Strange the Dreamer – Saturday Discussion

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”
Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer


Synopsis

The 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?

Welcome to Weep.


Reviews

Jenn: I have said it before and I will say it again this is my favorite book of the year so far. This story is intricate and immersive. I found myself enchanted and charmed by the characters. It had everything I want in a fantasy novel. I can’t wait for the next book. 5/5

Eden: Strange The Dreamer impressed and surprised me. It was a book that I waited for for a while as I watched Laini Taylor tweet updates on its progress. I had high hopes but never did I expect to love it quite so much. The story of Lazlo Strange and Sarai is one that felt like a myth that Taylor reinvisioned. She breathed life into a beautiful world that captivated me from the prologue. 5/5 stars. 

Caitlynn: This book is everything that I hoped it would be. I love me a good Fantasy novel and this hits just the right spot for me. It renewed my love affair with Laini Taylor and I’m so excited to see what the next book in this duology brings us! 5/5 stars!


Discussion

Eden: Alright, so thoughts on Strange the Dreamer?

Jenn: 5 out of 5.

E: Same, 5/5.

Caitlynn: Me, too.

J: I’ve continued to say that this is my favorite book of the year and I definitely stand by that.

C: Really?

J: Yeah.

C: What about you, Eden?

E: It’s not my favorite book of the year…

C: Because of Caraval?

E: No, I think it’s Eliza and her Monsters actually.

C: What, really?!

E: Yeah. I really really loved that book. But this is definitely top three for me though. I really enjoyed it and thought it was really interesting. I think the only reason I didn’t make it number one is because it was really dense, so it took me a lot more time to get into it.

C: But, girl, that next book is going to be so good!

E: Yeah, the next book is going to be amazing.

C: Because it’s supposed to just be a duology, right?

J: Yeah, just a duology. It was supposed to be a standalone…

C: There’s no way that book ever would have been a standalone!

J: Taylor decided because of the way the story was moving that it needed to be a duology.

C: I’m so excited.

J: It was originally signed on as just a standalone.

C: I think I saw that the main character and everything were originally pitched totally differently than what it turned out to be…

E: It was supposed to only be about Sarahi originally…

J: Lazlo was just supposed to kind of be in it but he quickly turned into the star.

E: Yeah and she found that Lazlo was the star of the story, Sarahi was still the star also, but not quite what she needed.

C: Like, it was a better point of view from his point of view.

J: Yeah, it gave much more depth to the world from his point of view.

C: Well, it was a good choice because he was such an interesting character.

C, also: The prologue really threw me off.

E: So, I read the prologue and I didn’t understand it, I glossed over it pretty quickly because I didn’t know what was going on.

C: I was confused.

E: Yeah, as I got back into the world, I kept going back to it and trying to put it in context with the story.

E, also: My immediate assumption with a prologue is that it happens before the story, so my thought kept going back to the slaughter of a God or one of the Godspawn.

C: I think that’s what threw me off the most, is that I almost always assume that the prologue happens before the story takes place.

E: I just continued to question all throughout the book.

J: And I think that’s the point.

E: It was good, I really enjoyed it. I liked that I didn’t know if or how everything was going to be resolved.

J: What I liked about this was that it felt very reminiscent of mythology with the heroes journey. So it had that predictable path in that I could see why certain things were happening and where we going in the story. That said, I couldn’t really predict how things were going to be resolved or how certain plot points would be made.

J, also: The beginning was dense, yes, but that is really what made this book for me. All of the information and world building that was done at the beginning that made it feel so real. I could picture every little detail in this book because of her set-up.

E: It’s like she just throws you into a book like how Brandon Sanderson does for Mistborn. She’s using the language and terminology of the world and we are picking up on it as we go and while that can feel jarring or difficult when getting into the book it really makes the book feel whole and complete at the end.

J: I think compared to other YA books, where you are thrown into something and it’s explained to you right after, this book could be compared to learning a language in a class versus going to a country to learn the language. You’re so immersed in it in the country and that’s how Taylor’s book felt to me. The reader has to adapt and feel the connections due to that, so you can’t just have a lazy reader for this book.

E: She creates a much bigger picture, I think. We always talk about pretty writing, Taylor writes so well and every detail creates the world.

C: Which is why it took us (Eden and I) so long to read it…

E: Yeah and every detail matters. It’s not every book where every single word matters in the book. You aren’t necessarily going to miss something if you skim other books, but with Strange you had to pick up all these details.

C: And Laini Taylor… she knows how to do a main character. Between this book and Daughter of Smoke & Bone… Lazlo is one of my favorite characters of all time now.

E: I was surprised how much I liked Lazlo so quickly.

C: He’s the most likable character.

J: It’s because he’s real, he’s not like an overly kind person who does no wrong. He felt like a real character who was stumbling through things and that’s what made him so likable for me. He didn’t have all of the answers and he didn’t think he was the greatest.

C: And there was still no malice to him, whatsoever.

J: Yeah.

C: I think I appreciated that the most in him, yes everybody has some sort of malice in them but it was nice to see a character that just genuinely didn’t have any sort of malice to him.

J: Yes, because he didn’t understand why other people would need to be that way.

E: It’s funny, because I mentioned Eliza and her Monsters and both of these stories are very much to do with living in your own world and marching to the beat of your own drummer and I feel like that’s very much becoming a big thing in YA right now.

J: I think it’s because it’s so important to have people who aren’t sure of who they are but still being okay with the journey that they are taking. Most of the time with coming of age stories it’s very much about the end goal and very much about who they want to be at the end. It’s nice to see someone going through this development and are okay with who they are in-between. It’s a big deal for teens who are reading this to accept who they are in the meantime.

E: I think that’s what’s great about Lazlo–he wasn’t the most attractive, he wasn’t the most intelligent and he wasn’t the strongest–but he could recognize that. He knew what his strengths and weaknesses are, he knew he could tell a damn good story. We don’t have characters that like themselves for what they are, you either have the perfect heroine or the struggling person…

J: Or the quirky, weird girl.

E: Exactly.

C: So, what did you guys think about the Godspawn?

J: I loved them.

C: All of them?

E: Yes, I loved all of them.

J: I loved how they worked together, I loved the reasoning behind who they were and their motivation felt really true to their characters.

E: When an author can make me like the “villain” of the story, I know they have done a good job. I loved Minya, I felt for her, she’d given her all.

J: She was doing what she thought was right.

E: Yeah and I think I loved that you got to see the fault and also the love.

J: It was just misplaced…

C: I was so fully immersed in the story, so I really felt the villainous traits in her because I felt what Sarahi was feeling. So I’m not sure how I feel about her because I still feel very angry with her through Sarahi’s point of view. I’m excited to see what the next book brings.

C, also: Also, today I realized this book has given me a new awareness and appreciation for moths. I was in my car and a moth was flying around, usually I would freak out and try to get it out but today I was more like “Aww, I miss Strange…” I’m ready for a re-read now. I feel like I would appreciate it so much more the second time around.

J: I had to get used to Taylor’s writing style again at the beginning…

C: I got into this book and remembered my love for her writing style all over again.

E: I don’t think she writes the way that most YA authors would typically write.

C: I even felt that during Daughter of Smoke and Bone, too.

E: And I like that. She’s kind of a step between YA and adult Fantasy.

C: I totally recommended this book to my dad, even though he hates that I recommend books that are part of series that aren’t done.

J: 10 out of 10 would read again!

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11 thoughts on “Strange the Dreamer – Saturday Discussion

  1. I liked that Laszlo was not a superhero main character. He was an Everyman. It made it really easy to identify with the journey he went through. I went to a book signing and Laini Taylor said that he was an homage to her husband and I liked that very much also. I gave it only four stars because of how long it took to get into but that was the only reason.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I totally agree with everything that you said! I didn’t hear about Taylor saying it was a homage to her husband, so cute! I’m so glad she changed the narrative and POV of this story to focus on him, it truly made the story awesome.

      -Caitlynn

      Like

    1. I will definitely have to add it to my audiobooks list then! I’m already ready for a re-read of this amazing book. I’m glad you enjoy our discussions, thank you so much!

      -Caitlynn

      Like

  2. I had never read anything by Taylor before and really only picked this up because of hype and that beautiful cover. I think it surprised me the most of any book I’ve read this year, and it’s absolutely one of my favourites. I struggle to describe just why I loved it so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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