 2017

Review on Strange the Dreamer

Lazlo Strange has no idea where he came from. All he remembers is being taken to a monastery, and being raised by Monks. For his whole life, Lazlo feels like he doesn't belong. That is until he discovers the Great Library of Zosma, a magnificent library where he can learn all about the lost city of Weep, which along with losing it's real name, has been cut off from the rest of the world for over two hundred years. When Lazlo is given the opportunity to visit the city he has dreamed of all his life, he leaps at the chance. However, Weep is far from what Lazlo dreamed it would look like. Lazlo must help the citizens get their city back to how it was before the Mesarthum arrived. However, The Muse of Nightmares soon enters Lazlo's peaceful dreams, and after realising that she just might be real, Lazlo realises the Mesarthum may not be as ruthless as he has been led to believe.


I feel as if I have been waiting to read this book for ages, and that's because I have! Hodder contacted me back in March 2016 to do a cover reveal when the book was set to be released in September. To my dismay, the date got pushed back by a whole six months! However, after practically begging the poor marketing team for a proof, I finally got to read it and it was definitely worth the wait!

Although I have never read anything by Laini Taylor before, I have heard good things about her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, so I probably went into this book with my expectations a little on the high side. The book follows Lazlo Strange, a twenty year old man who has been obsessed with the lost city of Weep ever since he was five years old. I immediately loved Lazlo, and I adored that he was just as obsessed with books as I am! I also loved that he was a little older than most YA protagonists. As a twenty five year old who still believes she is a teenager, and never made the switch to adult books,there are rarely characters in my favourite YA books who are in my age group, so I loved that there was only a five year age gap between myself and Lazlo rather than the ten year age gap that I am used to. Another thing that instantly made me love Lazlo was that he wasn't the conventionally handsome fantasy protagonist that we are all used to, as he actually had physical flaws, including a broken nose. I felt as if this made Lazlo both more likeable and more believable, and it contributed to being completely absorbed in his world.

The book is initially split into two parts, with some of the chapters focusing on Lazlo's journey to Weep, and the other half focusing on Sarai and the other Mesarthum. Although I was initially more interested in Lazlo, I soon became absorbed in Sarai's story too, and was eager to find out how her world would collide with Lazlo's. I loved how the Mesarthum's abilities were revealed sporadically, keeping the reader in suspense over what each character could do.

I loved Lazlo's relationship with his new friends, especially Calixte. I loved the progression of their friendship, and how Lazlo was practically in awe of her. However, I was both confused and disappointed that their friendship seemed to practically disappear when they reached Weep. I initially thought Calixte was going to be a main character, so I was disappointed that she all but disappeared about half way through the book. I also disliked that Lazlo lived with Eril-Fane's mother, as it meant that he was isolated from the others, and interaction between them was limited. I took a liking to the alchemist, Thyon Nero, who was initially Lazlo's antagonist. As I often do with characters like Thyon, I  ended up feeling sorry for him, as he was making himself ill by trying to figure out how to destroy the mesarthium. I loved that Lazlo was constantly trying to help him even though Thyon had previously been horrible to him,and I also loved that it was Thyon who finally set Lazlo on the right path to discovering who he was.

We are given little hints towards what the problem in Weep is, and I loved that the reason shocks both the reader and Lazlo simultaneously. Laini is extremely talented when it comes to descriptive writing. Her prose always flows beautifully, and I ended up with a clear image in my head of what Weep looked like. I loved that although Lazlo had studied Weep for years, it wasn't how he thought it would like, and the reader saw what it really looked like at the same time as Lazlo

I loved that there was no good vs evil in this book, only two different groups of people who had both suffered at the hands of each other. We are told what happened in Weep from both sides of the story, and I loved that one side was no better than the other. Both the Tizerkane and the Mesarthum had done terrible things to each other, and it was impossible to choose one side over the other.

One thing that I was disappointed in was the romance. Anyone who regularly reads my reviews are probably tired of hearing this now, but I really don't like instalove. Coming close behind in romance tropes that I hate are love triangles. Sadly this book contained both. Although the love triangle didn't bother me too much, the instalove did. I adored both Lazlo and Sarai as characters, but I felt as if their relationship with each other developed far too quickly, as they were apparently in love in a matter of days. I ended up not caring much about their relationship because of this, as there was no build up whatsoever. I found the multiple chapters of them doing cute things together to be quite tedious, and I couldn't help but wonder if they genuinely had feelings for each other, or if it was because it was the first time someone of the opposite gender had taken any notice of them in that way, and they were just desperate to be intimate with someone. I felt as if their relationship was too predictable, as the minute that Sarai was introduced, I knew that she was going to become a romantic interest for Lazlo. Unfortunately, I felt as if not caring about their relationship lessened the impact of the ending for me.

Something that I always love is a good plot twist, and this book definitely delivered on that! As someone who is usually good at predicting plot twists, I did not see this one coming at all! Although it is obvious from the start that there is more to Lazlo than meets the eye, I definitely did not predict that it was going to go in the direction that it did.There were little hints throughout the book about where Lazlo came from, but I completely failed to pick up on them, and was completely shocked by the big reveal. I also loved how I was completely wrong in thinking that the prologue was something that had happened before the events of the book.

Although the romance just wasn't for me, I did adore the rest of this book. I did however feel as if it could be a little confusing for readers who don't often read fantasy, as in typical fantasy fashion, the majority of the characters have unusual names, and there are many creatures that Laini has invented herself. Even though fantasy is my favourite genre, even I had trouble for half of the book, where I kept getting the name of the Gods and a type of metal confused with each other! I do however think that the majority of fantasy lovers will adore this book! As the book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, I can not wait to see what happens next, and I honestly don't know how i'm going to cope with the wait for the second book. I would love for Thyon to be more of a central character in the next book, as I feel as if he had potential for a redemption, and I would love it if he became friends with Lazlo! I would also love for Calixte to make a comeback, as she was an interesting character who I would love to know more about. I can not wait to attend one of Laini's book signings next month, and of course, I will definitely be reviewing the sequel the minute it is released!

Strange the Dreamer is now available to purchase!

   | Amazon | Book Depository

To anyone who lives in the UK, I just thought you might like to know that Laini is going on tour! She will be doing talks and book signings all over the country, so make sure to check out if she is coming to your town! I am going to be attending the Liverpool event and I can't wait 😃😃

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this right now, really enjoying it so far. Love your review!