Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
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.

Full review:

Oct 10, 2018

If I had known this book was a tragic story about star-crossed lovers, I wouldn't have picked it up. To be fair, I've read Laini Taylor's other series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I did enjoy that- however, if you've read that, you've read this. It's got the same major story points- the realities of war and the scars it leaves on people, the reader sympathizing with both sides, lovers who think that their love is enough to bridge the gap and bring the two forces together in peace (but it isn't), a protagonist whose past is shrouded in questions and mystery, and a character that has some kind of control over souls. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Taylor seems to have only one story up her sleeve- except here, she spends nearly 80% of the novel on exposition, and in DoSaB the plot drives forward at an excitable pace. I can understand why a good many people don't finish this book. The prose and descriptions are incredible, but there is just TOO MUCH of it. By the time you learn about Lazlo- his childhood, his interactions with Nero, the library, him with his mentor, and reading his books and dreaming about Weep, you're bored. Had I been reading a physical copy of this book, I would have quit and moved on to something else. Lazlo doesn't even meet Sarai until 3/4 of the way through the book, and the novel is supposed to be about them and their relationship. By the time they met, I was just ready for the book to be over. This is extremely disappointing to me, because this came so highly rated by so many people whose recommendations I usually trust. The last 10% or so of the book was amazing- fast paced, well done, epic and different. Why couldn't the rest of the book have been like that? Instead, we get pages and pages of Taylor describing flowers that want to fly and the color of the grains of sand in the desert. She almost gives Robert Jordan a run for his money. All in all, well thought out world, characters and magic system, gorgeous prose, but repetative plot points and WAY too much description. I doubt I'll be reading the sequel.

Jul 03, 2018

Strange The Dreamer, is a wonderful book that mixes the world as we currently know it with Romance and Fantasy. We follow a protagonist- Lazlo Strange -As he struggles going to the place were Nightmares and Dreams lie. (Sorry I'm trying to keep this Spoiler Free!) Watch as Lazlo Strange Uncover his hidden passion for love... But for who? His hidden past... But what? The friends, and foes he encounter... What does he do?! Now, Grab this book and uncover all these secrets- And so much more! Come, and stand with me with the five blue figures watching over the Forgotten City and it's forgotten name. Come; with Lazlo Strange: The Dreamer.

Sequel (Muse of Nightmares) is due out October 2nd. Readers of epic fantasy and lush worldbuilding will fall in love with Laini Taylor's latest offering, which showcases her beautiful language and vivid characters in a novel that - despite it's size - you won't want to put down until you've finished.

ArapahoeLauraRose May 07, 2018

Lazlo was charming and engaging, and Sarai melancholy and sympathetic. I enjoyed learning the people, places, and rules of this fantasy world. However, despite the novel's length, I didn't form any deep attachments to the characters or the world. An enjoyable read, but not a world that I would revisit.

Apr 26, 2018

I don't even have words for this? I'm not much for young adult fantasy these days, but this book sucked me in and blew me away. The writing was gorgeous, the characters and setting were stunning. I am very rarely as completely and utterly absorbed in a book as I was in this. I don't know if I'll survive the wait until the next book comes out!

View All Comments


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


Add a Quote
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


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top