strange the dreamer by laini taylor book review



Ratings:  ★★★★★ (5/5)**

Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, dated March 28, 2017

Pages: 536 counts

Synopsis: Goodreads

I always preferred dystopian YA more than fantasy ones, but this book just ruined my tongue for all the other tastes (as how Lazlo put it and it’s funny 😄 ). I think from now on, I’ll try to balance my attention in between. I just turned the last page of this book two days ago but the story that Laini Taylor’s explicitly weaved into my imagination still lingers within me. Yes, this book deserved all the prominent stellar rate and it proved to be. Maybe, it is a combination of all the strange things your childhood memory can recover. You are free to add a Strange dreamer as its protagonist, or a strange city you can traverse that left you mesmerized and captivated by its mysteries. And Poof! This book is now at your service and I promise you this is when you want to cuddle with a spectacular (there are too much adjective words running through my veins, so this is an understatement but the best one to have at the moment, though) fantasy book that you can’t help but beguiled into.


Lazlo Strange, a war orphan brought by an eerie man in the gate of a monastery subjected by Kingdom of Zosma, was a child in awe of stories particularly of one, the mysterious city which was cut off two hundred years ago; its name has vanished fifteen years ago, only to be called Weep as an after taste. It became his mission possible to skitter, instigate search, and gather knowledge about what really happened to this lost Unseen City, a name that he branded himself for Weep. He became a junior librarian as a grown-up man who was rarely seen without a book open in front of his face.

He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all. On the occasions that he did look up from the page, he would seem as though he were awakening from a dream.Strange the dreamer,” they called him. “That dreamer, Strange.

He is too fond of books that caused his nose broken and left a vile scar as an evidenced of his madness about it. He is drifted too deep with myths, folklore, tale and other fanciful things, surreal in term, as no one of his countrymen could imagine to be real. In fact, the mysteries surrounding Weep had never leave him since he was a child, thus, it became his impossible dream. Or not as impossible as he thought. The possibility by then has arrived, as a white bird flocked its wings and Eril-Fane, also known as Godslayer, greeted Zosma. He conducted a search of his delegates that will help them solve the shadows of their dark times, an opportunity Lazlo believed to seize at all cost. From that moment, Lazlo’s fate has changed as well as how he believed himself to be.

Life won’t just happen to you, boy,” he said. “You have to happen to it. Remember: The spirit grows sluggish when you neglect the passions.”

He knew that, but the dream chooses the dreamer not the other way around.

From this point hereon, I count my reasons why this book is peculiar from its kind aside from its splendid ways of weaving its word that created luminous, rich and lyrical world of prose. This writer never fails to disappoint and I just confirm my chemistry with her. Her writing is..uhh, you need to read her work, right now! So, Let’s begin to count the ways this book swept me off my comfort zone:

Speaking of First, this is my first book narrated in third-person point of view which is too bizarre in my mind premises (I found myself re-reading the first 20 pages for adjustments) since I’ve always read a first-person POV. As the story unfold itself, I found out that it’s a necessity to put it that way because the author want me inside Lazlo’s and Sarai’s mind who has been introduced in the second part of the book.

As for fairy tales, he understood that they were reflections of the people who had spun them, and were flecked with little truths – intrusions of reality into fantasy, like toast crumbs on a wizard’s beard.”

Second, the story is slowly paced which made me savor the gist and tickle my imagination as it formed what the author want me to perceived. Some of the books, given those detailed manifestations and long descriptive phrases might bat an eyelash (which I’m guilty of doing at times) but this book is far way off that kind.

I’ll give a glimpse of its statistics- hundred pages to know Lazlo and his dreams, double hundred to know Sarai and a part of the Unseen City and triple folds for Lazlo and his company to reach it. But this has been an oblivious facts that takes the page numbers in form since it gives me a reading pleasure and curiosity which I think is vital for a reader-me to keep going.

Third, a favorite that justify my reasoning: Every characters in this book has broken my persona into pieces, a word I chose that can equate of how I reflect myself to each of them. A book where the feelings, characters development and significance isn’t only centered to the main characters, as a matter of fact, emotions are more palpable to the villains and supporting character which is unusual for a book. Intangible feelings has been reciprocated even to the place where it happened, generally, the story in its whole. I found my sensibility inside where I can see myself belonging invisibly to the world the author had created, a witness of its realm. The feelings are very complicated and contradicting, which is humane in every angle. The flaws had adversely made its characters well made.

He might have been called the Godslayer for good reason, but Lazlo didn’t fear him. He looked him right in the eyes and saw a man who was great and good and human, who had done extraordinary things and terrible things and been broken and reassembled as a shell, only then to do the bravest thing of all: He had kept on living though there are easier paths to take.

Fourth, the instant love story of two crossed-lovers. It is a brief encounter giving li’l taste of sweetness, nonetheless, it vindicated their dreamy kisses and almost sex scenes just enough (though I want to throw something to that golden interrupter). Instant love is one of my pet peeve since the day I learn how to read, but theirs are contradistinctive, it is supposed to happened that way. From the inception of their characters, I know that they are destined to love, it soothed and comforted my heart for all the grief, despair, even regret that this story had made me felt. They deserved that love despites the oddity of their identity: one, a vivid dreamer that turns pale to rainbow, dark to light, sorrow to laughter, even remade a monster to a God. The other, a muse of nightmare that turns dreams to chaos, lull to scream, happiness to grief manipulating every drop of brightness to darkness; haunted events, nightmares and dreams that brought them together.

Just like that they were two people sitting at a table regarding each other shyly through a wisp of tea steam.

Inside a dream. 

Within a lost city.

In the shadow of an angel.

At the brink of calamity.

Fifth, the values it had propagandized along the pleasures of fantasy: From Lazlo’s doubt that his dreams has chosen poorly to his adamant boldness to dare and go after his lifetime dream, to try amidst the whisper of impossibility and to risk everything to acquire it.

From Sarai’s identity as a godspawn who was conceived by despair, hate and darkness at birth, trained to sow anger and vengeance through her moths, to the benevolence, empathy and regret as she unfolds the past through the dreams and nightmares of the survivors of Weep. She proved that her identity isn’t about her parent’s blood but her own.

“No,” he said smiling. “I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And…” His voice grew bashful. Only in a dream could he be so bold and speak such words. “I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”

From Thyon’s life as the golden godson of Zosma being the alchemist who produced gold for the kingdom and for a queen who is greedy of fortune and power to a man who realized that there’s a cost and reward for every accomplishments. Through him, I have learned the secret of alchemy which corresponds to life, and spirit which in turn corresponds one’s soul can produced gold, which stands for happiness.

From Eril-Fane’s triumphant battle and heroic deeds that earned him the title of Godslayer beneath the tragic event that stole his identity, love, life, and family; yet chose to continue his life in spite of the nightmares of his past and from Azareen’s clad of fierceness that embodied Tizerkane’s armors, to the vulnerability that engulfed her wedding ring. These two characters depicted strength that  reflects our vulnerability and vice versa, that some of the greatest victory can bring sorrow and grief, that love can nourished despair and hate, and that every fall and defeat can bring peace and hope.

To wrap it up, it’s a pleasure to found this  kind of book. Its a book that debunk all dislikes I prevent to encounter in books, as a result, get me out of comfort zone. It’s a paradox of contradictions that seems to blend exquisitely. It is a layer of story over stories, fantasy over another fantasies, and a mysterious, magical, mystical world that Laini Taylor had welcomed me to visit which pierced its mark in my book equations. To tell the truth, I’m a psycho of endings and a spoiler of my own theory, so I’ve got some of its twists and turns before it unfolds yet it never keeps my ecstasy at bay. I’m still electrified to read the second part of the book. Indeed, This is a book that break all my rules and I highly recommended this for all the fantasy dreamers who want to experience the same quest.

Few will ever witness an act destined to become legend. How does it happen, that the events of a day, or a night-or a life-are translated into story? There is a gap in between, where awe has carved a space that words have yet to fill.


Plot: 4/5

Characters: 5/5

Settings: 5/5

Writing style: 4.75/5

Average: 4.75/5 *I rate this as five since its above the 4.5 mark. See my rating system here. (This review is longer than my expectation 😂)




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