Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares
Ever read a book and wonder, when it’s over, what to do with yourself? That is what this duology did to me. I started with the audiobooks, narrated wonderfully by Steve West. I am having a difficult time with audiobooks. As much as I enjoy them, and can listen while doing something else, I can read faster than I can listen. The same kind of people who think it’s cool to talk through something you are watching, think it’s cool to talk through your audiobook. Irritation got the better of me and I finished Muse of Nightmares by reading it. I mean, I went out and bought physical copies because they are books I will return to and reread.
“Something beautiful and full of monsters” describes this duology perfectly. It’s a love story about books, a love story between a boy and a girl, a story about dreams and magic, a story about going on after you have lost everything, a story about family and friendship. It is also a story about racism and fear and monsters, both real and imagined. It’s about the complicated world of humans and their emotions, desires, and actions. The books are complex and layered and beautifully written.
From the back of Strange the Dreamer:
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.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
The world building is amazing. The characters are perfect. Well, not perfect perfect, but perfectly written. They are flawed yet they change and grow. We are talking about centuries of generational trauma here to overcome, for everyone. For some of the characters that growth is painful, for others it happens without them realizing it. One day they wake up and discover they are a different person and don’t want to return to their old life.
Sometimes, adventure is good for the soul.
There is so much I want to say about the books but I don’t want to give away anything. At the same time I want to overshare. I went into these books knowing nothing about them. I was just blown away and surprised at almost every turn. There are a good number of fan pages on the net with awesome fan art that will reveal anything anyone wants to know about the books.
I do recommend reading the books back to back, it is one continuous story. Strange the Dreamer ends on a cliffhanger. Muse of Nightmares picks up right were the first left off. I have read a few reviews that claim the second book fell short of the first. I disagree with that. Having finished the first and starting right away with the second it was one continuous story that never lost momentum. Muse of Nightmares answers all the questions and ties up the loose ends.
Laini Taylor’s writing reads like calligraphy, if calligraphy were written in honey.