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STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor - Review

May 26, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased Hardbound

Publication Date: March 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown
Point of View: 3rd Person Omniscient

Genre: Fantasy Adventure

 

 

 

 

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It's been two days since I finished this book . . . and I still don't quite know how to put my thoughts into words!

 

You see, I went into this book with absolutely no idea what I was about to read. I mean, I sort-of skimmed the synopsis, but didn't really pay attention. I'd never read anything by Laini Taylor before, and the ONLY reason I grabbed this one was because I was seeing all these rave reviews about it. And it's pretty, and I had the chance to grab it so . . . why not?

 

So when I say this book blew me away, I mean, seriously--

IT BLEW ME AWAY. I was so NOT PREPARED.

 

WHAT I LOVED

 

Let me start with that opening scene. Because, guys . . . THAT OPENING SCENE. It's so strange, so surreal, and so utterly, utterly gripping! You don't even know what's happening yet, but it's written so perfectly, so tragically, so compellingly that you just know you HAVE to keep reading in order to fully understand.

 

Lazlo is . . . I mean, seriously. Lazlo. He's a librarian. He's so earnest, so hard-working, so self-effacing. He's not without his faults, sure, but those only serve to make you love him so much more! I adored him. I want to wrap him up in fuzzy blankets and keep him forever.

 

Sarai was appealing too. I didn't like her quite as much as I adored Lazlo, but she was a fascinating view-point in her own way. Her love for her "family" was compelling , and the tortured dichotomy of desires she experiences made for gripping reading. I loved the unfolding drama of her powers . . . Laini Taylor handled that so brilliantly, maintaining the mystery just long enough and then providing such a fascinating resolution which leads on to deeper mysteries.

 

Gosh, I know I'm sounding so vague! The thing is, I desperately DON'T want to give away anything, because the surprises and revelations are the heart and soul of this story, and I wouldn't spoil that for any of you for the world! You need to just trust me and pick up this beautiful book for yourselves. You won't regret it!

 

Oh, and can I just mention that the book is written in the omniscient narrative? Which gives it such a sense of throw-back classicism that is SO PERFECT for the story unfolding. I was an English Lit. major in collage, and I loved, loved, loved all the Victorian novels I read, so I developed a passion for the omniscient narrative . . . which is just not in favor with YA fantasy these days, sadly. But Laini Taylor used it and made it feel right for the modern reader. Her style harkens back to the classics, but it never feels old or tired. It's quite modern, really, but with that perfect balance.

 

It's just brilliant.

 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE SO MUCH

 

Well, you'll notice that I did knock the book by a half star. I honestly thought it was going to be a five star read for me . . . except for the VERY LAST PAGE. The very last page had a plot-twist that sets up for the second book . . . and I just didn't like it. It made me feel kind of bleh about the next book. I can't say exactly why without major spoilers. But there were SO many ways she could have set up for a fascinating book two in her duology and this . . . just wasn't it.

 

Also, I'm not going to lie--the romance was over the top. Insta-love to the max and then just SO overblown and gushy. I mean, in some ways it was kind of sweet. But once it got started, it sort of dominated huge sections of the book. The plot was so fascinating, and a dash of romance certainly would have added sweetness and interest. But this was a lot more than a dash. It was like someone tried to sprinkle salt, and the top came off the salt cellar, and it all just poured out in a heap.

 

But . . . despite these complaints, I'm only docking a half star because I loved the book SO MUCH. I read it in just two days even though it's quite a huge book. I simply couldn't put it down and scrambled to find reading time at every possible moment!

 

And I'm totally going to go find and read ALL of Laini Taylor's other books now. I've got a few more reads I need to get out of the way first, then be prepared! It's going to be a Laini Taylor marathon over here.

 

 

Don't forget . . . this book, along with all the other books I read for the month, is a contender for my Book of the Month. I'll be giving one mailing list subscriber a print copy of my favorite read for the months of May and June (because I'm crunching two months together due to my reading schedule right now). If you'd like a chance to win a great read for yourself, be certain to subscribe to my mailing list!

 

 

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