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A Wondrous Tale of Whimsy | Review of Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Year Published: 2017

    • Plot: 5/5
    • Characters: 5/5
    • Writing: 5/5
    • Overall: 5/5

I didn’t know what to expect from Strange the Dreamer (I read it on a whim) but I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I adored it! It was a lush, whimsical novel that was captivating until the very last page. The plot twists at the end were mind-shattering and I didn’t know what to do with myself! I was just crying and gasping with shock and I was probably bordering hysteria.

Taylor’s writing style was brilliant. It was vividly fantastical and absolutely breath-taking, each word like a brush stroke in the giant canvas of my mind that together painted a shimmering story of love and loss.

“He had crossed continents and drunk starlight from rivers without names. There was no going back from that.”

It told the tale of Lazlo Strange, a young man who was orphaned by the great war of Zosma and worked in a great library. He had one foot in the real world and the other in a land of dreams and wonder, he had a love for fantasy and fairy tales and was convinced that stories always had kernels of knowledge tucked between the pages ‘like toast crumbs on a wizard’s beard’. He was obsessed about the mystery of the city of Weep, a glorious city that was hostile to newcomers that cut of communications with all other cities and countries for no apparent reason many years ago, and was never heard of since. He wanted to know if the magic of his stories was real and he wanted to experience it for himself. Sadly, he thought his dream was impossible- until his dream came to him.

Lazlo was the most loveable, adorable character ever. How can you not like someone whose nose was broken by a book of fairy tales falling on it? It was amazing how he pursued his dream and how his passion and determination led him on the most magical journey imaginable. He was a prime example of the saying, ‘where there is a will, there is a way,’ because somehow, he managed to defy the odds set against him and fulfil his greatest wishes and more.

Sarai came in much further on in the story but was another one of the important characters in the book. She was a ‘godspawn’ and she had blue skin and the ability to enter and manipulate the dreams of others. Her relationship with Lazlo was the cutest, sweetest thing ever! They were perfect for each other and were equally dreamy and bursting with whimsy.

“I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you’ll let me be in your story.” 

Thyon Nero was ‘the golden godson’ of the queen of Zosma and generally the most annoying person in the world. He was tasked with turning  was so full of himself he couldn’t possibly dare recognise the good work of others and he couldn’t fathom the possibility that Lazlo, a lowly librarian, could possibly be better than him at anything. I did feel a bit sorry for him but that didn’t excuse his behaviour.

Another character which I felt really bad for but still didn’t like was Minya. She was a godspawn with the ability to capture the soul of a person shortly after they die and keep them as a ghost which she can control. When she was six years old she went though a harrowing event that changed her entire life. Fifteen years later, she still appeared to be a six-year-old and time, for her, had seemingly stopped. I found this to be a really interesting plot device because I guess when people go through traumatic experiences, time does almost stop and life divides into what came before and what came after – Minya’s story illustrated this very cleverly. She was so full of revenge after this event in her life that she became twisted with hate and she would not accept anything that wouldn’t help her achieve her revenge.

Overall, Strange the Dreamer was a gorgeous book that I absolutely adored and would recommend it to all the dreamers out there who are seeking an magical adventure.