My first introduction to Laini Taylor was Daughter of Smoke and Bone. From the first sentence of the first page, her storytelling captivated me. I’ve only read two books of that trilogy; a devastating thing happens at the end of the second book (no spoilers!) that made me put the third one in the freezer until I can work up the courage to push on.
Based on that series, I came up with a list of reasons I love Laini Taylor:
- Her characters
- Her imaginative worlds and settings that feel completely seamless and believable
- Her characters
Yes, I mentioned character twice. They’re awesome. She has this way of making you love them or hate them as she wishes, and sometimes both. She has absolutely mastered the skill of making the reader understand and sympathize with someone who does ‘bad’ things, or feeling sorry for them, or that they maybe were justified. This gives the characters multiple dimensions, but it’s never a ‘trick’ — sympathize with the bad guy until he betrays you — instead, it’s a reflection of real people who aren’t just one thing.
And since I love her writing so much, Strange the Dreamer was an easy pick. It has the same captivating storytelling, complex characters, and seamless world building as the others. There was never a moment of disbelief where I was unwilling to go along with the author on her journey.
There are times when the book slows a bit, such as when all the characters are discovering something. Catching their breath. Getting ready for the next big scene. If there’s a reason to give it less than all the stars, this could be the reason, depending on how you feel about a story that meanders a bit to get you to the point it wants you to be. But if you enjoy the type of story that has delightful side pockets where the characters discover, for example, what kind of wings they’d choose when the wingsmith comes to town (dragon for me, please), then this is absolutely the book for you.
As promised, there have been no real spoilers. In fact, you may have noticed I didn’t tell you much about the actual story. A friend who loves the book tried to explain it to me — the gist of the characters and the basic premise — and I almost didn’t read it. Not sure if it was just the wrong day for me to hear about it, or if I was on a bad book hangover and couldn’t imagine loving another character ever again? Or maybe the book just defies expectation. Thus I’ve concluded that trying to explain it probably won’t help. Instead, just know that if you enjoy character-driven fantasy and you want to go on adventure, Strange the Dreamer is well worth picking up.
If you’ve read my post on star ratings, you know how I feel about those. However, if you absolutely must know how many stars I gave it, check out my Goodreads page. For the purposes of this blog, suffice it to say that upon finishing Strange the Dreamer I immediately ordered book two, Muse of Nightmares, and I can’t wait to dive in!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments about whether you enjoyed the book as much as I did. But, whether you’ve read it or not, let me know what kind of wings YOU would choose if the wingsmith came to your town.
Joey, why is there a copy of the shining in your freezer. Now I know what is next to the broccoli in yours.
Oh, Joey. I’m going to have to get Gods & Monsters out soon, though — now that I’ve read Strange and Muse I’m in a real Laini Taylor mood.
I love this book. (I love everything Laini Taylor has ever written.) You’re absolutely right about her characters and world building. Even when the plot slows, the characters and exquisite writing keep me hanging on every word.
Before the wingsmith arrives, I must choose between praying mantis and flying fox. Decisions. Decisions.
Ooooooohhhhhhh…such a decision to have to make. Maybe it’s a failure of my imagination, but I hadn’t even thought of praying mantis!