My God, Laini Taylor has a lot of ideas. Have we talked about how many ideas Laini Taylor has got? The inside of her brain must be an absolutely wild place to be. Strange the Dreamer is the first in a new series (her earlier one having finished up with Dreams of Gods and Monsters in 2014), and it’s a hell of a ride.
Lazlo Strange has always been a dreamer, and what he’s dreamt of is the lost city across the desert. For many centuries, travelers came to Lazlo’s country on camels, bringing stories of a city of domes and marvels. Two hundred years ago, the travelers stopped coming. Fifteenish years ago, Lazlo reached into his memory for the name of the city and found that its real name was gone from his mind. The only name he could give to the city now was Weep.
Meanwhile, back in Weep, a girl named Sarai and her siblings live in a citadel and subsist on what little food they can grow, hiding their existence and the powers from the city below. But the arrival of strangers from across the desert threatens the delicate balance that Sarai’s family have established for themselves.
If you do not care for a book that ends with a To be continued sort of notice, then I warn you off Strange the Dreamer right now. Laini Taylor writes at a reasonable clip! You can depend on her to finish the second book in a year or two, and you can return to the duology at that point. I am not in love with that type of cliffhanger, but I’m not mad about it either — I read the end, so I knew all along that there was going to be a To be continued notice.
For those of you who don’t mind reading a YA novel whose sequel does not yet exist in the world, Strange the Dreamer was a trip. Laini Taylor writes perfectly serviceable characters for whom I of course want all the best, but ultimately I am on this ride for Jesus Christ how does one single woman have so many goddamn ideas? Strange the Dreamer is akin to this one Tarsem Singh movie The Fall where all the sets are preposterously beautiful and all the colors are super-saturated and your dreams thereafter receive an infusion of color and light and strangeness.
They also both contain moths! I wonder what it means.
Well, this has been many words in which I have said virtually nothing actually about the book itself, so you will have to go by the above mini-mood-board and my description and whether or not you feel comfortable reading a 500+ page book that ends unresolvedly. Either way, though, you should definitely rent and watch The Fall. It stars Lee Pace, an adorable child, and a running gag about Indian-from-India vs. Indian-indigenous-to-America that makes me laugh every time I think about it.