Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 544 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
Strange the Dreamer is probably my biggest disappointment of the year. I was super excited for this one, but it wound up being super boring. Seriously, nothing happens until the last several chapters. When it starts, we meet Lazlo Strange as a child. He’s an orphan and is raised to be a librarian. As he gets older, he becomes obsessed with stories about a lost city known as Weep. To everyone Weep is just a fairy tale, but Lazlo believes it exists. Especially when his research leads to successfully creating gold.
I was extremely bored with Strange the Dream from the very beginning. It’s just so slow going and I felt disconnected from Lazlo. He’s basically a laughingstock for being so invested in the lost history of Weep. I had a burst of hope when Thyon Nero takes all of his books to make gold without crediting him. Maybe Lazlo will do something! Nope. Nothing. Although when the Godslayer from Weep appears, Lazlo does beg to be taken on the journey back to the lost city even though he has no useful skills. Um, okay?
Other than Lazlo, the other narrator of Strange the Dreamer is Sarai, a child of the gods. She lives in the floating citadel above Weep with four other children of the gods, although no one knows that they’re there. Fifteen years ago, the Godslayer, well, slayed all of the gods and their children, but he missed those five. Now they live in secret and torment the citizens of Weep. Well, Sarai does since she can enter dreams and manipulate them into nightmares. She does it on the orders of one of the other godspawn though, because she’s not like that and likes humans, and whatever. She’s boring, although her power is pretty cool.
Aside from being boring and giving me no reason to care about either main character, I had huge issues with Strange the Dreamer‘s world building. It’s all basically built on rape. The people hate the gods because they kidnap men and women, hold them in the citdel, and use them to make children. They steal their memories when they put them back, and mess with their minds while they’re still there. The Godslayer didn’t lose his memories though, which is why he went on a killing rampage. But all of the godspawn are products of rape which is why everyone hates them, even though it’s not their fault. I really could have done without that. Isn’t there some other basis for Fantasy worlds?! It doesn’t seem like it.
Strange the Dreamer was just a mess. The plot is so slow and boring. The world building is atrocious and uncomfortable. The main characters have zero personality or backbone. The romance was just kind of there. It’s a case of “no one’s ever been kind to me before, so let’s kiss.” There’s no chemistry whatsoever. I would believe Lazlo and Thyon going from enemies to lovers instead, but that’s just wishful thinking. I honestly don’t care enough to read the second book to find out what happens next, especially since I saw that big reveal at the end coming from the beginning.