Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor

“Sometimes a moment is so remarkable that it carves out a space in time and spins there, while the world rushes on around it. This was one such.”

Rating: ★★★★★

Feeling a little nostalgic after coming home for a short break from university last month, I wanted to read a book that reminded me of the magical worlds I lived in during my childhood. Having seen this new release featured on several Instagram feeds, I decided to check out Strange the Dreamer for myself and was quickly intrigued by the idea that ‘the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.’ On arrival, I was taken aback by the beautiful stark blue cover embossed with a moth and gold lettering, and instantly knew that this magical novel was exactly what I needed to feel like a child again.

Lazlo Strange is an orphaned young man raised by monks, later becoming a junior librarian. His fascination of the Unseen City and its mysterious past, with the name ‘Weep’ taking the place of a stolen name, features in his several unpublished, and unread books. With the opportunity granted to take a magical journey to find Weep’s secrets, Laslo’s world soon collides with Sarai’s, a young godspawn who is living incognito at the Citadel in Weep.

Now, I don’t want to spoil this treasure for anyone, so I am not going to talk about the plot. What is most striking in this novel is the incredible prose. I was expecting a YA novel, and was given a book that is so much more than that. The switching of narratives between Lazlo and Sarai adds such an intense perspective to the novel, much increasing when they meet for the first time. Remarkably lyrical writing creates a beautifully whimsical aspect to the story yet each sentence could quite simply stand on its own, and seemingly purple prose in this novel has a purpose. Complex characterisations enhance the poetical directions of the storyline; each character is so complete and full of life that you almost can’t decipher between dream and reality.

I am anticipating the release of the sequel, however this book can definitely stand alone. The novel is emotional, cathartic and overall fascinating once you are emerged in Taylor’s prose. She takes you on a journey leaving you with a sense of wonder. Strange the Dreamer is funny and heartbreaking and wonderful, and I couldn’t ask for anything more in a book.