Strange the Dreamer, Taylor's latest book, follows Lazlo Strange, an orphan, a librarian, and a dreamer. Since childhood, he's been obsessed with mythical stories about the forgotten city of Weep, but no one else seems to believe him when he says the stories are true. Until the Godslayer arrives and invites him and several others to journey to Weep and learn what happened to the city two hundred years ago--and what other mysteries are waiting for them.The problem with Strange the Dreamer, if one can call it a problem, is that the concept and the world-building and the characters are so bizarre. Not bizarre in a bad way though. Bizarre in a unique, enchanting way. It's a hard book to explain to people. Instead, you just have to scream at them to go read it. (Or something.) But the way Laini Taylor tells this tale--from the opening myth to the life of Lazlo to the interlacing story of the god children--it never comes across bizarre or confusing. It works. It works too well, that it has to be magic.
Lazlo's life as an orphan, then a librarian, and then the secretary of the Godslayer is intriguing in of itself, but pairing it with several other threads bolsters the story and gives it a wider scope. Somehow each character, from the smallest to the greatest, the most minor to the most major, is important and needed in the story. Without a single character, this story somehow would not be the same.
The world-building is much the same. All the details and depth that have been poured into this story help to weave the magical tale. Without knowledge of how Lazlo became an orphan or how he was treated in the library, without knowing how the god children live every single day of their lives in the temple, the story would not be the same. Somehow the intricate details that may seem unimportant, overbearing, or drawn out to sound pretty or create more pages are vital to the book's story.
In addition, the pacing of the book works wonders. There are moments of lingering, of dreaming, of letting the story just mingle and melt, but there are also moments of action and chaos and sadness and deepness. Even though the story takes a while to get going and there seem to be chapters that take longer to read, the book isn't boring. It isn't dragging or draining. It's all mesmerizing--and dare I say, dreamy?--and vivid. Despite it taking longer to read because of the page length, I adored every word. I gobbled up the descriptions and word choice, and sometimes I had to let the words wash over me because of how phenomenal the writing is.
The way the story all ties together with the various character threads, with Lazlo being called 'the Dreamer,' and with the rich history of Weep is stunning. There is a way to writing where there are enough hints that readers can start to guess some of the stuff that will happen, maybe have an inkling in their minds nudging at them, that when they get to certain points in the book they gasp because they knew, they just knew, that things would come together in such a way. There were moments where I knew this or that would happen, but it never felt too obvious or cliche or predictable. It felt right. It was as if when I read upon specific parts I made a discovery that I had known would be there all along without realizing it until that point.
I thought I adored the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy for all of these reasons, but somehow I don't think those books can even compare to the absolute marvel of Strange the Dreamer. (But they are still worth reading if you like crazy mythology and angels and monsters.) Laini Taylor is a wordsmith, through and through. If you're a fan of Laini Taylor, a fan of rich fantasy worlds and odd concepts, of magic and dreaming, of myths and legends... and if you want a good story with great characters, read Strange the Dreamer.
What can I say? I like strange things.
What is one book that left you absolutely enchanted by the story?
~I checked out a copy of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor from my local library and chose to write a review for it of my own freewill. All opinions are my own.~