Thursday, April 13, 2017
Strange the Dreamer
Info: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, copyright 2017, 533 pages
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 to 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?
Is it possible to think a book is absolutely beautifully written, but still not be overly crazy about it? (I think what's happening here is my need for confirmation that my feelings are normal :)
Lazlo Strange is a librarian (which enters "be still my heart" territory), an orphan, and, a dreamer. Obsessed with the lost city of Weep, he has been scouring the library and archives for years hoping to find any and all information on the city of legend, knowing that he will never have the opportunity to find it. That is, until the Godslayer comes to town and enlists a group of skilled individuals to travel to Weep to take back the city. What he discovers is far more interesting, and daring, and romantic than his dreams would have ever allowed.
I really liked Lazlo. There was, of course, the whole adorableness of his profession, but I also appreciated his compassion and kindness despite a difficult upbringing. People cared about him because he cared about people. Sad to say that you don't often see that in characters. His ego never got in the way of assisting the warriors and alchemists who had self-serving agendas.
On the magical side, the "blue-skinned goddess" Serai also shared many of those same qualities. (Trying for no spoilers!!) She had every reason to hate the human race, especially the Godslayer, but her powers offered her the opportunity to seek out compassion and understanding instead of hate and bitterness.
And as previously mentioned, Taylor is a talent. Like, really...she's good. She finds ways to weave words together in a way that is almost musical. Some authors explain and describe everything - telling you what you should be seeing and feeling, but Laini Taylor gives you just enough tot get your imagination going, and then she supports it without overdoing it.
My only problem with the book was the back and forth between Lazlo and Serai. I liked both of their storylines, especially when the storylines started to come together, but as often happens with multiple perspectives, I found myself getting frustrated because I wanted more from each. Things would just be getting good and then I would get pulled out of one character's head only to be dropped in the other's. And sadly, by the end, it left me wondering if I cared enough to go on. (The audiobook was also a little tricky - trying to remember names and places when they felt extremely unfamiliar...BUT Steve West is the reader, and his voice is super dreamer :)