Book Review: Strange the Dreamer

My first book review for the year is going to be about a book that left me hurting and that book is Strange the Dreamer. Why did it leave me in pain? Because the story was so well written I immersed myself in the story and when it ended, I felt it!

Strange the Dreamer is about a young man who feels the disappearance of a city’s name and from that time on, he is drawn into the myths behind the city of Weep – although that’s not the name the city was initially given. The original name of Weep has disappeared and Strange wants to know why.  He researches for years collecting any data he can gather on Weep. Then, as if destiny has come knocking on his door, the God Slayer (an inhabitant of Weep) comes to town and changes Strange’s destiny forever!

Hmmm, not the best summary of the book but that pretty much explains it. Of course there is SO much more going on in this story but it’s a story you need to read and discover on your own. The discovery is part of the lure of Strange the Dreamer. As you read, your mind is trying to piece all the clues together. It’s a fun ride of adventure, mystery, and romance.

Unfortunately I left this book sitting on my shelf for way too long. I viewed videos on YouTube of people praising this book, but it still sat on my shelf. I watched more videos from readers who placed this book on their top 5, 10, etc. list and still it sat on my shelf.  I don’t know why it took me so long to pick it up, but when I did, the story of Weep and of Strange the Dreamer captured my imagination!

This is the version of the book I purchased which is the US paperback.

Laini Taylor did a fantastic job of building this world, the characters, and the magic system. All of it felt real and believable, like a place you could venture to if you just knew the way (which I did, because I found the book!).  The author’s writing style was easy to follow and her descriptions were beautifully written. I had no problem absorbing myself into the story which made it a hard book to put down.

The characters were well written and I felt for them all – either love and admiration, or fury and dislike. I even felt compassion for one of the antagonists because the author did a wonderful job of conveying this person’s inner turmoil of self-doubt and I felt her rage at what happened to her and the vulnerability she tried to hide surrounding her own limitations; but then, I also felt great dislike and anger at the same time because she was so cruel and awful to those around her.  Yes, Laini Taylor masterfully created both likable and detestable characters within this book which made this story enticing enough to keep me reading to the last page…and wanting more!

The world was fascinating and complicated enough to feel real. There was enough history created about this world to make the past and present circumstances believable. It was comparable to our earlier history of gods and heroes except in this world their myths and legends were real. I liked the mythology aspect of this world and it was a true delight to learn more about the past that caused Weep to lose its name.

Here’s how the hardcover book looks like – now that I know I adore this story, I want to get the hardcover book for my collection.

Now, although the world building and characters were enticing, there were a few predictable aspects to the story that I was a bit disappointed in. I think a lot of the “reveals” in the story were too easy to guess and didn’t come as much of a surprise as I think they were intended to be. However, these reveals were written so well that I can forgive the predictability in them because they still packed an emotional punch even though the shock factor wasn’t as powerful.

Overall I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, mythology, or a journey of discovery. Strange the Dreamer packs all of this into one super-sized book (it’s over 500 pages!). And I cannot wait to continue my journey in the next book The Muse of Nightmares.

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