Book Review: Strange the Dreamer

Spoiler Free.

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Going into my last finals week (ever) I was looking to read something relaxing and fun. I wanted something low commitment but still interesting enough to give me a break after a long day of studying.

Strange the Dreamer is not the book I should’ve read.

Instead of casual and fun, I got a whirlwind of fascinating and moving storytelling. I couldn’t put it down once I got to around the hundredth page. Screw tests and essays, I had to find out the mysteries of the lost city of Weep. 

The characters are fantastic–in both senses of the word. Not only are they beautifully written, but they all have elements of fantasy that make them so interesting. Lazlo Strange is a wonderful character to follow throughout the novel, as is the other narrator (who shall remain a secret). He is every book nerd’s dream (no pun intended), and he is also just a kind soul. It feels a privilege to be part of his narrative. Just a nice guy who loves to read and wants to help in any way he can.

Laini Taylor has created a remarkable world full of dazzlingly real and complex characters. Lazlo is wonderful, but I especially liked the “god spawn”–children of the gods who have survived a horror and are entirely shaped by it. Taylor has crafted such a range of people that you spend the entire novel going back and forth, seeing both sides, and unsure what the solution should be.

By the end, I was crying. I was entirely immersed in the world and involved in the characters. And that ending. Wow. I stayed up into the night to finish it, and this review has taken so long because I needed to recover from how much the book moved me. The themes of inter-generational hate, how fear of a thing can be passed down through the ages. 

With this book, knowing less is better. You want to come into this world completely fresh, with no prior expectations besides to be amazed. It’s a wondrous work, and Taylor’s masterful writing allows you to fully submerge yourself in it. You struggle with the characters, you feel their pain and indecision. 

Strange the Dreamer ended up being the perfect book to launch me back into reading for fun, and I cannot suggest strongly enough that you read and experience it. Experience it and fall in love with it as I did. Please read this book. It is so important.

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