Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
|Book Name:||Strange the Dreamer|
|Publisher(s):||Hodder & Stoughton / Little, Brown Books|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||March 28, 2017|
“The library knows its own mind…When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”
I want to be stolen by a library. Pick me! Pick me!
All wishing aside, there are books where you soak in words so beautifully written that sometimes you don’t need to turn the pages just yet. Laini Taylor writes those kinds of books. I savored this book for as long as I could, because I simply didn’t want to reach the end, even if it meant knowing how it all worked out. If you have read her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, you are in for another delightful treat with Strange the Dreamer. Reading Taylor’s words is like watching a masterpiece as it is being painted. You know the finished result will be exceptional but to watch the brushstrokes as they bring the piece to life is just magical.
“…fog—tongues of white vapor extruding between the knuckles of the fur-dark hills—but it moved like a living thing, with a curious, hunting intelligence.”
Amongst these enchanting words, we are drawn into the life of Lazlo Strange. If ever there was an underdog, Lazlo is it. An orphan taken in by monks, his childhood bore no resemblance to one at all before he was finally snatched up by the Great Library of Zosma. There, the stories of the lost city of Weep, the Unseen City he had heard about as a child, finally found their roots and blossomed. Lazlo lived and breathed in search of every detail he could find from every ancient correspondence he could get his hands on—bills and receipts, trade ledgers, spies’ reports, minutes of royal secretaries. Every cherished piece of information he acquired, he transcribed into his own handmade collection of books. Lazlo knew his dreams of finding the Unseen City were impossible. After years of researching in the Great Library, he was no closer to having his multitude of questions answered, or knowing how an entire city’s history, including its very name, can be wiped away. But then,
“…the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around…it seemed to Lazlo that his dream had tired of waiting and had simply…come to find him.”
Once again, Lazlo is plucked out of the only world he knew but finally gets the chance to see if his Unseen City really exists. His endless immersion into Weep eventually pays off in the form of stories and details. He knew everything there was to know, including enough of its language to speak to a representative from Weep itself–a Tizerkane warrior and Godslayer, Eril-Fane.
A great strength of Laini Taylor’s writing is her lush development of characters. This book is no exception. Eril-Fane is not quite the anti-hero, but his road to fame involved not-so-brave acts that I found myself wrestling with in trying to identify with his decisions. It was gut-wrenching. Glimpses into the minds of secondary characters made my heart ache with sympathy. How such beautiful words can tell such a dark tale is extraordinary.
Needless to say, the worldbuilding is remarkable. At one point, I simply gave up trying to figure out if something was real or made-up. Her use of language is amazing. Stunning descriptions of creatures and scenery that won’t allow you to skim them over. I found myself re-reading sentences constantly, not because they were confusing, but for their clever elegance. So much brilliance radiates from each page.
This marvelous and often times heartbreaking tale is vividly told and poignantly felt. Read it to root for the downtrodden Lazlo Strange. Read it for the eloquent words and phenomenal imagery. Read it to grapple with life’s not-so-black-and-white struggles. Read it for the passions it invokes.
“…life won’t just happen to you. You have to happen to it…The spirit grows sluggish when you neglect the passions…”
With current world events, we need words and acts of beauty more than ever. You can escape just for a little while in the words of Laini Taylor. There, you can always find love, hope, and possibly, redemption. Because
“…that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.”