Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Review by Sarah Ryan)

Rating: 4/5*

Junior librarian Lazlo Strange grew up in poverty, but in books he found wealth. Books made him a dreamer. One dream in particular governs his whole life – to find the Unseen City, its true name stolen by magic and now only known as Weep. Then one day the chance comes to turn dream into reality. Fabled warrior Eril-Fane arrives at the library gates looking for delegates to embark on a mission to save the city. Lazlo decides it’s time to put the books down and make his own story.

Sarai and her friends survived the Carnage, but must now spend their lives hidden. They are Godspawn -powerful, feared by humans, and blue. All of them possess supernatural abilities-Ruby can make fire and Feral can make rain. Sarai uses hers to inflict the wrath of vengeful leader Minya. What she truly dreams of is freedom and life beyond the citadel. When an old threat returns, she must decide who and what she is fighting for.

The paths of Lazlo and Sarai cross in a dream of what Weep was and what it could be. Love soon blossoms, but is their union enough to prevent more bloodshed?

I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. This was my first experience reading a Fantasy novel and I was engrossed. It was perfect escapism – angels, demons, gods, monsters, lost cities, magic, dreams and nightmares – there is everything here yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed. The world building is rich but tightly woven and the characters remain at the heart of it all. Fellow bibliophile Lazlo, Sarai and her group of supernatural misfits, and Eril-Fane – the legend with a secret shame who brings them together. At first, the romance feels a little cliché, but hold on, it leads to a HUGE plot twist that changes everybody’s fate. The only downside? This is part of a trilogy so we’ve got at least a year to find out what’s next. Kindly hurry, Laini Taylor.

Review by Sarah Ryan