Teen Review: Strange the Dreamer
Review by Fariha, age 17, Albert Campbell Youth Advisory Group member
This duology is nothing short of incredible and finishing it has rendered me speechless.
I love high fantasy so much and the world in Strange the Dreamer is truly so different from the others I’ve encountered. I'm in awe of this world, this concept, and how real Laini Taylor has made it in these two books, especially Muse of Nightmares where we get to learn a lot more the secrets and history. I think the world-building and the unique reality is my favourite part of the duology and also one of my favourites of all time. I'm still in shock of just how well she crafted it.
The duology has a large cast of characters and all of them are well-developed in their own right. In terms of main characters, I loved Lazlo in the first book, but after that, I sort of felt indifferent towards him. Serai is a very interesting character and I loved her internal and external struggles, the thought process. However, I was meh about their romance in the first book and got slightly annoyed by it in the second.
"Life won't just happen to you boy, he said. You have to happen to it."
The side characters and their romances, on the other hand, were perfection. Every single character in the book had such clear and strong personality. It's not a small cast by any means, so I'm very impressed by how fleshed out everyone was in terms of motive, background, personality. Some of the side characters had done terrible things, commited horrifying crimes, and they're often fighting against each other but it was so easy to sympathize with each of them. To want both characters/sides to win even when they were hell-bent on killing each other. Each character's reasoning was real and believale. The side romances were touching and sometimes so, so funny. I was very invested in the romances of Azareen & Eril-Fane, Calixte & Tzara (wlw !!), and another I won’t mention due to spoilers but I would've gladly read more about theirs than Lazlo & Serai.
This book made me think about human nature and the inability to be yourself. Grief and motivation. Anger and forgiveness. Each character and event brought something crucial to the table and the adventure was thrilling but heart-wrenching.
I honestly still can't believe Laini Taylor created this magical and enchanting world. This whole world truly came out of Laini Taylor's mind. How incredible. This duology, especially Muse of Nightmares, is one I’ll keep close to my heart.
"He hadn't gone back in time and done everything differently to get to this place. It turned out that sometimes it's enough to start doing things differently now."
Get Strange the Dreamer:
Get Muse of Nightmares: