Have you ever loved a book so much that it completely fills your soul, warms your heart, and heals your broken pieces?
Because that’s Strange the Dreamer.
“On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky. Her skin was blue, her blood was red.”
This is that rare type of book that, while reading, is a constant reminder of why you fell in love with reading in the first place. This book is perfection. This book is a tangible piece of joy. The feeling while reading this is indescribable, but the closest word choice would have to be pure bliss.
This isn’t the type of book to come around often. In fact, the last time I felt this was back in 2015 with The Name of the Wind, and the same feeling of guilt from giving other books five star ratings is here again. This book is so much greater than five stars. Yet, this book feels unratable, because how do you rate perfection instead of just feeling at a loss of words because of its awe?
I don’t see how anything I’ll read in 2017 can beat this. Not A Court of Wings and Ruin, not Tyrant’s Throne, not Skullsworn, not All the Crooked Saints, not The Chosen, not anything. Just throw my 2017 anticipation list away, because Strange the Dreamer was all I needed this year.
“Two hundred years ago, there was a storm.”
I truly believe the best way to go into this book is blind, I wouldn’t even read the synopsis, but the basic premise of this story is that we are introduced to an orphan, who has always been ostracized for being different, and he is constantly dreaming of the Unseen City that everyone else has long forgotten. He grows up, and moves locations, but the mystery city is always on his mind. Then, he finally gets confirmation that the Unseen City is very real and very much in need of help.
Surprise mystery after surprise mystery, eloquent word construction after more eloquent word construction, plot twist after plot twist, and you will become so immersed in this world that you will feel like you yourself have lived in the Unseen City all your life.
I will say that this book does have a really strong romance. In fact, it probably has one of the biggest OTPS I’ve ever read. Like, I’m real invested. Probably too invested. There is also *gasp* sex in this book, and is dealt with in such a realistic and natural way, while also being very believable, because these characters are seventeen-years-old and are discovering their bodies for the first time. But don’t go into this expecting A Court of Mist and Fury‘s sex scenes, but go into this knowing that it is an older YA book with mature themes that are amazingly written. Again, I’m too emotionally invested in these fictional characters.
“She asked in a hesitant whisper, “Do you still think I’m a… a singularly unhorrible demon?” “No,” he said, smiling. “I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And…” His voice grew bashful. Only in a dream could he be so bold and speak such words. “I hope you’ll let me be in your story.”
➽ The Plot – This story is so unique, like, take my breath away, how did a human even come up with this, unique. The themes brought up are so important, and the messages will stick with you. The plot is engaging, addicting, and nothing short of phenomenal.
➽ The Writing – I kind of want to just write “Laini Taylor is Queen” and leave it at that. The only other person I can compare her writing style to is Maggie Stiefvater. Lyrical writing speaks to my very soul, but Laini Taylor’s craft is so perfected that she weaves these heart stopping, unbelievable lines that are so poetic that just leaves me with my mouth open, my breath gone, and my heart pounding. This writing will make you feel as if you are dreaming, and you’ll never confuse it with a nightmare. Laini Taylor’s writing is a tier above anything I’ve ever read. Anything.
➽ The World – Again, like the plot, the world is so unique and so well crafted. The settings are enough to fill even the most empty of hearts. We have libraries, books upon books, story after story, a mysterious city with an even more mysterious water source running underneath it, mythical armies, demons and angels, domination and salvation. And we have magic, and the magic system in this world is a little random, but learning about all the different possibilities was fascinating. Again, something I became addicted over.
➽ The Characters – *breaks down in tears* I can’t. The two main protagonists of this story, Lazlo and Sarai, are everything you could ever want and then more. They are empathetic, helpful, resistant, persistent, hopeful, even in the most bleak of situations, and capable of unconditional love. This story is also filled with gods and goddesses, a lot of ghosts, and maybe a few monsters. Oh, and moths. How I love the moths.
➽ The Messages – You can take a lot from Strange the Dreamer, but two messages are very predominant throughout this book. The first message is about race and how we treat and blame others dependent on their skin color based on bad things that other people with that skin color have done. Welcome to America, what ban attempt are we up to now? The next message, and the biggest constant theme of this novel, is that we are not our parent’s/ancestor’s mistakes. Everyone can change and everyone can be/do better. It is never too late to do good.
“Sarai was seventeen years old, a goddess and a girl. Half her blood was human, but it counted for nothing. She was blue. She was godspawn. She was anathema. She was young. She was lovely. She was afraid.”
This book is beyond words with its perfection. I loved every aspect of it, and the only legitimate negative thing I have to say is that Strange the Dreamer makes a very unfortunate abbreviation. And as much as that makes me giggle while taking notes, that’s honestly it.
Thank you, Laini Taylor, for a book I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life. This is the best thing I’ve read in years, and I will never forget this story, these characters, or its message. This book is a love letter to story lovers everywhere, and I recommend this book to everyone with every fiber of my being. Also, I’m buying this for everyone for Christmas, so if you’re my friends or family reading this, pretend to be surprised.
No other title in 2018 will come close to the anticipation I feel for The Muse of Nightmares. Please, Lord, help me and my very fragile heart with the wait.