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Strange the Dreamer

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

544 pages, Hardcover

First published March 28, 2017

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About the author

Laini Taylor

42 books37.8k followers
Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out :-) Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It's about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas.

Thanks for reading!!



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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,165 reviews98.2k followers
March 24, 2018
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.

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[Update: July 26th, 2017]

You can never have too many copies of your favorite book! 📖🦋✨

[Reread: March, 2018]
This is still such a masterpiece! I reread this during my Spring break in California and it was nothing short of perfection all over again.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
June 21, 2021
Ima add them both since I can’t damn remember what book goes to what, there are a lot more pictures inside then what I show.


CHECK OUT SOME OF MY WALL ART FOR THE BOOK! Sorry for any glares, my room light sucks!

11-1-18 Well, look what came today! The Special Edition Illumicrate Box. It's hard to see but this book has Gold Sprayed Edges to go with the cover. We got a few other goodies in the box too as well Muse of Nightmares. I just love my books! ♥

Audio re-read was freaking awesome!

Had to get the UK Version & my bookmark from my favorite place on Etsy. Yay!

This book is amazing! That's just all there is to it. ❤ Laini Taylor is amaze balls!

When I got this beautiful book from UPS I about fell over. It is so freaking beautiful. The cover is so shiny and no amount of pictures can do it justice. You just have to see it for yourself.


This book is so full of everything. How do I even review a book that is all over and made me sad and took me to a strange and mystical world.

Lazlo Strange, whom I love, was an orphan boy who went on an errand to The Great Library and never returned. He loved books and was lost in them until he was found and they just kept him on instead of sending him back to the home. He became a librarian. But he was obsessed with the story of Weep and what happened there. He spent years writing his own journals about the place.

Lazlo was know as "Strange The Dreamer" or Lazlo Strange. But he wasn't strange at all and the things he found out helped him later on. Sometimes dreams can come true.

I'm going to Weep, he thought, and could have laughed at the pun, but he kept his composure, and when the Tizerkane warriors rode out of the Great Library and out of Zosma, Strange the dreamer went with them.

I'm not going to give out any kind of spoilers because this is a book you need to discover on your own. It's freaking amaze balls! Did I already say that?

I will say there are a good bit of characters in the book, nothing confusing, but my favorites are Lazlo and Sarai. ❤

Laini Taylor can write some beautiful words.

Weep slept. Dreamers dreamed. A grand moon drifted, and the wings of the citadel cut the sky in two: light above, dark below.

Sarai is something else but I'm not going to tell you what she is and there are others like her. There is a really sad story behind all of that as well. But Sarai is wonderful and kind and different.

Streaming forth into the night, the darkness fractured into a hundred fluttering bits like windblown scraps of velvet. A hundred smithereens of darkness, they broke apart and re-formed and siphoned themselves into a little typhoon that swept down toward the rooftops of Weep, whirling and wheeling on soft twilight wings.

Sarai screamed moths. Moths and her own mind, pulled into a hundred pieces and flung out into the world.

Seriously, if you have wanted to get this book, get it and I hope you love it. I didn't understand every little bit about the book but that's okay because I still loved it. ❤

Of course that ending . . . and there is so much more going on in the book but like I said, you need to read it and feel the magic. I don't even know where Laini Taylor comes up with this stuff. Just the way she writes is surreal.

Now we have to a wait a billion years to get the next one. *Sob*

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 24, 2017
It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?

Oh hell, it was gorgeous perfection.

I've been away for a while because I'm on vacation, but I just had to step back in and review this completely strange, utterly beautiful book. I've been waiting so long for Laini Taylor to steal my heart once more, and Strange the Dreamer does not disappoint.

It's so tempting when reviewing Taylor's books to talk about the writing style and language. Because it's stunning. I don’t know where the line between purple and beautiful prose should be drawn, but I do know that Laini Taylor stands just on the right side of it. The very sentences themselves feel magical and dreamy, creating an atmosphere that convinces you you've been transported to another world.

There's a timeless fairy tale quality to her writing, too; it’s *almost* too much, *almost* too poetic, and yet somehow it is just perfect. I also particularly loved the running theme of dreamers and dreaming here:
It was why she dared no longer dream: because in her own sleep she was like any dreamer, at the mercy of her unconscious. When she fell asleep, she was no sorceress or dark enthralled, but just a sleeping girl with no control over the terrors within her.

Okay, where was I? See what I mean? You can get all caught up in the writing and lose your trail of thought. But my point was that while it's tempting to go on and on about Taylor's writing, it does a disservice to the fantastic storytelling underneath. Because, personally, you can wax poetic until you're blue in the face, but if I'm not interested in the characters and underlying story/conflicts, I'll be left feeling cold.

No need to worry about that here.

Strange the Dreamer opens with the orphaned Lazlo. Though a big dreamer, he is a junior librarian and, let's face it, probably never going to turn his dreams into anything more than just that. Ah, but no! Because this orphan is about to have his life turned upside down when his biggest, wildest dream comes closer than ever before.

You see, when Lazlo was young, the name of the lost, mythical city was stolen from everyone's minds. He knows he once knew the Unseen City's real name, but the word left in its place is Weep. No matter how he struggles to remember, all he hears is the same old "Weep". Obsessed with discovering what happened, he spends his adolescence researching the city, trying desperately to find anything about it, longing to one day visit the city himself.

And, of course, like all bold dreamers of fantasy, he will get a chance to go on a magical journey and maybe, just maybe, make his dreams come true. I won't give away any more than that. This is a fairly long book and many things happen, but it's best to discover them for yourself and on the author's terms.

Strange the Dreamer is so unique in its rich world-building, its wonderfully-conceived story of gods, goddesses, ghosts, magic, romance, secrets and guilt, but there is an old tale lurking beneath - that of the orphaned underdog who wanted to be so much more. And whether it is an unloved boy with a scar, stuck in a closet beneath the stairs, who gets to be a powerful wizard, or a nerdy photographer who gets bitten by a spider and learns to be a hero, this is a story that never ceases to appeal to me.

How nice it is to be reminded that magic and dreams can come true. With some darkness, nightmares and bloodshed along the way, of course.

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Profile Image for chloe.
242 reviews28.3k followers
February 22, 2020
3rd read: Feb 2020
Mostly listened to the audiobook for this reread. Still such a phenomenal book <3

2nd read: Oct 2018
I reread this via the audiobook and the audiobook is AMAZING!

1st read: Aug-Sep 2018
this is my favourite book of all time and my heart is bursting with love for this book.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
May 21, 2021
“Beautiful and full of monsters?"

“All the best stories are.”
Love that feeling when you start a series and immediately realize there's no going back to normal.

Actual footage of me entering this fandom:

There were SO many elements of this story that really worked for me (MINUS THE SO-CALLED LOVE!!!)

Lazlo Strange, an orphaned child, was always fascinated by tales of the missing city - he would make-believe all sorts of adventures.

One day, while playing alone in the monastery orchard, something wondrous and terrible happened.

The name of the city was snatched out of his head and replaced with Weep.

He spends every waking moment obsessed with finding out what happened - when suddenly, years later, someone from that very city visits...

Lazlo sacrifices everything to follow that man back to the city of Weep - it's not every day that your dreams come true.
It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.
Meanwhile, Sarai is Godspawn - child of the immortal and mortal - only years ago, the mortals rebelled and slain every last God and Godspawn...or so they thought.

Sarai and her other Godspawn spent the last few decades hiding on the floating city. They were children, still in their diapers when the great slaughter happened.

She spent her childhood half-staved, unbearably isolated and completely on their own.

She's a teenager, along with the other surviving Godspawn, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to hide their presence...especially when the humans are bound and determined to take down the floating city.

A chance encounter between Lazlo and Sarai sparks something that neither of them could ever have anticipated...

Overall - this one swept me off of my feet.

I loved the wild and whimsical world Liani Taylor created - the odd magic, the alien-ness of the Godspawn, the simple joys of Lazlo the librarian-turned-adventurer.

The only thing that threw me out of this novel was the love - it was absolutely terrible.

If the rest of the book wasn't so good, I would've one-starred this one based on the awful love story.

Most of the book centers around backstory of both Lazlo and Sarai and how they came to be in the same city.

Then, they make eye-contact in a dream - BOOM - eternal love and devotion.

It's just like...come on. Taylor wrote such a rich, complex and absolutely beautiful story...and then throws together a half-assed "love" story.

It's like, she got to almost the end and was like, "oh sh*t. I forgot to make the characters fall in love. Where's my shoe-horn?"

Did I mention that the romance "develops" over the course of two nights - entirely through dreams? Without seeing that relationship build, it just seems eye-rollingly-ridiculous.

Really put me off of reading the second book. I'll still read it, because I'm in love with this amazing world, but I am crossing my fingers that the romance calms itself down.

Audiobook Comments
Extremely well-read by Steven West - the audio really enhanced the novel!

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Profile Image for Sabaa Tahir.
Author 28 books31.7k followers
February 10, 2017
I love the DoSaB trilogy, which made me nervous to read STRANGE, because how could anything top DoSaB? Somehow, Laini manages it. Probably because she is really, really talented but also I think she might make blood sacrifices to the muses. STRANGE THE DREAMER is a beautiful, unusual, unexpected story which so many great characters that it's very hard for me to pick a favorite. Worldbuilding is intense and wholly original, but still very readable and organic.

The incredible prose made me want to savor every page, but the story hooked me from sentence 1, which made me want to burn through it. In the end, I settled for feverish reading with periods of weeping/prose adoration. I think this was a good system. It's so far my favorite fantasy of 2017, and one of my favs of all time already. Can't wait to read the sequel. Highly highly super YOU MUST READ THIS recommend.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
April 17, 2017
*Reread Apr 2017
This time I actually finished it, I listened to the audiobook, and it was better but still lots of unnecessary filler that prevented me from really getting into the story. Really sad I didn't enjoy it more but oh well, I gave it a fair shot!

*DNF Jan 2017
I never, like literally never, DNF books but this is one that I just couldn't do. I was so incredibly confused the whole time I read it. It was so all over the place I couldn't even bring myself to read any further. DNFed @ pg 150. Rating is obviously based on what I read.

*Thank you to Indigo for sending me this ARC! All opinions are my own*
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
August 19, 2022
"That was the year Zosma sank to its knees and bled great gouts of men into a war about nothing."

This is a very well written book. Laini Taylor writes beautiful prose.

It's also very imaginative, there are ideas in it that really impressed me. It's a book that's low on violence and action - high in character, mystery, and especially ... beauty.

The first big chunk of the book is spent with our hero, the eponymous Strange, most of it in a library - a surprisingly common location for fantasy stories. I guess Name of the Wind has the most famous library in fantasy but vast and ancient libraries are very nicely presented in many other tales such as Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer or Bancroft's Arm of the Sphinx. Laslo is nicely developed as a thoroughly nice guy with an open mind, bags of curiosity, and an obsession with a "lost" city.

Later on we're introduced to a group who represent another common device in fantasy - a family with diverse magical powers, much like the ones found in The Library at Mount Char, or Umbrella Academy, or even X-Men. But this doesn't mean it's unoriginal - the characters are wonderfully drawn and some of their powers are very interesting.

Inevitably the two threads entwine and Laslo gets to interact with our family of godlings. A romance springs up but in a very charming way and a series of unusual settings. "Romance" can turn off as many readers as it attracts. In some it will evoke thoughts of heaving bodices in pulpy (but wildly popular novels) churned out in vast numbers. This is not that. What makes the romance at the heart of this book appealing to me is firstly that before it starts I have become invested individually in both participants, and secondly that it builds through witty, clever, touching, and insightful dialogue (banter even).

It's a magical, mysterious, whimsical book with a hard edge to it. There is threat, loss, a dark history, and the fear that things will fall apart again.

My only disappointment with the book is the ending (which felt rather rushed to me - although when I occasionally see someone say that about one or other my own books I snort and disagree :D ). The book ends on a cliffhanger. I would rather have seen it take a little more time, go in a somewhat different direction and have been a standalone. As a standalone with a more upbeat resolution I think it would have been a truly excellent book. As book 1 of a duology it is still a very fine read. I'm not sure where the next book will go and I'm in no particular rush to find out BUT I really enjoyed this read and strongly recommend you checking it out too.

EDIT: Having now read book 2, I take back what I say - it's an excellent duology and book 2 works really well. In fact, in retrospect I listed this as one of the top 3 books I'd read between 2010 & 2020.

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Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
January 28, 2022
This was a dream to reread.


I'm thinking about how to review this and honestly, words fail me. I mean, I will try and somewhat make this cohesive. But nothing will do it justice. You will have to discover the story for that.

This book made me feel hopeful. Validated my views and feelings I’ve always known to be true to my own self. Then Laini Taylor comes along and drops this bomb of a magic on us and my feelings were cemented by a ten-fold.

Lazlo Strange is a bookworm. A librarian and a dreamer at heart. His fascination with a lost city has been his driving force for the majority of his life. Growing up as an orphan in a city that didn’t really accept him, that is what he became fixated on. He lived and breathed books and learning about the city and wonders of Weep.

The way his character was fleshed out was simply exquisite. It wasn't just fleshed out; every emotion and thought process the character could have possibly experienced was laid out. Similarly, the same attentive care and focus was given to the other incredible characters and their world, fed to us bit by bit and it all beautifully came together, piece by piece. It allowed me to savour the story, enjoy the dream I was living in for a while and experience it in its full glory.

This is the sort of writing style that demands and deserves attention. It is not to be rushed, and I don’t think the readers themselves would want to rush it. Taking your time with it and revelling in its lushness is when the magic happens.
As soon as I entered the story, I was immediately captivated and swept by the language, the intricacy. The attention to detail is mind-blowing and I couldn't help but have such deep admiration for Laini Taylor. I was dreaming whilst reading, building the fantasy up in my head, wandering around in that world that felt so alive to me.

One of the main aspects of the book that I absolutely appreciated was how it looked at the concept of dreams. There’s always this debate as to whether it is healthier to be realistic or be a dreamer when it comes to ones goals as dreamers themselves are looked as… ‘lazy’.
But this book was based on a dreamer and his dream. How he wished, hoped and how much of that dream encompassed his life and regardless of whether people were dismissing it, he stayed true to his belief and did not doubt it. Yes, the occasional doubt was there, naturally it would be, but his belief in that dream kept him afloat. And that just hit so close to home for me.

I want to say more about this book. I want to be able to explain the absolute magic it encompassed and honed within me, the comforting emotions I was feeling throughout and the false sense of security I was duped into believing, because that ending was just heart-wrenching.
But I actually can’t.

It’s a story I’ll always revisit.


Well, fuck. I think my soul has just left my body. RTC when it decides to join me again.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
259 reviews4,891 followers
September 10, 2018
*Full Review Update*

I honestly still don't know what to rate this, so I'm going with 3.5 stars.

Wow, so it took me nearly two months to finish this book. Here's the thing. The writing quite literally slays, and so does the characterization. My struggle was this: Half the time, I was sitting there in awe, thinking 'This is the best book EVER WRITTEN' ahhh. The other half? I could barely get through a page before falling asleep. There would be pages and pages of descriptions - and while they were mind-blowing, I was dyyinggg for the story to start.

So just a heads up - it takes about halfway or maybe even more for anything to even start happening. The pace didn't pick up until like 80%.

My recommendation? If you're a writer (or aspiring writer) - this is a must read. For sure. But be prepared going into it. I think I've highlighted half the book because of how pretty and raw the sentences were. It was poetic at times and short and raw at others. Such an interesting combination I feel like I've learned a ton and I owe Laini a great deal for that.

Lazlo Strange is easily one of the most tender and relatable characters in YA lit. He was precious down to the bone, and I swear I don't think anyone could read about him and not fall in love. From the very first page, too. He sucks you in quick. His fascination of 'Weep' becomes the reader's fascination of weep. It's impossible not to feel Lazlo's emotions.

As far as the other characters - same deal. They all felt real. I loved Sarai even though she didn't have a huge personality. Her abilities are super dark but super cool and I was totally rooting for her. I also liked to see the interaction with the other... 'gods' or whatever they were. I love how they each had distinguishable personalities. What I didn't love? Their POV talking about next to nothing.

Anyway, like I said, the pacing is extremely slow and I think the characters are the entire reason I stuck around. If it hadn't been for them, I would have just picked it up occasionally to get some writing inspiration.

The world building was also phenomenally done, (albeit weird at times with the metal thing). But cool. Okay, does anyone remember watching 'The Little Princess' as a kid? That movie was what spurred my obsession with Indian Folklore. I would chain watch that movie over and over again because of the blue goddess love story and ahhhh this book brought back memories of that and of other stories I used to love. Ugh see? This is my issue. I would have loved this book so much more -perhaps even cried over it- if the pacing had been better.

So here I sit with mixed feelings. So much greatness. So much brilliance. And yet it took me months to get through it.

Take what you will from that!

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 4, 2018
4.5 stars!! Wow this book truly blew me away!!!

I avoided reading Strange The Dreamer for a looooongggg time. I have a record of epic high fantasy with lyrical prose not sitting well with me and combined with my inability to grasp the synopsis before reading, I was greatly intimidated by this book. How glad I am that I finally gave it a chance and took my time with it because I can't imagine having not experienced this story!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.5k followers
May 26, 2018
I liked the first half of the book. The world building was interesting, the magical powers of the children of the dead gods were interesting.... but then the second half was mostly a love story. A YA insta-love story... It ended up reducing my rating.

Overall I think this book is overhyped.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
530 reviews34.5k followers
February 13, 2019
“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.”

This quote is basically a short summary of the entire book because “Strange the Dreamer” is indeed a story about something beautiful and full of monsters. Well, actually some might even say it’s a story about “beautiful monsters" and you certainly would be more than just right to put it that way. ;-)

Those beautiful monsters appear in all different kinds of shapes and forms and no matter how hard I would try, I’m convinced I still wouldn’t be able to express how much I loved to read this book. It was magical, it was moving, it was so very different than anything else I’ve ever read. Laini Taylor’s writing is like poetry and it drew me in and left me wanting for more. This world was so intriguing, it’s characters so flawed and mysterious and it’s power so raw. There was so much pain, mistrust, hate, despair and fear. But there was also hope, trust, the flutter of wings, dreams and love. Always love.
Desperate love, hopeless love, guilty love, unrequited love, motherly love, hopeful love, destructive love, young love, old love, dying love, love in every form.

I think I could go on and on with this one. *lol* Suffice it to say that it was wonderful to read, amazing to experience and heart-breaking to witness. Such a perfect book… such a compelling story. Well done, Laini. Well done! <3

The Plot:

”There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt – like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair. And there it would remain – the mystery, in his mind – exhaling enigma for years to come.”

This quote is everything you’ll get from me when it comes to the plot, because it’s so complex I couldn’t write a summary without giving away some major spoilers. ;-) All I can say is: Read the book. Just read it. I’m sure it will blow your mind. XD

The Characters:

And here it is, my infamous spoilery spoiler section. XD If you haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to be spoiled you should leave now. If you already read the book and want to hear my thoughts: Welcome to the lion’s den. *lol* Take a seat and a cookie. ;-P


”The library knows its own mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”
Lazlo couldn’t have belonged to the library more truly if he were a book himself.

This boy is so sweet, innocent, amazing and pure. Seriously, I think he might be the purest soul I ever had the pleasure to read about. I love him, I just love him so much!! <33 Lazlo is one hell of a precious bean and all I wanted to do was to protect him from every possible threat and harm that might come his way. He needs to be protected at all costs!!! I mean he’s basically a unicorn and unicorns need to be happy and safe! I just loved how he always tried to see the good in people, how he gave them everything and didn’t even expect anything in return. He was so altruistic and generous it was so beautiful to watch. He never judged. He just listened to all the different sides and he accepted every opinion even if his own differed. In short: If the world would have more Lazlo Strange’s then it definitely would be a better place. =)) Which is the reason why I’m so damn worried about him right now. That ending!!! T_T I really hope he won’t lose his innocence…. Please Laini, let him be okay, don’t allow Minya to corrupt him and to turn him into something bad. *sobs*

”If the dream chose the dreamer, then his had chosen poorly. It needed someone far more daring than he. It needed the thunder and the avalanche, the war cry and the whirlwind. It needed fire.”

”Who had ever expended so much passion on a dream, only to stand helpless as it was granted to others? Others, moreover, who had expended no passion on it at all. His impossible dream had, against all probability, crossed deserts and mountains to come to Zosma and extend an unprecedented invitation.
But not to him.”

”He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of a sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.”


I kiss dozens of people every night.” And she touched a spot just above the outer curve of one cinnamon eyebrow. “Right here. Men and women, babies and grandparents. I kiss them and they shudder.” Her voice was like ice, and so were her hearts. “I kiss them and they grieve.”

She was such a strong character! I loved that Sarai was so empathic and thought out of the box. After everything she went through she still stood by her convictions and refused to give herself to hatred and wrath. I think it’s admirable that she tried to understand the citizens of Weep and dared to hope that peace was possible. I mean she knew that both sides did awful things, but she was also aware that it were mistakes and atrocities other people had done. She was nothing but a baby when the gods fell and even though Minya kind of bullied her into hurting the people of Weep she still knew that her actions were wrong. She wanted to stop the destructive cycle of hate, mistrust, prejudices and fear and I’m sure if the ending wouldn’t have happened Lazlo and her might have even had a realistic chance to succeed. *sighs* Gosh, I hate that ending! Did I already mention that I hate that ending? >_<

”Sarai wasn’t going to kill anyone. She was stubborn, very, and she wasn’t about to surrender her decency or mercy for a sound day’s sleep. She wouldn’t beg Minya for lull. Whatever happened she would never again serve Minya’s twisted will.”

”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” She paused. Her voice grew heavy. “When they slaughter thirty babies in their cradles, they call it necessary.”


”Even after all these years, the thought of Isagol the Terrible stirred such a storm in him – of rancor and longing, desire and disgust, violence and even affection – all of it seething and bleeding and writhing, like a pit of rats eating one another alive. That was what his feelings were now, what Isagol had made of them. Nothing good or pure could survive in him. All was corruption and gore, suffocating in his self-loathing. How weak he was, how pitiful. He might have killed the goddess in the end, but he wasn’t free of her, and he never would be.”

Ohh Eril-Fane, the guy with one of the coolest nicknames in all history. Godslayer. Sounds awesome! Has a certain ring to it, right? If you consider what had to happen to get that nickname it’s not that cool anymore though. Well, actually it loses all its glory. Boy, was he a tormented and tortured soul. I loved it! *lol* Yeah, I know you might roll your eyes now and say: Gin, why do you always love those flawed characters and villains? The answer is simple. They are complex, they are interesting, and they intrigue me. Immensely I might add. ;-P So back to Eril-Fane. What a fascinating personality. Devoured by rancor and love, torn between duty and self-hatred, eroded by years of shame and despondency, eaten by guilt and longing. Ahh, what’s not to love? *lol* He’s everything I want in a character and Laini Taylor wrote him so well! I just want more of him and I can’t wait for book two!!

”Eril-Fane had his own arsenal of horrors; he hardly needed hers. Fear was the last of it. Sarai hadn’t understood before that fear could be the lesser torment. It was shame that tore him apart. It was despair. There was no darkness she could send him to rival what he’d endured already. He had lived three years with Isagol the Terrible. He had survived too much to be driven mad by dreams.”

”He loved her so much,” she whispered. “It was all a lie. It was a violation. But it didn’t matter, did it, because when Isagol made you feel something, it became real. He hated her. And he loved her. And he killed her.”

”He looked him right in the eyes and saw a man who was great and good and human, who had done extraordinary things and terrible things and been broken and reassembled as a shell, only then to do the bravest thing of all: He had kept on living, though there are easier paths to take.”


”They were all I could carry. They were all I could carry.”
There was no echo, no reverberation. If anything, the room ate sound. It swallowed her voice, her words, and her eternal, inadequate apology. But not her memories. She would never be rid of those.”

I FREAKING HATE MINYA!!! There, I said it, it’s out now! I understand why she is so angry at the people of Weep and I can see why she’s craving for revenge but I do NOT understand why she has to use other people in order to get what she wants. To turn on Sarai and Lazlo? That’s where I draw the line. No matter how much I’m sorry for what she experienced and how much it hurt and shaped her; I still can’t forgive her what she did in the end!! I mean Sarai is her family, she doesn’t know Lazlo, okay, but Sarai?! She raised her!!! She rescued her and took care of her over those years. She’s basically like a mother figure even though she’s barely a few years older and still looks like a child. Minya is so wrathful and embittered that she sees nothing but hatred and vengeance and even though I know that she’s pulling the strings right now, I still hope that Lazlo and Sarai won’t end up being her puppets. =(( URGH I just dislike her so much! T_T

The ships:

Sarai & Lazlo:

”There was no one behind her. There was no one else at all. The whole dream shrank to a sphere around the pair of them, and there could be no question that the witchlight was for her, or that it was her he meant when he whispered, with vivid and tender enthrallment, “Who are you?”

Those two were so damn cute together!!! GAH! I can’t even. From the very first moment they met up until to their dream dates they were just perfection! I loved how hard they fell for each other and yes, I know that was kinda insta-lovey but it was executed so damn well. I mean sometimes this just happens. You meet someone and you fall head over heels. You don’t question if it’s too fast, you don’t think about the future, you just live in the moment and breathe every second you’re in that persons proximity. They give you life, they make you happy, they cause you to wear a permanent grin on your face. And BOY did Laini Taylor do a good job at conveying that feeling! It felt like I was with them, falling in love too. <3 BUT that damn ending!!! ARGH!!! I hate Minya for being so cruel, I hate that the citadel lost balance… I just hate everything that happened in those last few chapters. T_T I want them to be happy but I don’t see how this can work out good… I mean Sarai is basically Minya’s hostage now and Lazlo loves her so much. The next book is going to hurt. This just broke my heart… >_< *sobs*

”I think you are 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.”

”Lazlo did hold Sarai in his arms that night, and she was real and flesh, blood and spirit, but not laughter. Not breath. Those had left her body forever.
The Muse of Nightmares was dead.”

Azareen & Eril-Fane:

”She curved herself against his back, laid her face to the side of his neck, and wept the tears that he could not. Eril-Fane shuddered as her tears seared his skin, and something inside him gave way. He pulled her arms tight against his chest and crushed his face into her hands. And then, and there, for everything lost and everything stolen, both from him and by him in all these long years, the Godslayer started to sob.”

I really wish those two would have gotten a chance to be happy, but as it seems the scars of their pasts ruined everything they could have been. Poor Azareen! To love her husband, to see his torture but to be unable to help him, to be incapable of saving him from the darkness that’s clutching at his tormented soul. It hurt to read about them and it hurt to see them so broken. No one in this story was truly bad; they all were just a product of the gods and what they did to them, so yeah. I felt sorry for Azareen and Eril-Fane, but that quote above gives me hope. Maybe they’ll manage to find each other in the next book? =) There’s always hope, right?


I loved this book!!! “Strange the Dreamer” was a wonderful and surprisingly awesome read and I can’t wait until “The Muse of Nightmares” is released! I need to know how it continues and what is going to happen next!!! I just need to know! XD

So until the book is finally hitting the stores I’ll just try to hold on to this quote:

”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.”

Also a big thanks to The Awesome Rusty!!! It was amazing to buddy read with you and I hope we’ll do this again! *lol* This truly was a buddy read match made in heaven because for some reason we always managed to be on the same page. Haha! I don’t know how we did this, but we must have some sort of superpower that linked us together and caused us to sync whenever it was needed. XD
Well, however we did it, it was certainly one of the most comfortable buddy reads I ever had the pleasure to experience. Rusty, you rock! ;-)
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best YA fantasy! what will happen?

laini taylor is a straight-up godsend. she’s masterful at writing characters you care about, at building worlds down to the dust in the corner of a room, at creating conflicts that are analogous to a reader’s experiences despite being set in imaginary realms populated by creatures not-quite-human, and she’ll rip your heart out with zero regrets.

this book opens with the death of a character you’ve never met, so your heart stays right where it is, and then it schoomps back in time and you’re deep into a hundred or so pages following the story of a dreamy booknerd named lazlo strange (dreamy like “strange the dreamer,” not dreamy like [insert name of whatever celebrity is considered to be dreamy these days]) and his devotion to reading all the books, with an especial attraction to fairytales and stories about “the unseen city,” a land so far and mysterious that it has become the stuff of legend - warriors and creatures and magic, a city whose true name vanished from memory in an instant and is now known as weep. and this segment is all packed with details of war and lazlo’s obscure origins and his place within his world and magic and alchemy and unexpected opportunity and how books broke his nose and changed his life and by the time you meet up with the character whose death you witnessed in the prologue, you’re inundated with minutia and have half-forgotten that even happened.

but the other half remembers, and the more you get to know her, the more you don’t want to care too much about her as a character, because you know where this road ends. it’s no fun - braced for the inevitable thing that’s coming while the characters are themselves unaware, wanting there to be a creative loophole that will make things seem less …final.

it’s like how sean of the house came home when i was bingewatching OITNB season 5 and hung out for a bit and now that he’s joined me on my complete series rewatch, he’s already prepared for the death of a beloved someone that shocked us all when it happened, and now he’s in that uncomfortable position of knowing who but not when or how, and he’s not gonna feel the heartpunch as much as if he had just watched the show with me from the beginning, as i beseeched him to do.

seeing the future has never been something to envy, powerball aside.

overall, i didn’t love this as much as i loved the daughter of smoke and bone trilogy, which is still one of the best things i’ve ever read, particularly that middle book. there were times here when i thought her trademark poetical flourishes were strained and some of the banter was too cutesy, and it took a while to get going, but it’s still SO. DAMN. GOOD.

because she ended it with a friggin’ surgical strike to the feels.

just when you thought you were safe - when the thing you knew was gonna happen happened and you’re comforting yourself by googling silver linings and lemonade recipes for all these sour sour lemons, that’s when laini taylor swoops in and rips your heart out for real, and she’s all, “sucks to your lemonade, son!”

it’s like that line from Night Film:

Just when you think you've hit rock bottom, you realize you're on another trapdoor.

i am so ready for the second part of this.


the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
a mysterious city stripped of its name.
a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
a young librarian with a singular dream.
a girl every bit as dangerous as she is in danger.
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

on the one hand, that kind of sounds like drunk mad libs.

on the other hand, i LOVE drunk mad libs.

blood candy?? moths? carnage? librarian??

i want this like crazy.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
281 reviews504 followers
September 21, 2021
"You can kiss a ghost."
Welcome to purgatory. Care for some soup?

It's always great when authors manage to be consistent in things they are good at, without making it seem repetitive or overcooked. She is imaginative as ever, creative as ever, and that prose keeps getting better and better all the time. And bravo on the title of the book, though it seems obvious now, which was not what I had thought it was about.

"thakrar-(THAH-krahr)-noun: The precise point on the spectrum of awe at which wonder turns to dread, or dread to wonder."

What is it with Laini Taylor and the color blue? It was blue hair last time, and now it's come down to skin: Blue Gods... Well, I guess it is as good as any color, and may be her favorite. It's still strange though. Moving past that, we're back to Taylor's dreamy prose, both literally and figuratively this time. I wouldn't say the new world is more complicated than that of Daughter of S&B, but the author made is mysterious enough. For the most part, we're sharing the protagonist Lazlo's viewpoint over the events, and I think Taylor did a much better job with him compared to Karou. As for the rest of the characters, I guess there are equal amounts of love and hate to be distributed amongst them. The pace of the story is a bit slow, and when you consider that this author likes to set things up with the first half of the book, the readers will have to be patient until that part is over.

"Forbid a man something and he craves it like his soul's salvation."
"If anything's certain, it's that nothing's certain."

But once you're halfway through, the pace picks up quickly, and it's smooth sailing from there: twists and reveals are everywhere, leading up to the end. I usually make a brief comment on a books ending, but as any indication here would effectively become a spoiler, I'm going to make an exception here.

"One's child is always one's child."

I wouldn't call this a very long book, but it was a little longer than I would've preferred it to be. But I think that's just me, because my inherent dislike of heavy romance in fantasy. However, I did like the romance of here a lot better than the Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Though this still had that insta-love theme going on, the environs of Lazlo's dream world made it interesting. Still, I believe there's too much romance here for those who do not like romance in a fantasy book. Unlike the usual first book of a duology, this one concluded most plotlines quite well, leaving only a couple of open threads. Now it's time for Muse of Nighmares.

"Every mind is its own world."
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
November 17, 2019
the more i think about what i just read, the more i love it. i feel this story slowly seeping its way into my veins, integrating itself into the very fabric of my being.

overall, i think this book is very well balanced, but lazlo is definitely the highlight of the book for me. he is such a delight. a reader, a dreamer, a man after my own heart. i love following him on his journey and seeing his progression into becoming the man he wants to be. i became so invested in him as a character that i felt as if i knew him in reality - i love when that happens!

but beyond lazlo, this is an excellent story with brilliant writing that left me wanting more. i cannot wait to see how this story continues, how lazlo copes with everything, how the world introduced in this book changes. i think great things can be expected from this series and laini taylor is on her way to becoming one of the best fantasy writers of our time.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,399 reviews11.7k followers
January 29, 2023

You are in for a treat.

I mean, if you are a Laini Taylor fan and like her elaborate prose and rich worldbuilding and, let's be frank, romances with a whiff of instalove, I don't see how this book can disappoint you. It surely didn't disappoint me.

The story starts with a hungry orphan dreaming of a magic city beyond a vast desert where all kinds of wonders live. And ends... Well, I'll stop here because the biggest pleasure in reading Taylor's books is unspooling a wondrous yarn of her storytelling.

But rest assured, there are gods and wars with both sides guilty of unspeakable, "inter-species" love, guilt and envy, shame and regret, and impossible choices - all themes not unfamiliar to fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And yet this story is also unique and irresistibly captivating.
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.8k followers
March 9, 2022
Strange the Dreamer swept me away to a story and a world filled with magic and wonder.

Growing up an orphan, Lazlo Strange becomes a lowly librarian in the city of Zosma. But in his heart, he longs to discover the lost city of Weep. One day, an opportunity presents itself that opens the door to a world he had previously only dreamed of. Along the way, he'll uncover the mysteries of Weep, come face-to-face with magic, and find himself too.

This story reads like a fairy tale. The world that Laini Taylor creates is astonishing in detail and completeness. If feels so real, with mystical creatures, rich histories, and conquering heroes. It's easy to fall into this world and be swept away in its enchantments.

I thoroughly enjoyed its array of complex main characters. They are all likable, and I can relate to them and feel for them, even when they have to do bad things. The plot is so twisty and turny, leaving me at the edge of my seat. As the mysteries of Weep are slowly uncovered, there were surprises at every corner. And the ending left me stunned and amazed.

However, I did have a heck of a time getting into this book initially. I found the first 50 or so pages to be tortuously slow and confusing, and I often had to read sentences multiple times to understand them. Maybe it just took me a while to acclimate to Taylor's lyrical and descriptive prose. While her writing is beautiful, it isn't necessary to describe every building or hillside at depth. Or it could be that the initial pages tries to hint at all that is to come, and it's just too much when we haven't yet been properly introduced to the world. Whatever the cause, once I got over that initial big hump, the story grabbed me and didn't let go.

This is a duology, and I'm happy I don't have to say goodbye to this wonderous world just yet. I can't wait to see what magic the sequel holds.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
February 6, 2019
mahal-A risk that will yield either tremendous reward or disastrous consequence.

That's really the heart of what every reader desires in a fantasy world, right? Where there is no great risk, there is nothing worth losing, and where there is nothing worth losing, there is nothing worth reading. Perhaps that is the pinnacle of this book's excellence, but it's certainly not it's only great feature. I knew from the moment I dove in that this story would be special; the three pages of prologue were more beautiful, captivating, and gripping than the entirety of many books I've previously read. I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about the quality, structure, and exquisite nature of the writing, but I won't. I think it's been duly noted in most reviews that the dreamy state of writing creates an unparalleled atmosphere to enhance our experience within such a delicate fantasy world. I would liken it to "calligraphy, if calligraphy were written in honey."

"Vengeance... Vengeance ought to be spoken through gritted teeth, spittle flying, the cords of one's soul so entangled in it that you can't let it go, even if you try."

Best if you go into this knowing as little as possible, but for readers who need something to go on, there is a multi-layered plot that plays with the mind and the heart here. The beginning, after the prologue, is a slow building form of storytelling where we spend time getting to know Lazlo Strange and his part in this epic tale. Much emotion and feeling is infused here; I found this to be vital to the story as it forged my bond with Strange and welded my needs, hopes, and dreams with his own. Along the way, we are introduced to a new viewpoint where a similar form of storytelling is relayed. Once the two voices connect and intertwine, the pacing picks up and I really flew through to the end. While I would say this was easy to put down, I don't mean that in a negative way; this was simply a novel I wanted to savor and not rush through. I was able to completely immerse myself in this fantasy world and was thinking about it constantly throughout my day, but I felt comfortable doing this with no pressure to sneak around and cram in a few pages every spare second I had.

We find out the above spoiler fairly early on, which I'm assuming pertains heavily to the next book as well, but I wanted to block it out for those who want no information. While there is quite a bit of action in the final 75 pages or so, the majority of the book is epic characterization and faultless world building. The atmosphere is simultaneously whimsical and bleak; it was equal parts bleary loss and gleaming hope. It felt strange and wonderful to be a part of something so unique as it truly contained a dreamlike, wispy quality, whereas most fantasy I've read does not contain this aesthetic. Even the scenes at the end featuring war, cruelty, and violence contained that lighter, more beautiful aesthetic. Oh no! She's headed back to talking about the prose! Watch out! Seriously, this writing is otherworldly.

"She didn't take away his conflicting emotions, although she could have. She left his hate there, right beside the love. It was the hate of the used and tormented, who are the children of the used and tormented... And it was love. Love that sets forth the soul like springtime and ripens it like summer. Love as rarely exists in reality..."

I'll wrap this up, but I honestly was broken by that ending in the best possible way. If you haven't read the book, then pick it up immediately. It truly deserves all of the stars. If you have, then I'm sure we are all in agreement that Some of the finest writing I have had the pleasure of experiencing all year and easily my favorite fantasy to date, I highly recommend you read this. <3

*Thanks Bentley for buddy reading this one with me!
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
368 reviews975 followers
January 15, 2023
Re-read with Lynn and Alison ... I shall turn you into Laini Taylor-addicts like me in no time! MUAHAHAHA! ;)

A new Laini Taylor book, you say? Don’t mind if I do…


Perhaps you’d like some footage of me, when I accidentally found an autographed copy of my favourite author’s new book:


Let’s just start off by taking a moment to appreciate the fact that Strange the Dreamer was selected as a Michael L. Printz honour book (the silver sticker on the cover). All I can say is that it is extremely well-deserved because this book is a MASTERPIECE. Laini stayed true to the lovely and lush writing style that I fell in love with all those years ago.

WOW. MY GOD. I didn’t think it was possible, but this might have just chucked Daughter of Smoke & Bone to the side as my favourite series of all time. In Queen Laini’s usual style of brilliance, I was glued to my seat while reading this and would’ve finished it A LOT sooner if uni didn’t exist.

What did I love about it, you ask?


“‘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.’”

This is a faery tale. This is tale of mythology. This is a love story. This is story of gods and heroes. This is beautiful and full of monsters (wink, wink). This is a book of…everything.

I don’t want to accidentally spoil anyone, and nor do I know how to discuss this without spoilers, so I’m going to provide a general…



Fine. It’s your funeral. :P



“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn't sleep at all.”

Our story begins with the little cinnamon roll that is Lazlo Strange. He’s a precious little war-orphan who’s actually 20 years of age, but is so bloody cute. He is definitely more mature and sophisticated than a typical YA protagonist, and nor does he make ridiculously stupid decisions, which was refreshing. He is a Junior Librarian, aka the male version of MOI. By that, I mean he LOVES books, walks into walls while reading, and had his nose broken by the “villain” book of faery tales that fell down on his face on his FIRST DAY. He’s just too sweet and adorable for words. He helps people for no reason other than the fact that they are in need of help, never asking for the favour to be returned or payment for his services.

“Without his books, his room felt like a body with its hearts cut out.”


“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.”

Lazlo was raised by uncompromising monks, but only the senile one would tell him stories. Most of those stories were about a city, far beyond the desert, now lost to the world, including Zosma, which is where they currently are. But one day, the name of the city was erased from everyone’s memories and replaced with the word, “Weep.”

Ultimately, we learn that Weep was cut off from the world because of the arrival of six blue-skinned gods. Skathis was the god of beasts and lord of the mesarthium (an impenetrable metal). Isagol was the goddess of despair. Vanth was the god of storms. Korako was the goddess of secrets. Ikirok was the god of revelry. Letha was the goddess of oblivion. For two hundred years, the gods inhabited the floating Citadel in the sky, made of mesarthium. Over and over again, the gods would abduct the young men and women of Weep in order to breed thousands of godspawn, each with magical gifts of their own. After a few years, the men and women were returned to the city below, with no memories of what occurred to them in the Citadel. The godspawn, on the other hand, were never seen again, after their magical gifts manifested in the nursery. Thousands of children went POOF.

“You think good people can't hate?" she asked. "You think good people don't kill? ... Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It's just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

Eril-Fane, the Godslayer, married the love of his life, Azareen, five days before he was abducted by the gods. For three years, he was forced to serve as Isagol’s consort, where he inherently hated her and was compelled to love her simultaneously. Their time together ultimately resulted in the birth of Sarai. When Azareen was abducted and raped, Eril-Fane’s love for his wife overpowered the compulsion that Isagol had over him. He then slaughtered the six gods and the thirty godspawn in the nursery. The abducted humans, including Eril-Fane and Azareen, left the Citadel with their memories intact, having killed Letha before she could erase them. However, she spitefully had her revenge by erasing the memory of the city’s name from the world, replacing it with “Weep.”


“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.”

The eldest of the godspawn in the nursery was a six-year old, Minya, who escaped what is referred to as Eril-Fane’s “Carnage.” Her magical gift is being able to capture and control ghosts. She caught enough of them to create an army of the undead in the Citadel, but used a few of them to help raise the babies. Somehow, Minya never aged after all this time, retaining the appearance of a six-year old. During the Carnage, she managed to carry four babies with her into hiding. They were:



Sarai, the “Muse of Nightmares,” screamed and channelled her consciousness into a hundred moths. These moths could then lay upon the brows of dreamers, allowing her see and control their dreams, even turning them into nightmares. She’s the only one who could see what went on in the city below them.


Feral, the “Cloud Thief,” stole clouds from faraway. He could call rain clouds, snow, hail, and even lightning to the Citadel. He was their sole source of water, which kept them alive.


Sparrow, the “Orchid Witch,” made plants grow or wilt. Her ability to make the Kimril plant flourish was fundamental to their survival, as well, because Kimril was a flavourless vegetable with enough nutrients to keep them alive.


Ruby, the “Bonfire,” could combust into flames, creating warmth in the Citadel.

We then learn that Eril-Fane wants to remove the Citadel from Weep’s sky, thus threatening the secret lives that the godspawn have led until now. He led a convoy to foreign nations, including Zosma, in search of the keenest intelligence and the extraordinarily skilled to address Weep’s problem. In exchange for their help, he promises unimaginable treasure to the one who solves it. The convoy eventually includes:

Ebliz Todd, the builder, most notable for building the Cloudspire, the tallest structure in the world.

Calixte Dagaz, the acrobat, who climbed the 600-foot Cloudspire with only her hands and bare feet because she wanted to raid the tomb inside.

Thyon Nero, the alchemist and Prince of Zosma, who distilled azoth, the medium for making gold.

Jonwit Belabra, the mathematician.

Phathmus Mouzaive, the natural philosopher, who focused in magnetic fields.

Kae Ilfurth, the engineer.

The Fellerings, the metallurgists, who were a set of twins.

Fortune Kether, the artist, most renowned for his frescoes in public and his catapults and siege machines in private.

Drave, the explosionist, known for setting charges in mines and blowing the sides off of mountains.

Soulzeren Eoh, the farmer-botanist, and Ozwin Eoh, the mechanist. Together, they invented a silk sleigh, a craft that could fly.

“He wasn't an alchemist, or a hero. He was a librarian, and a dreamer. He was a reader, and the unsung expert on a long-lost city no one cared a thing about.”

And finally, Eril-Fane agrees to bring Lazlo along, as well. He basically volunteers to be Eril-Fane’s secretary and to be the errand-boy for the convoy, just for the opportunity to go to Weep. Lazlo’s studies of Weep (even uncovering the alphabet and recreating the language) were his life’s work and he wanted to finally see it for himself. The monks, librarians, and scholars all forgot and dismissed Weep as a fictional place, but Lazlo never did. He unconditionally always loved it and believed in it.

Once we reach this point in the novel, it goes full-speed ahead, all the way until the end. Get ready for the ride of your lives!!! I didn’t guess a SINGLE PLOT POINT in this entire novel (except for Lazlo turning out to be one of the godspawn).



“I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.”

I’m not even going to lie…my favourite part of the book was Dream Weep. What a pure and magical place that I’m SO MAD that I’ll never get to see it IN REAL LIFE with my own two eyes! UGH! And it just sounds like my ideal world, too. I mean, there’s a centaur and his lady on a date. HOW COOL IS THAT?!!! He bought dragon wings for himself and fox wings for Sarai at the wingsmith shop with dream money! Speaking of him and Sarai…AGH! Lazlo is so sweet and romantic and pure! Can I have a man who woos me like Lazlo? For crying out loud, he bought Sarai a bracelet with every phase of the moon for her because the moon was stolen from her! How utterly cute!!! He even planned out a lakeside (or was it seaside?) tea party, where he had the teapot pour for itself because he feared that he’d spill it from nerves. Oh. My. Gosh. I just can’t with his sweetness. He also imagined dream cakes for the tea party!!! And when he found out about Sarai’s nightmares…what was his response? “Turn [nightmares] into fireflies and catch them in jars.” SOMEONE PROTECT SARAI AND LAZLO AT ALL COSTS! They deserve cakes and hugs and kisses and all the happiness in the world! What sweet and pure protagonists. <3

And yes, as Laini Taylor tends to do, there is a bit of instalove in this. BUT IT WORKS. By the time it occurs, we've spent so much time with Sarai and Lazlo individually that we've fallen in love with them already. In Lazlo's dreams, they've spent so many scenes together in both silliness and seriousness, happiness and sadness that I didn't mind watching them fall in love with each other in a short amount of time.


And, although Laini Taylor did tell us what was going to occur from the beginning…



“The mahalath had come and remade them both. He was a god, and she was a ghost. A page had turned. A new story was beginning. You had only to look at Lazlo to know it would be brilliant. And Sarai could not be in it.”

SHE STILL BROKE MY HEART!!! WHY, LAINI?!!! WHYYY?!!! Why did Sarai have to be the one who fell from the Citadel???


I can’t handle all of these emotions and need to mend my broken heart ASAP. So, in conclusion, I have only one thing left to say, and that is…

Profile Image for Alana.
662 reviews1,268 followers
July 13, 2018

Did I read the wrong book?

I feel like I deserve to give an award winning speech after FINALLY finishing this.

I would like to thank my friends and family for sticking by my side while I nearly pulled my hair out and complained non-stop after reading nearly 300 pages of descriptions.


Don't get me wrong, at times the writing was beautiful, the world building was great and all but the plot was SO DAMN SLOW. Like, the book didn't even start until about 80% and by that point I was so done I just forced myself to stick it out.

This was not worth the hype and I am sad.

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Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,275 followers
January 10, 2018
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Lazlo Strange, abandoned orphan and bibliophile librarian, has nurtured an interest in fairy tales and legends since he was a boy. His secret passion is studying the language and lore of the lost city of Weep. Lazlo believes he'll never be brave enough to search for the forgotten city, but when a heroic figure known as the Godslayer arrives at his village in search of aid, the opportunity to cross the world is suddenly within his grasp.

Strange the Dreamer offers the same luscious and imaginative prose one can always anticipate from a novel written by Laini Taylor.

The black trees danced. His breath-ghost scudded away on a gust, only to be replaced by another. His shadow played out huge before him, and his mind gleamed with ancient wars and winged beings, a mountain of melted demon bones and the city on the far side of it - a city that had vanished in the mists of time.

One [dress] had a skirt like a cage carved of whalebone, another a long train made of hundreds of doves' wings all stitched together. There was a bodice of pure molded gold, made to look like a beetle's carapace, and a fan collar fashioned from the spines of poisonous fish, with tiny teeth sewn in patterns like seed pearls. There were headdresses and veils, corsets with daggers concealed in the stays, elaborate capes, and teetering tall shoes carved of ebony and coral.

There's a considerable amount of foundational exposition and world building, as this is the first book in a new series, but the author finds a delicate balance between introducing readers to a new world with never-before-seen mythical creatures and delivering a complete story with a cast of intriguing characters. While Lazlo makes for a likable and refreshing protagonist, he's accompanied by a batch of equally alluring characters such as a tricky alchemist, a sage monk, a sly thief, and a blue-skinned goddess, to name a few.

This book is a mixed bag of everything readers want from an epic fantasy: magic and whimsy; a fresh take on supernatural abilities; a compelling mystery; an undeniable sense of exploration and adventure; a new realm of fantastical proportions, and a satisfying ending that sets the stage for more to come.

Locales are easy to visualize in one's mind, character motivations sing with truth, and the electric thrill of young love is portrayed with velvet language:

There was a dusting of nearly invisible freckles on the bridge of her nose. The glide of their faces was as slow as poured honey, and her lips. Ever so slightly, they parted. The bottom one, voluptuous as dew-bright fruit, parted from its fellow - for him - and it was the most enticing thing he'd ever seen. A blaze of desire surged through him and he leaned into the honey-slowness, pushing the hopelessness out of his way to take that sweet, soft lip between his own.

A dazzling start to an exhilarating new series, Strange the Dreamer offers beauty and wonder, magic and mysticism, monsters and gods.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews931 followers
January 17, 2021
Peculiar. Resplendent. Gripping.

These are just a couple of words that race through my mind when I consider Strange the Dreamer.

Laini Taylor has solidified her spot as one of my favorite authors with this release.

I am unapologetically in love with her style of writing. I am a shameless worshiper of her artistry for willing forth magnificent worlds & characters & scenarios from her pen.

I devour her books like oxygen.

Before I get ahead of myself, I want to mention that I did notice some small things that bothered me here and there, which I will detail later.

However, I still chose to give this book a 5 stars because overall I don't feel those issues weigh enough to affect my rating.

This is one of the richest worlds we have seen from Taylor yet.

We focus mostly on the city of Weep, but the story is crafted in such a way that it suggests magnitude beyond that focus. It's crafted from a bloody, fantastical history. It's teeming with science & lore & magic.

This is the type of world I savor.

"Beautiful, and full of monsters."

I appreciate the intense degree of characterization in this novel. I got such a well-formed picture for each character in my mind while I read, especially our two main characters, Lazlo and Sarai.

Lazlo is a tender-hearted librarian, and entirely consumed by his whimsical imagination. His dreams and benevolence run as deep as the ocean, and I tripped and fell head over heels for him almost immediately.

Strange the Dreamer.

Sarai is a solemn, intelligent godspawn. She is woven from the material of conflict, light and darkness spun into the form of a young woman. She is at war with her own compassion, experiencing both hatred & empathy for the opposing sides of a war she almost didn't survive.

The Muse of Nightmares.

I believed in both of these characters. I was never bored with either perspective. I was ravaging my fingernails while waiting to see how this dreadfully exquisite plot would unravel.

This story is much more than the sum of its parts.

It's about the ferocity of love & hope. It's about the persistence of hatred & prejudice. It's about underestimating people, and overestimating people, and finding out whether or not we are capable of forgiveness.

As for my issues, of course we do see a small bit of insta-love. It was not a glaring problem. Taylor's style of writing and depth of characterization almost always keep my suspension of disbelief intact.

Reading the about Lazlo and Sarai gave me that giddy, fresh love, honeymoon infatuation feeling you get when you first begin seeing someone.

Your heart flutters & your breath hitches and the pure potential for a spectacular love leaves you glowing.

And so just like with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I found it easy to excuse any insta-love hints I may have seen.

Also, the pacing for the first 70% of the book was rather slow but if you know anything about me, I'm almost never bothered by a slow pace.

I actually prefer it because I feel it gives the author a chance to properly introduce and provide adequate details for the story they're writing.

Objectively though, I can see where some may feel it was too slow.

But this book was everything for me. Laini Taylor is the kind of artist who inspires me to want to create and add something beautiful to this world.

I adore this book & I want nothing more than to get my hands on the next one.

This and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!

Buddy read this with my bad-boy lovin' bff Kainat & the terrifying but tremendous dark lord herself Jennymort! And basically the rest of Goodreads, who are we kidding.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,072 followers
September 2, 2019
“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all. On the occasions that he did look up from the page, he would seem as though he were awakening from a dream. ‘Strange the dreamer’ they called him. ‘That dreamer Strange.”

Ok, so I think I fell into the trap of overhype with this one. Laini Taylor and I have an uncertain relationship. Her imagination cannot be faulted, the worlds she creates are truly remarkable. But on the flip side she is heavily romanced focussed – way too much for me, which I discovered during her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I also never really got the term ‘purple prose’ until I read her books – there’s in depth description, and then there’s an entire chapter on 2 people kissing…And Laini Taylor dives straight over the line and into the insta love.

Strange the Dreamer has so many 5 star reviews, and when I read the synopsis I felt sure I’d love it. (I mean, I obviously enjoyed it by my 4 stars, but it didn’t make my favourites shelf, just to put it in perspective.) There was loads I loved, but there was quite a bit that hindered my reading experience.

So, Lazlo Strange is an orphan, raised by monks until he gets the chance to work in the Great Library and become a librarian. From there he reads everything he possibly can, most specifically, any book on the mysterious city of Weep, a land that has had its name stolen; a land whose mysteries Lazlo is desperate to unravel.

When a group of visitors from Weep arrive and invite a collection of the smartest and most innovative individuals to travel back with them, Lazlo knows this is his chance to discover his dream once and for all. He convinces their leader to take him with them, much to everyone else’s surprise, in particular Thyon Nero with whom Lazlo has a turbulent relationship.

On arrival in Weep they discover a dark and violent history and a floating Citadel high above the city that the residents are unable to bring down or remove – hence the group of geniuses they’ve selected.

“We are all children in the dark, here in Weep.”

Pros and Cons time, because I feel like making a list.

Lazlo Strange – his character is wonderful. He is bookish and curious and full of wonder. Loved him.
World building. The history of Weep was great, absolutely fascinating and cleverly built.
Minya’s character. She was creepy as fuck, but INTERESTING.
Sparrow – I love her with my whole heart.
Thyon was a great character to dislike – I was on the bandwagon for that.

Ruby and Feral (I won’t say what because spoilers. But just no to both of them)
Waaaaaaaay too much mushy stuff with Sarai and Lazlo. Like you could all die, want to hold off on making out for like five minutes?? Honestly.

“Beautiful and full of monsters? All the best stories are.”

Overall I think I’m leaning more toward 3.5 and I’m slightly worried all the mega fans are gonna come after me, but please, leave it out.


I have heard NOTHING but good things about this book, so come at me hype!
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,300 followers
February 21, 2023
As a boy at the abbey, stories had been Lazlo's only wealth.
He was richer now.
Now he had books.

Those of you who’ve been following my reviews and rant-views for a while, already know that my first experience with Laini Taylor and her Daughter of.. was a complete failure.
I kind of enjoyed the writing, even if I found it a little pompous and confusing, and the plot was not bad either, but my main problems were the characters and their interactions.
I couldn’t be happier to admit that Strange the Dreamer made me change my mind and it did it in a way such that I’ll probably never stop thinking about this book.
I loved everything about this book.
The characters are all so amazing and well-crafted, even the evil ones.
Lazlo is simply adorable and incredibly relatable. I think his passion for everything bookish is admirable and something that we all can identify with, especially us Goodreads people.
I felt a deep connection with both him and Sarai, and their love is so pure and sweet that it makes you want to find your soulmate and fall in love for the rest of your life.
"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."

I also particularly liked Sparrow and Ruby’s sisterly relationship, Calixte's witty bits, Shueyla's spirit and Eril-Fane and Azareen's mutual grief.

The setting is fantastic, it helps with the pace of the story and it creates the right dream-like atmosphere.
I think the problem with Laini Taylor and urban/modern settings, is that her imagination is so wild and big that, when it has to be contained or confined into a space and a story that follow determined rules, it loses half of its perfection.
So, yeah, the fact that Strange the Dreamer takes place in a world that the author’s created from the ground up, does nothing but add positive points to the final outcome.
Again, what I enjoyed the most was the writing.
Nothing beats the writing.
The author has a way with words that leaves you stunned, incredulously wondering how can someone even think of putting those simple words together and form coherent, unforgettable and striking lines like those ones.
Said this, I can’t help but mention all those wonderful quotes *_________* they’ll definitely stay with me forever.
Its emptiness was stark. The room felt hollow and dead, like a body with its hearts cut out. Breathing wasn't easy.
He dropped onto the edge of his bed.
"They're only books," he told himself. Just paper and ink.
Paper, ink, and years.
Paper, ink, years, and dreams.

I adore Strange the Dreamer, it's the perfect story for those who aren't afraid to dream.
It also doesn't hurt that it was recommended to me by someone I admire and love very much. It makes this book twice as special.

The twists tho...
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Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,206 followers
April 27, 2017
What a spectacular world Laini Taylor has crafted in this book! Every once in awhile I enjoy a paranormal/fantasy type of story, but it definitely isn't my go-to genre. Yet, Laini Taylor has managed to suck me in once again. The beauty of her words and the vivid imagery that she creates never ceases to amaze me.

This book centers on Lazlo Strange, aka "Strange the Dreamer". An orphan, he has never really had a home or felt like he fit in. The closest he's come to a sense of normalcy is during his time in the Great Library. He grows up to become a librarian, submersing himself in the stories that he loves so much.

More than anything else, he is captivated by tales of the "unseen city". He remembers hearing the stories about the city and the travelers that used to return from having crossed over the city's borders. Then one day, the city seemed to be forgotten. Unlike everyone else in his town, Lazlo remembers the feeling of having his memory of the name of the city pulled away from him. In it's place is the name "Weep".

When a mythical hero, the Godslayer, arrives in town, Lazlo is able to join the group on their quest for Weep. This is his biggest dream come to life. He finally has a chance to see the legendary city that he's only fantasized about.

What awaits Lazlo is more than he had imagined. Mythical beings, age-old grudges and a history that melded the worlds of gods and men. As more of Weep's past is unearthed, the brutality of the city's past is brought to light. Lazlo is forced to look at the city and it's inhabitants through a new lens.

Although Lazlo was the central focus for much of this story, Ms. Taylor provides a robust cast of characters. Each member of this large cast brings something special to the story. I don't want to say too much for fear that I might spoil this story for others.

Sarai is such a character. Her relationship with Lazlo is essential to the progression of the plot. From his dreams to his reality, Lazlo could not have found a better match than Sarai. They made each other better for having known one another. Their relationship was sweet and innocent, but also intense and emotional. I loved watching their bond evolve and seeing how their actions changed how they viewed the "outside" world.

From start to finish, this was an entertaining and captivating story. Laini Taylor's writing is poetic. You can't help but notice the beauty of her prose.

I listened to the Audible version of this book and it was well-narrated. My only criticism is that it was a bit hard to follow at first. This author's works are multifaceted and incredibly detailed. At first, this can be a bit difficult to follow when listening. I did have to rewind a few times in the beginning to keep my characters and events straight. However, I was able to get it all sorted out pretty soon and I wouldn't trade the richness of the story for the small amount of time lost.

Overall, I thought that this was a wonderful story! I would definitely recommend it, whether you're a die-hard fan of paranormal/fantasy or if you're just an occasional dabbler, like me. Laini Taylor has created a fantastical and intriguing world. I am looking forward to seeing where this series will go.

Check out more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
October 27, 2018
So strange and terrible and lovely
❝Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters.❞

I finally get it. I get the shrines built for Laini Taylor, the adoration of her faithful fans, because after diving into her whimsical and peculiar stories of boys and girls consumed by hunger, swallowing fairy tales and miracles and plums, dreaming big and loving tenderly and passionately, not worshipping her is not an option. It’s a reflective response. I can’t tell you the exact moment I got lost in her words; I can only tell you that I never recovered.
❝It was the first week of Twelfthmoon, on the far side of Elmuthaleth, and Strange the dreamer –library stowaway and scholar of fairy tales – had never been thirstier, or more full of wonder.❞

Full of wonder is the perfect description of how I felt while reading Strange the Dreamer; full of yearning, of an insatiable need to taste and touch and feel the world Laini Taylor created. To live inside it, to savor it in my tongue and bask in the otherworldliness and the warmth that enveloped me. I was incorporeal, weightless, trailing behind Lazlo, flying among moths, smelling leather-bound tomes, strolling along colorful gardens, torn between dreams and nightmares. Blue skin, crimson blood, golden domes, were all I could see. I was ephemeral and eternal and I knew, with absolute clarity, that this little piece of magic will always hold a special place in my heart.
❝The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.❞

Strange the Dreamer is the story of a librarian who was fortunate enough to accomplish his heart’s greatest desire; to see the mythic lost city of Weep, and to gather evidence of magic. It’s the story of the Muse of Nightmares, a girl banished from the world for the crimes of her mother, but found compassion for the ones who wronged her. It’s the story of a hero who was also a butcher. A golden son who could not grasp the concept of kindness. A girl who was stuck in the past and wished to avenge the dead by causing a second massacre. It’s the story of gods and monsters and men, of heroic villains and villainous heroes, of pure love, heinous crimes and, in the end, acceptance.
❝He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn't sleep at all.❞

There is no character I have cherished more than Lazlo Strange; I identified with him, with the physical attraction to books and pages and lores and tales to the very marrow. His quest to find magic, his incline towards kindness instead of malice, they are some rare qualities that made him so precious. Sarai, with her understanding and her dream to belong in a world full of hatred and prejudice was also endearing. Every single character was portrayed in various shades, a blend of self-loathing, hatred, ambition, redemption and love coated them, leading them to horrible things and great acts of courage.
❝I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.❞

Strange the Dreamer was a remedy for the soul; it inflicted wounds, painful and devastating wounds, but it did so in a delicate manner. You only have to discover it yourselves!

Review also posted on BookNest!
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