Strange The Dreamer- Laini Taylor – Review
Lazlo Strange is an outsider. He was orphaned by a war and left with a group of monks. He has grown up thinking he is nothing, just someone to be there to help but never to stand out in the crowd. He lives for one thing, the lost city of Weep.
He is the only one who remembers the real name of Weep which was stolen from his mind. He is the only one who believes that the place is real. He makes it his life mission to find this land and prove its existence.
That chance comes and he is taken to his long dreamed of land. Only it is not a magical place, like he thought. It is lost and needs his help. He finds that what he believed is not the whole story. Weep has a dark past, one that is being told from only one side.
On the other side of Weep’s story is Sari and her siblings. Children of gods who are thrown into a life they don’t know how to navigate. Are they the monsters everyone fears they are? If your parents do horrible things are you then horrible as well? Can you make peace with your past to live for a better future?
This book explores an idea that fascinates me which how is evil created. Is evil something that is born into someone or is evil created by circumstance? The godspawn in this story are the product of evil acts by their parents. They are babies when their parents are killed in what they call The Carnage.
They can’t even remember what happened, except for Minya; more on her in a minute. Sparrow, Ruby, Feral and Sari were left orphaned by the people who were wronged by these gods. They did not grow up with the anger and dangerously dark influence of their parents. They got to grow up on their own, teaching themselves the rules of the world.
The people of Weep though only see their parent’s past mistakes. They hold onto the memories of that darkness. They can’t fathom the idea that Sari and her siblings are not their parents. They believe these gods are evil to their core, that it is part of their nature. But we see that not being true. We see the good these characters can do. I loved that idea and the way it was explored through the different characters.
Minay was the most fascinating character to me. First she is stuck in the body of a six year old. We know she has the mind of an adult but her growth stopped after The Carnage. The idea of this angry child walking around stuck with me. I can see her having this rough and dark attitude but then being in this small body, almost too small to contain all that anger and hurt.
She is the only one who remembers The Carnage. She saved who she could and it eats at her soul that she could not save more of the babies. We see that she is full of anger and resentment towards the people of Weep. She blames all of them for one man’s actions.
It provides an interesting question for the reader. Who is in the wrong? Is anyone in the wrong? The Godslayer did what he thought he had to do to protect his people. Minya did the same. Both see the other as monsters and both are right in a sense. I am very interested to see how this plays out in the second book.
While I like Lazlo and Sari’s relationship it took me a little by surprise. They moved really fast in their falling for each other and for me I felt it was a bit too fast.
Sari has been manipulated and isolated her whole life and she finally finds someone outside of the other godspawn who can see her. She is captivated by him and I understand why. What I didn’t understand was why she fell in love with him right away. I wanted to see her explore who he was more, to try to underhand where he came from better. I even wanted her to be a bit cautious and suspicious of him. Instead she falls right into his arms.
While it didn’t annoy me too much and didn’t make me hate their characters, I did feel like it made them a bit cliche. I am always looking for a character to act outside the norm and wanted her to be a bit darker and edgier. I am curious to see how Sari’s character develops in the next book.
There was nothing that made me upset to removed me from the story. I did feel like it was building quite a bit and a lot of set up but the story telling kept me interested. I think the writing itself helped move the slower parts along.
“It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?” – pg. 25
“Beautiful and full of monsters?
All the best stories are.” – pg. 115
“And that’s ho 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.” pg. 135
“Here was the radical notion that you might help someone simply because they needed it.” pg. 287