Strange The Dreamer, by Laini Taylor | Book Review

I’m actually dying after reading this. Like, this is fantasy at its best. FANTASY AT ITS BEST, GUYS. And I’m so, so in love with it and I need the sequel and I actually have work tomorrow and it’s a lot later than I thought so I’ll have to finish this review tomorrow. But I want you to at least know a bit of how I feel about this right now (*ugly sobbing*, btw) so

My original ‘review’, from July of 2017, and I can assure you that after this reread nothing has changed. But I’m a reviewer, and I can’t just flail (much as I’d like to), so let’s do this properly.


  • The gorgeous writing is gorgeous. Some quotes for reference:
    • “You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

      “Beautiful and full of monsters?”

      “All the best stories are.”

    • “And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.”

    • “Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

    • It’s so quotable omg
  • The characters are all precious and beautiful and I love them. Including Minya (sort of), but definitely not Drave (he deserved worse).
    • Lazlo: The first main character we’re introduced to by name, Lazlo is a orphan-turned-librarian in an empire thoroughly concerned with the war. (now forget about the war, because basically nothing else in this story is about it) He’s a servant, underneath the scholars whom he supplies with materials to study, and in his spare time, he teaches himself near-dead languages, reads fairy tales, and scours everything for information on this lost city- Weep, though that isn’t actually it’s true name.
      • The true name vanished fifteen years earlier, when Lazlo was a kid, and he was one of the first to notice.
        • As in, you know it one second and the next, all that comes to your tongue when you try to say it is ‘Weep’. It’s a huge deal to Lazlo (and pretty much no one else) and is most certainly magic.
    • Sarai: To put it briefly, Sarai is one of the five remaining godspawn- children of the dead gods. They live in the gods’ old citadel, hovering above the city of Weep, and wait for the inevitable day when the humans below will find them and kill them on sight.
      • All of the godspawn- Sarai, Ruby, Feral, Sparrow, and Minya- have special abilities inherited from their parents.
        • Sarai- the Muse of Nightmares, who sends moths down to the city every night and creates dreams- or, hence the name, nightmares.
        • Ruby- Bonfire- she randomly bursts into flame, mainly for the purpose of making everyone flustered when her clothes burn off.
          • I adore Ruby, tbh
        • Sparrow- Orchid Witch- keeps them alive by keeping the few remaining plum trees in bloom. As Lazlo mentions at one point, sky fish are hard to come by and they are forced to live on whatever Sparrow can grow.
        • Feral- Cloud Thief- can ‘steal’ clouds from anywhere, and thus provides a consistent supply of drinking water.
        • Minya- she has no nickname, but she basically traps the ghosts of those living- well, dying- in the city, and controls them to serve the children. She’s a morally grey slightly psychopathic little kid (that is, she’s twenty but stuck in the body of a five-year-old for whatever reason), but look, man- she’s got a lot to deal with.
    • Thyon Nero: The ‘golden godson’ of Zosma (the country Lazlo’s from), he managed to turn iron into gold at the age of sixteen and now is expected to do other great things. Nothing is enough. He’s an awful human being, but pls just give him a hug and chocolate he needs it
    • Eril Fane: He’s done bad things but he’s a sweetheart and needs even more chocolate and cake than anyone else
      • honestly this is becoming a theme maybe I should move on
  • Weep
    • It’s a pseudo-Mesopotamian city left in the dark (quite literally) ever since the gods came down in their citadel to rule them through terror. The stories, the culture, the food, the technology, the life despite all the death is absolutely beautiful.
      • tbh i still want threave love stories, Laini Taylor.
  • Being completely serious, though, this is the kind of book that you close mid-sentence, lie back, and feel your lungs squeeze because why is this so beautiful and how can I have so much love for it?


  • Pacing issues, perhaps. I think this is the most common cause of people not finishing: it’s a bit slow, and the writing is pretty flowery. This wasn’t a problem for me- I actually love slower, more gorgeously-written books, but for others, it made it difficult to get through.
  • It makes you think? I don’t know if that can be considered a bad thing, but it deals a lot with moral complexities and the aftermath of oppression, and yeahhhhh. Complicated-ness. You want to hate, then there’s a scene that explains why the hate and you want to give them cake and protect them forever, then they do something absolutely awful again and asdfghjklkjhgfdsdfghjk pretty much.
  • Honestly just fishing for bad things at this point it’s an incredible book pls read

Long story short, this is one of my all-time favorite books ever and I will forcibly throw it at everyone who glances at me and mentions book recommendations. It’s that good. Read it.

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