Quick Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strange the dreamer This book is surprisingly dark despite having a protagonist that is such a pure soul.  I shouldn’t have been surprised since Laini Taylor’s previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone wasn’t filled sunshine and rainbows either but the when the backstory of Weep is revealed and you see the toll it has on the city is palpable.  I’m not sure where to begin with this book.  I feel that anything I say will not do it justice and I also don’t want give anything away either.  Lazlo Strange is an orphan and a dreamer.  He was raised by Monks and then reared by Librarians.  He is fascinated by stories and in particularly the story of the lost city of Weep.  A city that had so many treasures but 200 years ago was lost to the world and forgotten. Even it’s name has been lost.  It’s now just a myth and a story to everyone but Lazlo.  It’s his dream to find it.  So he takes every opportunity to find out more about the city.  He scours the library books for any scrap of information about Weep.  One day out of nowhere, warriors from Weep lead by the Godslayer, show up in his town and he is appeals to them to take him with them.  They need help and even though he doesn’t know how he can help he knows he just has to go.  In Weep, Sarai is a Godspawn who lives in the Citadel above Weep without the City knowing.  Fifteen years ago, the Godslayer and the people of Weep killed the Gods and Goddesses that had enslaved them, not knowing that five children still lived.  Each of her siblings have special powers but only Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, can truly see the City.  Every night she releases her moths and visits the people of Weep’s dreams.  Sarai may have skin the color blue and see people’s dreams but she is still a teenage girl.  She is still has the same hopes and dreams as others her age but she also lives in fear of the people down below.  She knows what they did to the other Gods and Goddesses and what they did to the other children who were not saved.  She fears that if they ever found out about her and her siblings, that they too will kill them too.  Things really start to pick up when Lazlo, warriors and the other foreigners come to Weeo.  We see the true hurt and pain of both the people of Weep and the Godspawn.  They both are justified in their anger and hurt.  They both have reasons to fear the other.  When it comes to fear, rational thought is not always easy as any of us can attest too.  Lazlo is different though.  He is truly a dreamer. He helps people because he sees they need help. He sees possibilities is things that most of us would overlook.  He is Strange.  When Sarai first visits his dreams she is taken in at how vivid it is but also that he can see her.  She is not just a spectator or a manipulator, she is a participant in her dreams.  An invited guest.  They soon grow a connection and of course fall in love even though they had never actually met.  Despite the uplifting and positive protagonists that lead this story the darkness is always seething around the corner of every page.  You really can’t get around the sins of both the people of Weep and the Gods themselves and that’s the genius of the story.  The beauty of it.  It’s like an old Grimm’s fairy tale that underneath the glow and polish there is an undercurrent of darkness.  A modern day fairy tale where the true villains are already dead but there are no one is truly innocent.  Except for maybe Lazlo but even he will probably not stay innocent for long.

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