Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
So strange and terrible and lovely
❝Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters.❞
I finally get it. I get the shrines built for Laini Taylor, the adoration of her faithful fans, because after diving into her whimsical and peculiar stories of boys and girls consumed by hunger, swallowing fairy tales and miracles and plums, dreaming big and loving tenderly and passionately, not worshipping her is not an option. It’s a reflective response. I can’t tell you the exact moment I got lost in her words; I can only tell you that I never recovered.
❝It was the first week of Twelfthmoon, on the far side of Elmuthaleth, and Strange the dreamer –library stowaway and scholar of fairy tales – had never been thirstier, or more full of wonder.❞
Full of wonder is the perfect description of how I felt while reading Strange the Dreamer; full of yearning, of an insatiable need to taste and touch and feel the world Laini Taylor created. To live inside it, to savor it in my tongue and bask in the otherworldliness and the warmth that enveloped me. I was incorporeal, weightless, trailing behind Lazlo, flying among moths, smelling leather-bound tomes, strolling along colorful gardens, torn between dreams and nightmares. Blue skin, crimson blood, golden domes, were all I could see. I was ephemeral and eternal and I knew, with absolute clarity, that this little piece of magic will always hold a special place in my heart.
❝The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.❞
Strange the Dreamer is the story of a librarian who was fortunate enough to accomplish his heart’s greatest desire; to see the mythic lost city of Weep, and to gather evidence of magic. It’s the story of the Muse of Nightmares, a girl banished from the world for the crimes of her mother, but found compassion for the ones who wronged her. It’s the story of a hero who was also a butcher. A golden son who could not grasp the concept of kindness. A girl who was stuck in the past and wished to avenge the dead by causing a second massacre. It’s the story of gods and monsters and men, of heroic villains and villainous heroes, of pure love, heinous crimes and, in the end, acceptance.
❝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.❞
There is no character I have cherished more than Lazlo Strange; I identified with him, with the physical attraction to books and pages and lores and tales to the very marrow. His quest to find magic, his incline towards kindness instead of malice, they are some rare qualities that made him so precious. Sarai, with her understanding and her dream to belong in a world full of hatred and prejudice was also endearing. Every single character was portrayed in various shades, a blend of self-loathing, hatred, ambition, redemption and love coated them, leading them to horrible things and great acts of courage.
❝I think you’re a fairy tale. I think you’re magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.❞
Strange the Dreamer was a remedy for the soul; it inflicted wounds, painful and devastating wounds, but it did so in a delicate manner. You only have to discover it yourselves!