Review of Laini Taylor’s STRANGE THE DREAMER

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not that I had any doubts, but Ms. Taylor once again captivated me with the sheer beauty and elegance of her writing. Every paragraph was a work of poetry that still managed to convey a world you have no trouble believing exists. It doesn’t matter that you’re reading of people with blue skin, creatures out of your wildest dreams, or populations with spirit AND blood (and circulatory systems for each); the persuasion is there that the lands MUST lie somewhere on the planet. It’s a feat of writing I can only aspire to.

And her characters contain so many facets you hesitate to file them into a box of “hero” or “villain.” (The exception being Lazlo, of course) Everyone’s backstory prompts such an outpouring of complex sympathy that the reader aches for their situation. They both belong and don’t deserve to reside in the dangerous tapestry of Weep, trapped within the sticky web deceased predecessors have woven. There’s nothing static or cardboard about any of them, even those who dwell in the shadows of the primary cast. You crave to know more – in the best way.

I felt trepidation over Ms. Taylor’s decision to open with the scene she did (how dare she give away such a crucial detail?). It stayed trapped within my mind throughout the plot. Past? Future? Triumphant? Horror? Until the final chapters when she tore out my heart. It was a gut-wrenching cliff hangar. (And her only saving grace is that the second book of the duology is already sitting on my To Read pile) I wanted to rage and curse, but it was handled so deftly and perfectly. She is the master of this bittersweet tale. And, as much as I hate it, I must applaud her.

Even as I dive into the conclusion.

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