Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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1234ravenmore
Nov 04, 2020

Strange the Dreamer
By Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is about an orphan who becomes a junior librarian and discovers this place called Weep. Eventually, he journeys half the world to get there. In all honesty, Strange the Dreamer reminded me why I loved to read. It was so enrapturing from the start to the end and I was absolutely in love with the writing. Laini Taylor really has a way with words. I think her writing is gorgeous and I really cannot find any faults in the story at the moment. Please, consider this as a book to read. I didn't want to give much detail because I don't want to ruin any experience you may have. My summary isn't great, but you should definitely read this.

LPL_KimberlyL Sep 16, 2020

This book totally took me by surprise! I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, but the world-building, characters, and mythology were all so incredibly lush and intriguing, I couldn't help myself! Lazlo is one of the most delightful characters I've discovered within the pages of a book, and one I will happily revisit at a later time. A unique story, and one I highly recommend!

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WritingChick65
Jul 25, 2020

Another fine effort by Taylor, Although I didn't enjoy it as much as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I would still highly recommend it. Intelligent fantasy, labelled as a Teen read, but perfect for all the dreamers out there. Definitely will check out the further adventures of Lazlo Strange.

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bookreader02
Apr 02, 2020

Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer follows Lazlo Strange as he is thrust from his life as a Librarian to become an adventurer, traveling to the city of his dreams Weep. This high paced fantasy novel contains complex characters and settings that are dripping in detail. Taylor's descriptions are vivid in nature, and compelling in style, urging the reader to finish the book in a single sitting. The magical systems and settings are unlike other popular Young Adult Fiction, providing an exciting reprieve. The characters, specifically Lazlo, are complex and creative, each with their own development, morphing with each dramatic and fantastical event. The entire story follows unexpected twists and turns to end in a suspenseful ending that highly encourages pursuing the second book. Strange the Dreamer is a perfect read for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare and Leigh Bardugo!

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michaelwager
Mar 28, 2020

Lazlo Strange, Junior Librarian at the Great Library of Zosma, raised as an orphan in a monastery, has always dreamed of the mysterious city of Weep, which has had no contact with the outside world for 200 years. When Eril Fane the Godslayer, liberator of Weep, arrives unexpectedly in Zosma looking for help fixing the city's problems, Lazlo becomes his secretary and finds himself thrust into the world he has always imagined. After a strange blue girl named Sarai infiltrates his dreams, Lazlo finds unexpectedly that he is the key to saving Weep.

In the spirit of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, Taylor has created a vivid, fantastical world full of deep, colorful characters. She explores powerful emotions, the power and consequences of love and hate, and the depths of the human psyche. Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, this book pulls you in and holds your attention for all of its considerable length. The cliffhanger ending will leave you eagerly looking forward to the sequel!

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dstradling
Jul 20, 2019

The first half of this book really gripped me. Unfortunately the typical YA love story snuck its way in just as I began to believe that I would be free of it for this story. It took away from the rest of the plot in my opinion. I came to love Lazlo, and Sarai, and many of the other characters, and I was very interested to see where thing were headed, but when the focus of the book turned to the love story I realized that Taylor did not have a new and exciting ending in mind. Just a strong beginning with a typical Hero's Journey ending.

kelly_williams Jul 20, 2019

I read this book because it was on the finalist list of YALSA's top ten. I fell in love with Laini Taylor's writing style almost immediately; I was drawn to her characters as if they were my own flesh and blood. I streaked through this book as fast as my eyes could take me, and was left dreaming for more. The sequel, Muse of Nightmares, is equally good, and I absolutely must recommend that you read them both consecutively.

ArapahoeTiegan Jul 08, 2019

What a beautiful world Laini Taylor has created in this novel! I could not get enough - every description was so vivid I just had to keep devouring it. I seriously could almost see everything described as if I was also able to walk through Lazlo's dreams.

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lola_jane
Jun 21, 2019

Lazlo Strange, orphan and junior librarian has always been fascinated with books about the lost city of Weep. Everyone around him dismisses him as a dreamer, until the day a hero of Weep rides into the city and chooses Lazlo to accompany him on a mission to restore the city. What Lazlo finds there, is more magical and terrible than even fairytales could have prepared him for.
This is a hefty book and admittedly quite slow to begin as Laini Taylor introduces the world and characters with her trademark descriptive prose. But readers who persevere are treated to a mesmerizing world peopled with gods and scientists, alchemists and warriors, each the hero of their own story

WoodmontTeens May 01, 2019

One of the best written books in any genre. It doesn't hurt that the main character is a librarian...

I loved this book! A great novel that establishes a strange world and some strange characters who you're immediately hooked on! A really great hero's journey following a bookish dreamer on an adventure unlike any other. A really fantastic Teen read. Can't wait for the next one in the series!

JCLJoshN Mar 05, 2019

I love fantasy stories that are lush and strange. This novel is wonderfully, lyrically, eerily lush, and "strange" is right there in the title. And the protagonist it's named for is a librarian, so extra goodness for me. Creepy gods, eccentric scholars, fairy tales, alchemy, ghosts, airships, dreams...there's really nothing about this I didn't adore.

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happycanuck
Mar 02, 2019

First time reading this author and find her style and abilities amazing. Unusual plot. What's not to like ?

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bogwolf
Feb 20, 2019

World building was lovely- but..

I remember reading - what, a decade ago perhaps - Kerr's first "Children of the Lamp" book; it hit me that we were going to get a large number of kids beneath the stairs turning out to be wizards, and kids with single moms turning out to be Greek Gods. So fine

Taylor writes the story she wishes, with her characters, and her world building which as I said was well done... and then, the big reveal is that this is the same story that was getting stale 10 years ago, and that the book ends, without conclusion, as the beginning of a series. Bah.

She clearly has talent as an author, and she is *Most Certainly* making the right financial choice. I'm sure this series (which is like many others) will make money.

Oh, and I didn't love the pacing, and the female lead trapped in the tower. Being trapped until you meet the right person is a powerful metaphor, and Taylor doesn't leave her female lead without any agency... once, on page 328, she disobeys her sister and makes an important choice. (The consequences of which are ... *Spoiler*...)

Thus two stars. I gave it three, then talked myself down to two. If you want to go out to coffee with me and explain why it should be at least three, I'll listen. I'd be open to reading something else by Taylor, but clearly this wasn't for me.

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Futuregohangurl
Jan 22, 2019

a very good book. i now have book 2 and just have to have the time to read it. its alittle hard to get into but once you're into these books they are excellent

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GuyN
Jan 01, 2019

Laini Taylor never disappoints those seeking imaginative fantasy. This is the first book of two volume story. It introduces us to most of the characters in a complex world. Those we meet have different origins, powers and limitations, but mostly that familiar yet eerie otherness that Taylor handles so well. I will go more in depth in my review of Muse of Nightmares which is an even better book than the first one.

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Lady_Librarian
Oct 31, 2018

After re-reading this book I like it even more. Laini Taylor's writing style is so good! I highly recommend picking up this series and her previous series, Daughter of Smoke & Bones. I've already read the second book in the series and it surpasses this one. My only one complaint (and really it doesn't bother me that much) is there is a bit of insta-love in this series but if you can look past that you'll love it.

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sbridge48
Oct 24, 2018

I was all set to praise this book as one of the 3-4 best single volume (not part of a series) fantasies I had ever read - until I got to the ending and found that it would be the first of two books! (The author confesses in the afterword that she was surprised, too.) It is still terrific.

I think I wanted the personal emotional fulfillment of getting it all wrapped up in one book. Once I got over that, I realized (as the author undoubtedly did also) that providing a satisfactory ending at that point would require several characters to suddenly change personalities and cave in to everyone else. And she doesn’t write those kinds of characters.

The story and settings are so creative and complex that I have trouble figuring out how much to tell you and where to start. The style of writing is such that anything I say is a spoiler, from the first chapter on. Laini Taylor really knows how to build a story. Every chapter sets up a mystery, and as the book progresses, it seems like every subsequent chapter answers one question and poses two new ones. The book title itself is a mystery with several layers. The main character is Lazlo Strange, an orphan adopted by the royal librarians of a strange medieval-like city. He is thought of by the librarians as a “dreamer” – someone whose head is filled with fairy tales and stories of the past, not quite connected to reality. They call him “Strange the Dreamer”. But the name implies to us a poetic construction of “the dreamer is strange” (like “how bright the sun” or “how green the tree”). And Lazlo eventually discovers that his actual dreams are indeed strange and wonderful.

Lazlo is especially mesmerized by the stories that one of the elderly librarians tells about a mysterious city with no name. Travel to and from that city, on the other side of the desert, stopped a couple of centuries ago. It used to have a name but several years ago the name disappeared from every book and memory - now it is only referred to as The Unseen City - or "Weep."

And in Weep itself we see that there are five strange teenagers in hiding. They have fantastic powers; but they are terrified to let anyone know where they are. “Strange Dreams” are also part of their lives – along with ghosts and horrifying memories. Their skin is blue.

It’s a wonderful (“full of wonder”) book that deserves awards and a large readership.

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shayshortt
Oct 18, 2018

In beautiful prose that will be familiar to fans of her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor brings to life a vivid new fantasy world that didn’t so much capture my imagination as take it hostage, until I stayed up far too late to reach the last page, and find out what would become of Lazlo, Sarai, and the people of Weep. Taylor opens with Lazlo, the orphan who will take us on our journey into the unknown. After spending his childhood in a monastery, Lazlo escapes to the Great Library of Zosma, and a career as a librarian. In his world, librarians are the mere servants of the aristocratic scholars, expected to keep knowledge, but never to discover it. But Lazlo is forever tripping over that line, particularly in his somewhat antagonistic relationship with Thyon Nero, golden son of Zosma, and the only alchemist who has ever produced gold. The other perspective belongs to Sarai, a girl who lives a strange secluded life with four other children, but dreams of the city of Weep every night. To say too much more is to spoil Taylor’s careful parsing out of information, which kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how it all fit together. Some have described this as a slow start to Strange the Dreamer, but I was intent on soaking up her beautiful world-building and getting to know the various characters.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2018/10/16/strange-the-dreamer/

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RebelBelle13
Oct 10, 2018

If I had known this book was a tragic story about star-crossed lovers, I wouldn't have picked it up. To be fair, I've read Laini Taylor's other series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I did enjoy that- however, if you've read that, you've read this. It's got the same major story points- the realities of war and the scars it leaves on people, the reader sympathizing with both sides, lovers who think that their love is enough to bridge the gap and bring the two forces together in peace (but it isn't), a protagonist whose past is shrouded in questions and mystery, and a character that has some kind of control over souls. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Taylor seems to have only one story up her sleeve- except here, she spends nearly 80% of the novel on exposition, and in DoSaB the plot drives forward at an excitable pace. I can understand why a good many people don't finish this book. The prose and descriptions are incredible, but there is just TOO MUCH of it. By the time you learn about Lazlo- his childhood, his interactions with Nero, the library, him with his mentor, and reading his books and dreaming about Weep, you're bored. Had I been reading a physical copy of this book, I would have quit and moved on to something else. Lazlo doesn't even meet Sarai until 3/4 of the way through the book, and the novel is supposed to be about them and their relationship. By the time they met, I was just ready for the book to be over. This is extremely disappointing to me, because this came so highly rated by so many people whose recommendations I usually trust. The last 10% or so of the book was amazing- fast paced, well done, epic and different. Why couldn't the rest of the book have been like that? Instead, we get pages and pages of Taylor describing flowers that want to fly and the color of the grains of sand in the desert. She almost gives Robert Jordan a run for his money. All in all, well thought out world, characters and magic system, gorgeous prose, but repetative plot points and WAY too much description. I doubt I'll be reading the sequel.

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GamerKat10
Jul 03, 2018

Strange The Dreamer, is a wonderful book that mixes the world as we currently know it with Romance and Fantasy. We follow a protagonist- Lazlo Strange -As he struggles going to the place were Nightmares and Dreams lie. (Sorry I'm trying to keep this Spoiler Free!) Watch as Lazlo Strange Uncover his hidden passion for love... But for who? His hidden past... But what? The friends, and foes he encounter... What does he do?! Now, Grab this book and uncover all these secrets- And so much more! Come, and stand with me with the five blue figures watching over the Forgotten City and it's forgotten name. Come; with Lazlo Strange: The Dreamer.

Sequel (Muse of Nightmares) is due out October 2nd. Readers of epic fantasy and lush worldbuilding will fall in love with Laini Taylor's latest offering, which showcases her beautiful language and vivid characters in a novel that - despite it's size - you won't want to put down until you've finished.

ArapahoeLauraRose May 07, 2018

Lazlo was charming and engaging, and Sarai melancholy and sympathetic. I enjoyed learning the people, places, and rules of this fantasy world. However, despite the novel's length, I didn't form any deep attachments to the characters or the world. An enjoyable read, but not a world that I would revisit.

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hannmsha
Apr 26, 2018

I don't even have words for this? I'm not much for young adult fantasy these days, but this book sucked me in and blew me away. The writing was gorgeous, the characters and setting were stunning. I am very rarely as completely and utterly absorbed in a book as I was in this. I don't know if I'll survive the wait until the next book comes out!

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skdawson
Apr 18, 2018

This one has a bit of a slow start but it is more than worth it to get a better understanding of the world Laini Taylor has created. I loved this book!


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