Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer

Book - 2017
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In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian, and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316341677
Characteristics: 536 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Lazlo Strange is an orphan raised by monks, and has dedicated his life to learning. His favorite story is of Weep, the lost fairytale city that was literally removed from memory. This is the story of his search for the magical city

2018 Printz Award Honor Book

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WoodmontTeens May 01, 2019

One of the best written books in any genre. It doesn't hurt that the main character is a librarian...

I loved this book! A great novel that establishes a strange world and some strange characters who you're immediately hooked on! A really great hero's journey following a bookish dreamer on an adventure unlike any other. A really fantastic Teen read. Can't wait for the next one in the series!

JCLJoshN Mar 05, 2019

I love fantasy stories that are lush and strange. This novel is wonderfully, lyrically, eerily lush, and "strange" is right there in the title. And the protagonist it's named for is a librarian, so extra goodness for me. Creepy gods, eccentric scholars, fairy tales, alchemy, ghosts, airships, dreams...there's really nothing about this I didn't adore.

Mar 02, 2019

First time reading this author and find her style and abilities amazing. Unusual plot. What's not to like ?

Feb 20, 2019

World building was lovely- but..

I remember reading - what, a decade ago perhaps - Kerr's first "Children of the Lamp" book; it hit me that we were going to get a large number of kids beneath the stairs turning out to be wizards, and kids with single moms turning out to be Greek Gods. So fine

Taylor writes the story she wishes, with her characters, and her world building which as I said was well done... and then, the big reveal is that this is the same story that was getting stale 10 years ago, and that the book ends, without conclusion, as the beginning of a series. Bah.

She clearly has talent as an author, and she is *Most Certainly* making the right financial choice. I'm sure this series (which is like many others) will make money.

Oh, and I didn't love the pacing, and the female lead trapped in the tower. Being trapped until you meet the right person is a powerful metaphor, and Taylor doesn't leave her female lead without any agency... once, on page 328, she disobeys her sister and makes an important choice. (The consequences of which are ... *Spoiler*...)

Thus two stars. I gave it three, then talked myself down to two. If you want to go out to coffee with me and explain why it should be at least three, I'll listen. I'd be open to reading something else by Taylor, but clearly this wasn't for me.

Jan 22, 2019

a very good book. i now have book 2 and just have to have the time to read it. its alittle hard to get into but once you're into these books they are excellent

Jan 01, 2019

Laini Taylor never disappoints those seeking imaginative fantasy. This is the first book of two volume story. It introduces us to most of the characters in a complex world. Those we meet have different origins, powers and limitations, but mostly that familiar yet eerie otherness that Taylor handles so well. I will go more in depth in my review of Muse of Nightmares which is an even better book than the first one.

Oct 31, 2018

After re-reading this book I like it even more. Laini Taylor's writing style is so good! I highly recommend picking up this series and her previous series, Daughter of Smoke & Bones. I've already read the second book in the series and it surpasses this one. My only one complaint (and really it doesn't bother me that much) is there is a bit of insta-love in this series but if you can look past that you'll love it.

Oct 24, 2018

I was all set to praise this book as one of the 3-4 best single volume (not part of a series) fantasies I had ever read - until I got to the ending and found that it would be the first of two books! (The author confesses in the afterword that she was surprised, too.) It is still terrific.

I think I wanted the personal emotional fulfillment of getting it all wrapped up in one book. Once I got over that, I realized (as the author undoubtedly did also) that providing a satisfactory ending at that point would require several characters to suddenly change personalities and cave in to everyone else. And she doesn’t write those kinds of characters.

The story and settings are so creative and complex that I have trouble figuring out how much to tell you and where to start. The style of writing is such that anything I say is a spoiler, from the first chapter on. Laini Taylor really knows how to build a story. Every chapter sets up a mystery, and as the book progresses, it seems like every subsequent chapter answers one question and poses two new ones. The book title itself is a mystery with several layers. The main character is Lazlo Strange, an orphan adopted by the royal librarians of a strange medieval-like city. He is thought of by the librarians as a “dreamer” – someone whose head is filled with fairy tales and stories of the past, not quite connected to reality. They call him “Strange the Dreamer”. But the name implies to us a poetic construction of “the dreamer is strange” (like “how bright the sun” or “how green the tree”). And Lazlo eventually discovers that his actual dreams are indeed strange and wonderful.

Lazlo is especially mesmerized by the stories that one of the elderly librarians tells about a mysterious city with no name. Travel to and from that city, on the other side of the desert, stopped a couple of centuries ago. It used to have a name but several years ago the name disappeared from every book and memory - now it is only referred to as The Unseen City - or "Weep."

And in Weep itself we see that there are five strange teenagers in hiding. They have fantastic powers; but they are terrified to let anyone know where they are. “Strange Dreams” are also part of their lives – along with ghosts and horrifying memories. Their skin is blue.

It’s a wonderful (“full of wonder”) book that deserves awards and a large readership.

Oct 18, 2018

In beautiful prose that will be familiar to fans of her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor brings to life a vivid new fantasy world that didn’t so much capture my imagination as take it hostage, until I stayed up far too late to reach the last page, and find out what would become of Lazlo, Sarai, and the people of Weep. Taylor opens with Lazlo, the orphan who will take us on our journey into the unknown. After spending his childhood in a monastery, Lazlo escapes to the Great Library of Zosma, and a career as a librarian. In his world, librarians are the mere servants of the aristocratic scholars, expected to keep knowledge, but never to discover it. But Lazlo is forever tripping over that line, particularly in his somewhat antagonistic relationship with Thyon Nero, golden son of Zosma, and the only alchemist who has ever produced gold. The other perspective belongs to Sarai, a girl who lives a strange secluded life with four other children, but dreams of the city of Weep every night. To say too much more is to spoil Taylor’s careful parsing out of information, which kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how it all fit together. Some have described this as a slow start to Strange the Dreamer, but I was intent on soaking up her beautiful world-building and getting to know the various characters.

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Add Age Suitability
Oct 31, 2018

Lady_Librarian thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 09, 2018

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

RobertELPL Jul 07, 2017

RobertELPL thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Oct 18, 2018

His books were not his dream. Moreover, he had tucked his dream into their pages like a bookmark, and been content to leave it there for too long. The fact was: Nothing he might ever do or read or find inside the Great Library of Zosma was going to bring him one step closer to Weep. Only a journey would do that.

JCLChrisK Dec 29, 2017

One can't be irredeemable who shows reverence for books.

AshleyF2008 Jul 17, 2017

"One looked at him and thought 'Here is a great man, and also a good one,' though few men are ever both." -pg 69


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