Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Audiobook Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Written by: Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Narrated by: Steve West
Published: March 28, 2017 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. 

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around--and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? 

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries--including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real? 

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. 

Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage. 

Welcome to Weep.

When a book you want to read has an audiobook narrated by Steve West, you listen to the audio no questions asked. That's exactly what happened for me with this book and I'm glad I did because not only was this a fantastic read but it was a great audiobook.

First things first, we have to talk about Laini Taylor's gorgeous writing. I didn't know what to expect from the author because despite everyone raving about it, I have not read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and after reading this, I am regretting that decision. Because Laini definitely has a way with works. Her prose has a way of creating a captivating atmosphere and an enthralling world. It's not overly flowery but it has a distinct lyrical quality that draws you in and keeps you reading. These are the kinds of books that work really well as audios and that was definitely the case here.

The other great thing about Laini's writing is the plot development. This is definitely a book with a great plot that had me engaged from beginning to end. It's one of those books that slowly builds to a thrilling conclusion that has you totally really and desperately needing the next book in the series. It's also one of those books that is full of mystery and surprises. I definitely figured out one of the major twists but this was still a book full of mystery. Even when it was over I was left with all kinds of questions and curiosities. 

But I will say, I did still have some complaints about the plot and the pacing. In general it had a good flow and there wasn't a point where I wanted to stop reading but I did want them to get back to certain aspects of the story. It did drag in parts and this is a longer book that feels like a long book. I think my main issue with the plot and pacing was the focus on the romance about two-thirds of the way into the book. It's not that I didn't like the romance, I just felt like it took away from some of the larger plot development. But you know me, I'm romancephobic.

Although I do understand that the romance was a necessary part of the character development and I really enjoyed the characters. First there is Lazlo our title character. Lazlo was instantly likable and easy to root for. He is an orphan who has to earn every ounce of respect he has. But he is also a dreamer who believes in magic and wants more for himself and to explore Weep, a place of legend. He was the perfect main character for this book and I was absolutely rooting for him. The other main character is Sarai, she is Godspawn, the daughter or a "God" who can invade people's dreams and change them. She is feared throughout Weep because of her mother and is known as the Muse of Nightmares. But she could not be more different. She's sweet and caring. I wanted to see Sarai get her way and rooted for her just as much. There are also plenty of great secondary characters that I hope we get to learn more about in future books.

And finally, I really enjoyed the world building of this book. I read a lot of YA fantasy and sometimes they can feel very similar and like they're the same old same old. And while I did get some vibes of other books that I enjoy, I found Strange the Dreamer totally unique and interesting. It was a world full of magic and mystery. There were clear rules and an interesting magic system that I think we have only just begun learning about. 

I really enjoyed Strange the Dreamer. It's a great start to what I'm sure is going to be an amazing series. It's got gorgeous writing, an engaging plot, likable characters, and an atmospheric world. Basically everything all good fantasy should have. 

I give Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I know this was a totally hyped up book when it came out last month but it is deserving of that hype. It's a great read of you haven't picked by up you should. Check this book out, especially if you like audiobooks.

Have you read Strange the Dreamer? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading.


  1. I’ve never read a Laini Taylor book, but I’m on a waiting list for this one. The synopsis sounds so weird and intriguing. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I'm super excited to read this one - now I'm majorly regretting not picking it up at the airport last week when I had the chance. fab review!

  3. You know I absolutwly adored the book and Steve West's narration and since I simply loved the romance too... *sigh* This is one of my 2017 faves for sure!!