Two summers ago, I was absolutely obsessed with Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Her lyrical writing paired with compelling character make for a perfect read during a long flight (or in my case, a month long roadtrip).
Taylor hasn’t published anything since 2014, so you can imagine how excited I was to get a hold of her newest, Strange the Dreamer (coming out this March). I have to admit, with a too-vague summary and less than engaging first chapter, I was a little worried. Luckily, after the first fifty pages, which are mostly spent setting up the titular character and giving some context to his story, Strange the Dreamer begins to soar.
Strange the Dreamer follows Lazlo Strange, who gained the titular name because of his obsession with a city no one else can remember. And if someone does happen to remember it, they dismiss it as a myth. One day however, a man from the mythic city comes to the library Lazlo works at, searching for help with a mysterious problem. There, the man, Eril-Fane, enlists an unpredictable lot of people, from a golden haired alchemist to a woman who was found juggling emeralds in a king’s tomb. On a whim, Eril-Fane enlists Lazlo as well.
Strange the Dreamer also follows Sarai, a girl with blue skin and a gift that allows her to scream out moths. Sarai, who I found much more compelling than Lazlo, lives in the ruins of a temple to the gods along with her four siblings. The five of them are supposed to be dead, so they have never been outside the temple. What makes Sarai’s story so interesting however, is that she dies in the first chapter of the book.
Although it is not hard to guess the plot, Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, certainly makes up for it with lifelike characters and vivid scenery. Every scene is so intricately described you can practically feel the plum juice dripping down your chin or taste the kimril soup that Sarai loathes so much. Strange the Dreamer will transport you to a world you’ll never want to leave. After reading, all I can say is I hope that Taylor will not wait long before publishing her next novel.