Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
It seems that no sooner do we post a list of books than another one in that category hits the shelves. A few weeks ago, we published a list of new YA “latest in the series” books. At the time, we hadn’t yet gotten our hands on Laini Taylor’s most recent novel –first in a new series. (Check out our reviews of her earlier series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone: here and here.) Taylor is a master at creating believable fantasy realities and worlds. Her latest world is tantalizing, colorful, and simply magical. There is some resemblance to her previous characters with the attributes of winged creatures, the color blue, orphans and adopted families. But make no mistake, this is a new and different world. Both Meghan and I (Ruth here) loved the book, though Meghan thought it took a little more time to get into this new world with its special rules and magical realities.
What we both appreciate: Taylor’s beautiful writing. I marked so many passages to share with other book-lovers that I probably should just buy them the book. The descriptions of book-lovers in their own world in libraries made me sigh and nod my head. The vocabulary words she creates also resonate, like: thakrar: the precise point on the spectrum of awe at which wonder turns to dread, or dread to wonder; or shathaz: the desire to posses that which can never be yours. Be assured that both these words have a special place in the novel.
So, what’s it about? Obviously, a dreamer: Lazlo Strange by name. An orphan who survives a rough childhood with monks, then an apprenticeship to a librarian, Lazlo dreams of a world that may be a myth, a world only known as Weep which has been cut off from the rest of the world for two hundred years. When he gets the chance to follow the Godslayer and a cadre of experts to that magical world, his adventures and romance unfold. Is the blue-skinned goddess of his dreams real? What ghosts haunt the city? Is there a way to enter your dreams and nightmares? We highly recommend this enticing read! And stay tuned for the next in the series.