Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor series Book Review 4/5 Stars
4 Stars,  Mini Reviews

Mini Review | Strange the Dreamer (Books 1 & 2) by Laini Taylor

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 A beautifully written two part fantasy series set in an original feeling world with complex conflicts.

Format: Kindle

Read: May 2023

I had been aware of this series for some time from back when I was a School Librarian and the title had caught my eye (it came out in March 2017 and I left that job in the May so it was probably one of the last titles I’d looked at buying!). It had stuck around in the back of my mind and when I saw it appear for 99p in the Kindle store I decided it was time to give it a try, and dip my toe back into the world of Young Adult fantasy fiction.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 4/5 Book Review

Book Strange the Dreamer

This book is beautifully written, but not overly descriptive which is my sweet spot! The story felt like it really was set in another world, one that felt both original and plausible to me (I don’t read a lot of fantasy so correct me if I’m wrong!). It felt like a world that while fantastical – with blue Gods! – did feel plausible and lived in.

I thought that the plot might have been a little bit of a slow burn at first, it does take quite a while for the real conflict to emerge, but overall the pacing worked well for me.

Lazlo in particular was well drawn and felt like a complete person, though I was less engaged with Sarai. Over all the majority of characters were complex and with realistic conflicts that explore shades of grey. This world of Weep has a darkness and a deep wound of trauma and pain under the surface. There are no obvious solutions as we get to experience views from people hurt on both sides.

What did not work for me at all was the romance. It felt very juvenile and shallow – reminding me that this is a YA novel – and it really made me both cringe and bored to read. It is such as shame as the only weak chapters were the romance scenes.

Yes they are lonely, socially isolated and neglected teenagers but the instant love plot being the focus of the high stakes detracts from the larger, much more compelling, story of the people of Weep and their history with the Gods.

The character of Sarai also did not click for me. The romance scenes from Lazlo’s point of view didn’t help, and continue to just paint her as a bland sexy (literal) dream girl rather than a complete person. Even within her family of godspawn I didn’t understand what her role was.

If the romance had felt more real this would have been an easy 5 stars. In the end I just skimmed through all those scenes to get back to the excellent parts!

Strange the Dreamer on Amazon.

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Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
4/5 Book Review

Book Muse of Nightmares

This is a true sequel to Strange the Dreamer, it picks up right where that book left off. It’s very much a Part 2 and it has all the same good points and bad points as the first book did.

I really enjoyed that this book expands further on the history and worlds of the Gods, but be warned it gets even darker and more into the past slavery, rapes and forced births. We get to know the people of Weep better in this one, especially the raw and painful relationship between Eril-Fane and Azereen which honestly is the real love story.

The tension really ramps up as the conflict fuelled by trauma and fear threatens to have the people of Weep and the remaining godspawn repeat the cycle of fear and violence wrought by their parents. We also learn more about the legacy of Skathis and his desire for power and wealth.

As above, the romance is knocking off the final star from my rating. It only ramps up in physical intensity but never in any emotional depth. I continued to skip paste all that boring crap! I honestly also felt like Sarai being dead but not dead was a big cop out and a massive anti-climax. She remained bland to me and my least favourite character.

Overall though I do highly recommend these books.

Muse of Nightmares on Amazon.

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