Series: Strange the Dreamer #2
Written by: Laini Taylor
Published: October 2, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
I don't think I can coherently explain my thoughts and feelings about this book even after waiting a day to write this review. Strange the Dreamer was my first Laini Taylor book and it is what convinced me she is a master storyteller who writes beautifully unique worlds. This book absolutely showed that.
One of the things I liked the most about this book was the world. Laini is definitely a master at crafting engaging and unique worlds. In Strange the Dreamer we were first introduced to the Mesarthim and the Godspawn and here we learned even more about them. Laini took us back and we got to see some of them in action and they were just as dark and complex as I expected. Through the course of that we also got to learn about some new powers and see them in action. I love books with magical systems like this and I found these ones truly fascinating. But being that this was Sarai's book there were also some really great parts where she explored her powers and what they mean now. But the best thing about the world of this book was how it relates on a larger scale. I am so glad that I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy because there was some connection to that series and it keeps doors open for future series within this world which I am very excited about.
Also, I really loved about this book is the characters. I feel like this is going to be my theme for the month, but this was a book full of dark characters doing bad things for good reasons. I don't think I was expecting that from this book but I was expecting complex characters which is what I found. Lazlo and Sarai were are our main characters here and I definitely fell in love with them in the first book in the series. And while the first book was more about Lazlo, here it is very much Sarai's opportunity to take the lead. Sarai is the kind of character who is kind and supportive but has this terrible power that can very easily be used for evil. I loved getting to explore that more. But being that we got more of Sarai we also got more of the rest of the Godspawn which was amazing. We learned a lot more about Minya here which was so fantastic because she is definitely the complex and dubious character that I love reading about.
But I think the reason the characters in this book are so good is because the heart of this story is about family. There are so many concepts about family and love explored in Muse of Nightmares. I love books that deal with that, especially books that explore the idea of found family and that's what we Sarai has only ever know the Godspawn as her family and now having her real father in the picture that is changing. Lazlo has never really had a family and finding people who he is related to he now has that for the first time but navigating that can be difficult. And then there are these really great flashbacks between Nova and Kora who are sisters that get separated and it added a lot to these themes and the plot in general.
And the plot here was really good but again I felt like it lacked a little cohesion. I guess I'm just realizing that this is just how Laini writes. There are always a ton of perspectives and a ton of people who have different agendas. In the end everything ties together well but along the way it just seems confusing and muddles. I felt like with Muse of Nightmares you had two different storylines. You had the Kora/Nova storyline and you had the Minya storyline. We were already invested in the Minya stuff because of Strange the Dreamer so it took awhile to get into the second one. I knew they had to be connected somehow so I was looking for them which made me engaged in that portion of the book but I think for a lot of readers that is going to be a bit frustrating. But thing that was more annoying for me was the way it ended. It knew this was a duology so when we reached the ending I was ready for it to be over. And it had a really satisfying conclusion. Then suddenly we get a prologue with a backdoor to return to the series. And while I would love to go back, it kind of soured things a bit for me. If you are going to end it, end it, don't leave me wanting more and then say... maybe you'll it one day.
But all in all, this was a really fantastic book. it had a unique and engaging world, fantastic and complex characters, and a plot full of mystery and adventure. It was a great conclusion to the series which is absolutely one of my favorite YA fantasies now.
I give Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor 9.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read Muse of Nightmare? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!