Strange The Dreamer by Lainin Taylor
Rating: 5 stars
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I am truly awe inspired by this wonderful book that I've just read. I had heard wonderful things about Laini Taylor's Strange The Dreamer but they hadn't quite prepared me for what I was about to read. From the opening chapters, it was clear that this was going to be something very special.
Firstly, there is the beautiful writing. This book is sizeable at nearly 500 pages and it's not just that but the fact that you don't want to rush reading this book. The whimsical writing is so descriptive and colourful and beautiful that you want to take every last bit in. From the opening chapters we become swept away in the world of Lazlo Strange, the young foundling who leaves his monastery life to become a librarian in the city of Zosma. Destined to forever be a lowly librarian, helper of the scholars he hides a mind that is special because Lazlo is a dreamer and from his very early years he has been fascinated by the magical city known only as Weep. It did have a different name but years ago the name just disappeared from everyone's minds and now no one knows what it used to be called or why no one remembers it. Lazlo believes in Weep though and is desperate to know what happened, it's his dream to go and to understand more about the city.
One day a delegation of warriors from the lost city arrive in Zosma and offer the chance for a select few to travel with them to Weep to see for themselves what has gone wrong with the city and to help them put it right. Lazlo volunteers to go and suddenly he goes from being just a lowly librarian to someone with an expert knowledge in the city they are going to study and his opinions are valued, he's no longer a lowly orphan but a scholar in his own right.
As we reach Weep we begin to understand a little of what has happened there. Our characters expand and we meet Sarai, a young girl trapped in a palace above the city of Weep. We learn about why she is there and why she cannot leave and the people whom she lives with. Over the course of the book her world will collide with that of our dreamer Lazlo with some beautiful results that may just save the people of Weep, but at what cost.
This book was absolutely beautiful, I loved Lazlo so much. He was such a wonderful character to read, he was noble and good and his imagination flew off the page and into your mind as a reader and it was a joy to share his story. The world Taylor builds of Weep and its inhabitants is both rich and exciting and is unwound so well throughout the story when we begin to understand the story in full we still have delicious mysterious to unfold and an ending which is both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. The link at the end of the book back to the start took my breath away, it left me in pieces, it has been a long time since a book had quite that same effect on me.
I'd say I took about 5 days to read this book, I just couldn't rush it. I wanted to savour every bit in case I missed something. I swapped between the audio and physical books and found the audiobook just as enjoyable and it was narrated really well and so I could highly recommend this to those who prefer this format. Although I knew I had a huge TBR pile and had lots I wanted to read I still felt bereft when I finished this book, I wanted more of this world and its characters. I cannot wait for book 2 in this duology to be released as if it promises anything like as much pleasure as I gained from this book I'll be one happy reader.