Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer Series #1)

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer Series #1)

by Laini Taylor


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An instant New York Times bestseller and Michael L. Printz honor book!

Eleven best of lists including an NPR Best Book, a Goodreads Best YA Fantasy and Science Fiction Nominee, and more!

From National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes an epic fantasy about a mythic lost city and its dark past.

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 form 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? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams?

In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

The answers await in Weep.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316341677
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Series: Strange the Dreamer Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 21,106
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

About the Author

Laini Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion novella A Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger; the National Book Award finalist Lips Touch: Three Times; and Strange the Dreamer. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

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Strange the Dreamer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“You have no idea how much consideration I’ve given it. I lived seven years inside these books. My body may have been going about its duties in the library, but my mind was here. Do you know what they called me? Strange the dreamer. I was barely aware of my surrounding half the time…I walked around wondering what kind of wings I would buy if the wingsmiths came to town, and if I’d prefer to ride dragons or hunt them” Strange The Dreamer is the first book in the Strange The Dreamer duology by American author, Laini Taylor. Lazlo Strange is a war orphan brought up in a monastery. A twist of fate sees him working as a librarian at the Great Library of Zosma when the Godslayer comes looking for men and women of skill to help solve the problem facing the city of Weep. Ever since he was a boy, Lazlo has been fascinated by the city that has been silent in the world for two hundred years. Brother Cyrus fired his passion with fantastic tales, and it has long been his dream to find out what happened to this mysterious place. His voracious appetite for any scrap of knowledge about Weep has filled all his spare time, but what skills could a librarian offer? Taylor gives the reader a clever and imaginative plot with plenty of twists and turns. Her characters are suitably appealing or repulsive as required, and her world-building is smooth and subtle: there are no info dumps here. Her descriptive prose is often gorgeous, and she demonstrates a clever turn of phrase: “He wasn’t conscious that this was a dream. He was simply in it. The logic that belonged to the real world had remained behind, like luggage on a dock” as well as gems of wisdom: “He realised that all this time he’d been looking to the Godslayer as a hero, not a man, but that heroes, whatever else they are, are also men – and women – and prey to human troubles just like anybody else” This tale has all the required elements of a fantasy adventure: heroes and heroines, gods and goddesses, warriors, orphans, ghosts, angels and demons, monsters and fantastic beasts, dreams and nightmares, alchemy, magic and a mysterious metal called Mesarthium, cruelty and kindness, romance and heartbreak, and all contained within a gorgeous cover (in particular the half blue hardcover). There is much left unresolved so fans will be pleased to know that the story continues in Muse of Nightmares, for which, hopefully, the wait will not be unduly lengthy. Utterly enthralling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As far as YA epic fantasy goes I have to admit this is one of my favorites I've read in a good long while. I have read Taylor's 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' series which I also enjoyed but the depth and scope of the world building in this is just mind blowing as well as where I believe the story as a whole really excelled. The characters were also wonderfully crafted and for the most part complex, I greatly appreciated the fact that Taylor managed to include romance as a main focus without letting it become too overwhelming and cheesy or fall into the pitfalls so many YA fantasy novels do these days where romance is concerned. There were elements of somewhat overused staples in the fantasy genre i.e. the idea of a chosen one, a quest, orphaned children coming into greatness and a princess-like figure in need of fairy tale rescuing by the main male protagonist but Taylor does work to subvert these and is for the most part successful. Overall this is a gripping and beautifully written read that I couldn't put down until I finished it. Long time fans and newcomers to her work alike will enjoy this and wait eagerly for the sequel. I know I will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! Five Thousand Stars! When reading a great book, I usually get caught up in the action and romance, and want to race through to the next chapter to see what happens next. But not with Strange the Dreamer: I wanted to savour every word on every page, to take my time and enjoy the characters, the incredible story and the amazing world that Ms Taylor created. I never wanted it to end because I knew that I would miss it and having to wait another year for the next book would just kill me. Strange the Dreamer is easily my favourite book of the year and I have read many great books so far, but this one will stick in my mind (and my heart) for the longest time. It is one those books that I will re-read many times, not to remember the story, but to re-live it again – the beautiful writing (I highlighted half of the book with amazing quotes), the unforgettable characters and the incredible fantasy world. Ms Taylor is truly a god of writing!
thelonereader More than 1 year ago
Normally, I am a petty reader, yes? I’m in it for the romance, and in addition to that, I need a stellar plot, great characters, angst – the whole shebang. But this book, this book was something else. It is the most exquisitely written book I’ve read in my life. Heck, Jane Austen has nothing on Laini Taylor, apparently. I don’t know if I felt this strongly about her writing with the first series, but now that I’m older and took my time reading this – it lasted me almost exactly a month – I got the chance to appreciate how beautiful Taylor’s storytelling is. It’s artistry, it is. The plot of this book is amazing, of course, but that’s not the reason you’re going to pick up this book. You’re going to pick it up for the writing style and the descriptions, and you’re also going to pick it up for the main character, Lazlo Strange. Lazlo, he’s a gem. He’s a monk turned librarian, and he loves books even more than you or I do. He’d rather stay in the library researching a city that may or may not have ever existed than go outside and talk to girls. Same Lazlo, same. He’s the type of person I wish every human was. He’s very sweet and open-minded, and he believes in the world. He thinks that anything is possible, and he helps others with no ill or selfish intentions. He falls in love as guilelessly and purely as one can, and he is so so sweet. And yet he has a really rough, beautiful, unique exterior than yeah, my brain might have salivated over while imagining. Lazlo has been told his entire life that he wasn’t meant for greatness, but HA. One thing I will say about this book is that it’s really, extremely long, except I’m not stating it as a negative aspect so much as a fact. Yes, it’s 532 pages long, but it also feels like such a journey, and I can’t even imagine reading this book in one or two days like I would with other books. Normally I find that unnecessarily long descriptions and settings are a chore to read through, but I didn’t feel that way with this book. Sure, I got tired by the time I made it ten percent further into the book, but the writing in addition to the characters and the dialogue made it worth my while and my energy. I don’t want to go into specifics about what this book is about because this book is magical and I can’t help but feel that it should be preserved – although you can check out the synopsis if you want the bare bones – but really, just go into this without research, and you will be most pleasantly surprised. I haven’t really been overtly impressed with any of the books that I’ve read so far this year, but I think this one makes the list. It may not be my favorite book ever, but man, this is literature. If you’re still curious: Lazlo Strange is a librarian, and Sarai is godspawn. Lazlo is obsessed with the city of Weep, except that’s not the real name of the city – long story. Once, not too long ago, there was a war between the humans and the gods. The humans won, and killed all of the gods and all of the godspawn. Or so they thought. Sarai has a terrible gift involving moths and dreams, and Lazlo is a dreamer. Lazlo and Sarai don’t even physically meet until 61% percent into the book, but I kid you not when I say the author somehow makes it work. I will say it one more time: this book is a masterpiece. I gave it five stars (★★★★★).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my Gods. This book is amazing through and through. The writing is poetic, the world-building is not at all overwhelming, the story is a nail biting thrill ride, and the characters- Deserve their own paragraph. First off, Lazlo is such a lovable character because he is such an underdog but with the most passionate heart. I loved seeing him evolve, I loved seeing him make something of himself for the sake of his own wants and needs and not the pressure of others who doubted him. Sarai and the other godspwan are so beautiful and very relevant and very human despite being half so. Laini was excellent at defining them separately and giving them realistic wants and needs and they were just so precious. It's easy to sympathize with the godspawn, especially Sarai, because they never consented to the circumstances that they were forced into (their human parents included). The world is against them (for good and bad reasons- both are defended realistically and make good points) even though they are not against the world. Sarai is the only one with the closest connection to humans and even then she still feels the farthest away. Her courage and decisions and willpower is very impressive and she is incredibly easy to root for. Now, the story. It is dark. It gets darker. I cannot further elaborate without spoilers, but know that it is extremely relevant to modern day taboos about rape. That is all I will say. But even light shines through the shadows. Expect beautiful visuals and descriptive settings and vivid scenes (which Laini excels at) and admire the wonder that is love and hate and blood and carnage and dreams. Strange the Dreamer is a worthy read by far.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure I have the proper words to review this. I loved Lazlo and his absolute love for Weep and all of its secrets. I truly enjoyed being in his head while he was discovering things. There is quite a cast of characters here, but I'm not going to say anything else, because spoilers. The plot is quite a slow burn, but I was captivated from the very beginning. And by the time the ending happened, I couldn't believe that's where it stopped. Even though it was over 500 pages. It's lyrical and lovely and heartbreaking and funny and swoony and just so Laini. I think I felt every emotion possible while reading it and I can't wait to see what happens next. **Huge thanks to Mysterious Galaxy for letting me borrow their store copy** **Mega thanks to The Novl for sending me an arc and making me scream**
WitchyWriter 9 days ago
I picked up this book, and its sequel, thanks to a recommendation on book Twitter. Sometimes social media is a depressing place to be, but gems like this balance it out. I can’t say enough good things about the writing. I didn’t really know what the story was going to be about—I tend to enjoy going into books without any expectations regarding the plot, nowadays. Right from the start, Lazlo swept me along with his bookish charm, his yearning for adventure, his scholarly spirit. As the story progressed, I started to expect a beautiful, finely-crafted fantasy adventure. What I got was a beautiful, finely-crafted fantasy adventure that has ALL THE FEELS and is a treatise in story form of the f-ing painful process of recovering from generational trauma. I didn’t know how much I needed this story until I read it, and now I can’t imagine how anyone can feel complete without it. It will surprise you. It will startle you. It will make you angry, and sad, and happy, and aching with yearning just like the characters are feeling. I don’t want to give stuff away about the plot, so let’s just leave it at that for this one. This duology is a love letter written to the trauma-healing process. It’s beautiful and strange and exactly what we need.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
This book broke me. I love novels that wrap you up so thoroughly in their world that, when you're finished, it's like walking out of a dark movie theatre into bright sunlight. You're both a bit shocked by the sudden change of atmosphere, and filled with a bubbling need to talk to EVERYONE about what you just experienced. Hi, I'm Amber, and I just read Strange the Dreamer. This book is BEAUTIFUL. It's a heart-wrenching love story, mythology, war, magic and science and adventure and family and finding a way to fit into ones own skin. Laslo Strange and a dozen others are brought to the once-believed mythical city of Weep to help solve the problem of the immovable citadel in the sky. He never expected to discover a beautiful blue-skinned young lady in his dreams, or answers to his past. Laslo is a kind, good man. He is called Strange the Dreamer, and reading about him, his dreams spilled out like ink on to the page and left me in thrall. I adored him and I was eery rooting for him to be happy and whole. I loved the love story. And Sarai, our other main story line, was brave and strong in her own accord. I enjoyed the both. The minor characters, and the despicable villain, are just as well developed and lovable. But it is Laini's WRITING that draws me in the most. Every sentence is beautifully crafted. The book is lyrical without allowing the words to distract from the story. She's a true master of the art, and I am sold on her work. I will absolutely be continuing on to Muse of Nightmares. I am so broken by the ending of this book, so you know. Know that the ending is brutal.
JillJemmett More than 1 year ago
I had never read a Laini Taylor book before this one, and I loved it! I’ll definitely be reading more of her books. I was hooked right from the beginning. I really liked Lazlo. He was a unique character for a fantasy novel, because he was so meek. He didn’t know much beyond his books in the library. He was a dreamer, as the title suggests. However, he was able to live his dream, which changed him. The city of Weep was so fascinating. I loved the mystery of how the name suddenly disappeared from history. The gods and godspawn were creepy, though. It took a while to get used to the dynamics of the godspawn up in the citadel. There are a few who I really didn’t like. I would love to see a backstory to the gods and their escapades before they were killed. The ending was quite surprising. I can’t wait to continue this series with Muse of Nightmares.
Book_and_recipe_Examiner More than 1 year ago
from that land seeking help with a problem they have endured for same length of time. In an isolated city, a girl with blue skin, cinnamon-colored hair, and a magic ability that affects dreamers, lives in a tower with only four more of her race—three other girls and one boy. They have been raised by ghosts and a small girl whose body is frozen as a child, just as much as her mind is in their brutal past, and the horrifying Carnage she endured and saved the others from. Each child, now growing, has their own magic as well, which has kept them alive these last fifteen years, though in a boring, isolated way. Only Sarai has a connection to the outside world, and it is she who will attempt to seek answers that don’t end in violence or death. With elements of ancient Judaism intertwined with sci-fi and a heavily post-apocalyptic fervor, Strange the Dreamer is a frightful lesson about the sins of the father visiting subsequent generations and the effects of genocide, fear, and hate against the power of knowledge. For similar books, discussion questions, or a delicious themed recipe for Plum Passion Fruit cupcakes with Passion Fruit Frosting, visit:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mel-Loves-Books More than 1 year ago
“‘Beautiful and full of monsters,’ she’d said. ‘All the best stories are.’” Strange the Dreamer definitely fit this mold. It was exceptionally beautiful and filled with monsters. I loved this book every bit as much as I anticipated I would. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and she took it to an entirely different level here. Truthfully I finished this book days before getting around to writing this and I am still spinning from the words and from the story. I highly anticipate the release of the next book in the series, and will remain and avid fan of this outhor. If you love beautiful writing, unique stories, adventure and romance then this one won’t be a disappointment for you either. One million stars from me. “‘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 as to speak such words. ‘I hope you’ll let me be in your story.’”
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
This was a fascinating book. Full of mystery and surprise, I was captivated by the story. Lazlo Strange is such an engaging character. He is smart, loyal, and, in the end, not anything you expect him to be. I also loved Sarai. At first when the point of view shifted to her world above the city of Weep, I was actually annoyed because I was so into Lazlo's story I resented the fact that I was being wrenched from his mind and thrown into that of a godspawn. It took some time before Sarai grew on me but soon I was just as engaged with her story as I was with Lazlo's and particularly so when their worlds collide. Having said that, I found the romance of the book a bit over the top. I love a good romance but in this book I found it a bit distracting from the overall story. Strongly recommend this one from Laini Taylor!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was super confusing, the middle was good but then it ended badly. I can't say I'm a fan yet.
pooled_ink More than 1 year ago
pooled ink Reviews: 3.5 Stars Lovely, whimsical, brimming with a softness, a strength, a heart. I loved the whole idea of lost magic and the forgotten city of Weep. The beginning of this book was like an intricate folktale, reading about Strange, his dreams, and his courage as he finally stepped from the shadows to embark on a journey he’d imagined ever since he was a child. The entire story was a fascinating intertwining of fairytale and dark adventure. Overall this book was quite unique which was rather refreshing. My only drawback was that it failed to connect with me or spark any excitement. So although it was definitely a well-written tale, I felt as if I could take it or leave it. But if you enjoy fantasy books painted with vibrant colors and emotional hues, then perhaps you should read about Strange the dreamer. It might just become a favorite like it has for so many others. **Read the full review on Wordpress: Pooled Ink
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
The best way you can describe Laini Taylor's writing is "something beautiful and full of monsters". It can't be denied that her lyrical style, lush settings and world-shattering scope stories have a whimsical and romantic touch to it. Strange the Dreamer is one such book, that brings out beauty in a world that feels like it couldn't yield any. Even on a superficial level, this book has a lot of things to fall for - that cover, the title, the fact that it includes a love story between a Muse of Nightmares and a Dreamer. The short version of the story is that Lazlo Strange has always wanted to be to the Unseen Kingdom, or Weep, as it has been called since 15 years, when he felt the real name of the kingdom erased from the world. He has known only of the Weep of more than 200 years ago, when it was a shining city that drew awe from all corners of the world, an arcane mystery than no outsider has been able to reach. So when he gets the chance to accompany the Godslayer to solve Weep's problem, he jumps on the chance to go there. However, when he reaches Weep, he sees a city has been robbed of its light, literally and metaphorically. The Gods that ruled Weep in the last 200 years were of a cruel sort, and their damage has left a deep-rooted fear and hatred in the citizens of Weep. Meanwhile, hidden in the floating citadel above the city, five godspawn/demigods are living by one Rule - show no existence of life. They are cut off from the city, and are afraid to ever leave the citadel, because that would mean their death. 15 years ago, in the Carnage that had ended the gods, many of their siblings were also killed, which is why they are obviously at odds with the human citizens of Weep. The oldest among them, Minya, who was a young kid at that time, is specifically traumatized by those events and has had a deep seated hatred towards the humans, and more so for the Godslayer. Her instrument of torture for the living denizens is Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, who is the other main character of this story. Sarai, through her ability to dreamwalk, has seen what the Gods did to the humans, violated them and their free will and how they are still traumatized by it. So, while she was brought up on Minya's hatred, she also came into compassion by herself. Even so, she is beholden to Minya for saving her life and feels obligated to carry out her duties. When Sarai meets Lazlo in a dream, she starts to appreciate the foreigner who dreams of a better Weep than the one she has known. Their relationship, though starting with a mutual attraction, develops soon in a love that you can't help but root for. I mean, like she is nightmares and he is a lucid dreamer and that is so freaking romantic but I can't do it justice because I am limited. No, you have to read the book to see how Taylor develops their relationship, how the stakes are set against them, how their circumstances seem to keep them apart. They are idealistic and innocent, despite being aware of cruelty. It is heart-breaking, and normally I wouldn't be a fan of a romance-centric plot, but Strange the Dreamer is much more than just a romance. Every character with a major arc is well-constructed, their decisions and their motivations driving the plot forward, but also being very rooted in the world in which it is constructed. This is one example of a unique fantasy world that molds the very story itself, and requires the world to carry forward the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her descriptions are second to none. The scenes are lush, and the characters are real. Incredible.
SherryF More than 1 year ago
I was awed and amazed with the excellent world building and the romance that crosses all barriers. The characters are richly developed and complex, each one vital to the story in their own way. I loved everything about this unputdownable fantasy, so I will warn you to start Strange The Dreamer on the weekend, lock all the doors, pull the curtains, and put up the DO NOT DISTURB sign. My only complaint…There is another book and you will need to read it to get all the answers. “Life won’t just happen to you, boy,” he said. “You have to happen to it.” I was super excited that I won a copy of Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was very confusing honestly and i was really looking forward to enjoying it
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
Before I read STRANGE THE DREAMER, I was enormously frustrated by how vague the premise seemed to be. After I finished the story, I realized that vagueness was deliberate, because no cut-and-dry summary could possibly capture the beauty of Laini Taylor's writing, or the story she's created. I was captivated, from the initial description of Lazlo on page one to the final climactic scene. Everything unfolded precisely as it should, from the reasons behind Lazlo's earliest infatuation with Weep, to the mysteries that surround it, and the roles each of the characters played in the fall of the gods two hundred years before. I'm used to feeling a little bit lost every time I read fantasy novels. I'm not used to wishing I could stay lost for a few hundred pages longer. This book was magic, in every sense of the word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a beauty! The writing is superb, beautiful, poetic, pure art! The story well paced and full of magic! The world created is amazing, right there with Patrick Rothfuss. Characters are beautiful and full of depth. I look forward to more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book brings a new fantasy world to life. Great world building and great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just adore Laini's writing style. Her words are beautiful. The characters and world's she builds are like nothing else I have read. Strange the Dreamer is a book I will read over and over again.
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
Strange the Dreamer is about a Lost City named Weep, a young Librarian named Lazlo Strange, and a journey of self discovery. Lazlo Strange is the first hero that Is normal. He doesn’t have any super powers, he just has big dreams. Dreams that he wants to make a reality. He has that chance when citizens of a lost city, now named Weep, search for people who can help them, and they arrive in the city where Lazlo resides. Lazlo almost doesn’t go on this journey, as he is not seen as important enough by his own people, to have anything to offer. However, Lazlo has been dreaming of, and researching this city for years, and he speaks up offering his services as an apprentice or secretary and they accept. Lazlo’s journey begins when he arrives in the land of Weep. The story of each character unfolds and through Lazlo, we find understanding of what has come to pass. Through Lazlo, we dream, we love, and we find heartbreak. Las LI finds within himself the strength to dream a little bigger. This book took a little while to get into. Lazlo was just so ordinary. I am so used to reading magical realism fantasy novels where the hero or heroine has a power of some sort that I kind of set myself up to expect the same from this book. Strange the Dreamer is not a fantasy novel, it is a fairy tale of the Grimm variety. The monsters revealed in this book are Gods, and these Gods did horrible things to this city and its inhabitants. As the story unfolds more conflict is revealed and my expectations of Lazlo became so great, I impatiently turned the pages hoping for a solution to be revealed, for him to become my hero with a capital H. This was such a good story, but so hard to read! Laini Taylor did an amazing job of creating a world that was alien to the reader and also the characters in this book. I think at times I was confused at what I was reading. It’s a good thing Lazlo was there to provide a solidity and strength to carry me through to its conclusion.