Book Review: STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

Title in white against a blue background with a gold line drawing on a moth with patterned body

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult (in the UK)
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book of duology


Book cover for STRANGE THE DREAMER: white moth shapes on a pale blue background around the gold titleThe 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 or 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?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


As with all of Laini’s books, the writing in this book is gorgeous. Don’t let the hideous UK paperback cover above fool you, it is a wonderful book. There’s a dreamlike quality to the words, appropriate for a book titled STRANGE THE DREAMER. It’s so lyrical, carrying you away with clever turns of phrase and beautiful description. If you haven’t read a Laini Taylor book, you should if only for the experience of her prose.

The writing helps conjure the wondering, imaginative mind of Lazlo Strange and bring him alive. He’s a reader who’s fallen into the adventure and world he’s always dreamed of – and found it very different to what he imagined, more beautiful, more unusual and yet uglier in reality. The contrast between his dreams and others’ helped reinforce his optimism.

The pacing of this book is measured and slow, better the enjoy the writing and let the world expand. The idea is so fun – the city in darkness – and I loved the way the consequences of the aftermath of revolt are explored. What happens once you kill your vicious, merciless overlords? How do you recover and rebuild? I often feel that fantasy prefers to explore the rebellion and end on the victory, but there is as important story to tell afterwards, and this is such a book.

The mysteries of Weep are fascinating, the answers teased out – and then only leading to more. The different characters’ approach adds a layer of tension, as well as the haunted past of the Godslayer. He was such a great character, the broken hero.

The ending is so abrupt, flowing with the rest of the book, but with events happening in rapid succession. It means you don’t quite have time to process the emotional weight of the events and revelations until the book is shut. Then you gape, and reach immediately for the sequel because how can they survive THAT?

Read my reviews of other books by Laini Taylor:

Strange the Dreamer (this series):


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