By Laini Taylor
Little, Brown & Co, 2017, 536 pages, Young Adult Fiction
Since he was five years old Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep. Lazlo is an orphan who was raised by monks and grew up to be a junior librarian. He is clearly not the stuff that adventurers are made of. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself when a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors come to town, claiming they are from the city of Weep and asking for help. Lazlo has the chance to seize his dream, and he takes it. But travelling with the Godslayer soon brings up more questions than answers: 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? What is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? And more personally, who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams? How did he dream of her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
At one point in this book, someone asks Lazlo Strange to tell a fantastic story, full of both beauty and monsters. It’s obvious that Laini Taylor knows this is a great formula for a writer to follow, because Strange the Dreamer is just such a story, and this story is pretty much perfect. Taylor’s skill weaving classic fantasy tropes into a completely new novel is evident here. Although the tale starts out slowly, Taylor’s lush writing, detailed world building, and intriguing characters held my attention until the story really took off and ended at a cliffhanger that has me impatiently waiting the next book in this duology.
Lovers of fantasy novels such as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, Taylor’s own Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (and dare I even suggest older teens who loved Harry Potter?) will enjoy this book.