Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor
Lazlo Strange is a foundling with no family, a junior librarian, but most of all, a dreamer. He believes in magic and ghosts, and that every fairy tale has a grain of truth. His greatest obsession is the lost city of Weep, cut off from the rest of the word 200 years ago. Until now.
What mysterious problem has caused the people of Weep to search for outside help? And how will Lazlo, junior librarian with a dream, convince them to let him come along?
I adored this book. I think the only thing that keeps me from giving it a solid 5 stars is that certain plot elements felt a bit more predictable than I’d like, but the story was so much fun that it made it difficult to mind.
Strange the Dreamer deals with a lot of dark topics (death, child abuse, and rape to name a few), but Taylor’s writing style is so lovely and the world she has built so captivating that the overall experience of reading this book never feels overly gloomy. There is always just enough light and hope to drown out the darkness.
The characters are one of this story’s biggest strengths. Everything about Lazlo is endearing, and his obsession with Weep is contagious. Sarai’s helplessness and insecurity are heartwrenching, and I spent most of the story filled with a sense of protectiveness for her. The secondary characters feel fleshed-out enough to be interesting; Taylor has given enough thought to backgrounds for antagonists that they ring true. They feel like people doing what they feel they need to do, not one-dimensional villains who are evil for the sake of evil. That level of nuance lends so much authenticity to the story.
This book was beautiful. Any fan of fantasy who hasn’t read it yet is missing out on a treat.
The sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is set to be released October 2018.