Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: March 28th 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Young Adult Fiction
Audiobook Length: 18 hours 20 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Steve West
Description: A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. 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? In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage. Welcome to Weep.
I really wanted the privilege of sitting and reading this book from cover to cover. I find that Ms. Taylor’s work really does warrant the time spent with every word on the page. But needless to say, life does not always cooperate. So instead, we will have an audio review.
I’m not sure if I can gush any more about Laini Taylor’s writing. Ms. Taylor’s work for me is all about the language. It is always full and evocative. I don’t usually form mental pictures while reading, but somehow, Ms. Taylor manages to write in such a way that I can easily picture exactly what she’s describing. And Strange the Dreamer is an excellent example of this skill. I often find it difficult to track quotes while listening to audiobooks. But in this case, I have more than 20 notes marking quotes I loved. Like this one:
As for fairy tales, he understood that they were reflections of the people who had spun them, and were flecked with little truths – intrusions of reality into fantasy, like toast crumbs on a wizard’s beard.
Who else is now picturing Dumblebdore with crumbs in his beard? And who else is using that quote all of the time? 😉
The characters of Lazlo and Sarai were magical, especially together. One of my favorite scenes is the two of them having tea and cake together. In a dream. At first, they are completely awkward with each other. Neither has much experience with the etiquette of dream tea. But they quickly progress in their dream skills.
“The moon on a bracelet and the sun in a jar,” said Sarai. “We really wreak havoc on the heavens, don’t we?”
Lazlo’s voice sank deeper in his throat. Smokier. Hungrier. “I expect the heavens will survive,” he said, and then he kissed her.
Where Sarai is the mistress of nightmares, Lazlo is the master of dreams. He controls every aspect of the dream, including a trip to a Wingsmith to procure wings. Sarai picks wings of a fox. Lazlo picks wings of a dragon. I’d vote dragon wings for sure.
Mr. West’s narration was smooth and seamless. So much so that I checked his other narrations and immediately downloaded another of his books. The character voices were all distinctive. I think Strange the Dreamer is a great example of why to listen to audio books. I would have never known how to pronounce names and places without the aid of Mr West. I would have skimmed over all those words I couldn’t pronounce and completely missed out!
I delighted in every aspect of Strange the Dreamer. Don’t let the whole “high fantasy” genre put you off. It’s so much more than fantasy! Fair warning though, the end is heartbreaking. And the next book isn’t published yet!