Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
“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…more”
It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.
Exquisite. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this masterful tale created by Laini Taylor. This book is a graceful combination of rich images, well-written characters, and amazing storytelling.
Even though it’s been quite some time since I first read this book, I’m still pleasantly haunted by Taylor’s striking images and lively characters. Lazlo Strange, in particular, was my favorite. As a reader and dreamer, I felt it was more than easy to relate to Strange and his love for books and fairytales.
“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.”
Taylor did an excellent job endearing Lazlo Strange to her readers with his kind and curious nature, and she did an even more excellent job of establishing a stunningly magical world embossed with gold and complex dreams.
Her characters were multi-dimensional and unique, especially the blue-skinned creatures of Weep. Despite being seen as heartless monsters, Sarai and her companions are much more than they seem. The relationship between the god-like creatures, Lazlo, and his human companions is intricate and faced with many challenges. Throughout the story it’s frequently shifting and forced to change based on circumstance. Lazlo and Sarai’s relationship, in particular, is both beautiful and tragic.
“There was a man who loved the moon, but whenever he tried to embrace her, she broke into a thousand pieces and left him drenched, with empty arms.”
Pace-wise, the story is pretty slow going. The action doesn’t really pick up until the end, which is very edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, explosive, and fairly heartbreaking. However, it takes a while to get there. In some places the writing could be very convoluted and superfluous; the descriptions are beautiful but also unnecessary at times. Also, there are some moments that stall the momentum of the story, such as a dream sequence that spans thirty or so pages. While very romantic and important, it was also pretty boring, all things considered.
Despite these issues, I can truthfully say this book is really a feast for the imagination. It holds gorgeous writing, striking images, memorable characters, and potent themes. And after that ending, I’m really excited to see where this story goes!