September 20, 2019

Series Review: Strange the Dreamer + Muse of Nightmares

I didn’t know much about Strange the Dreamer or Muse of Nightmares before I dove into this duology (which was chosen for me to read by my friend Kelly a couple of months ago), except for a few key elements: a dreamer name Lazlo Strange, and a city now only known as Weep. In truth, I think that the best way to experience this story is without any preconceived ideas about the plot. But if you’re the type who would prefer even the barest hint of what you’re going to get with Laini Taylor’s most recently concluded series, I will say this: it is a story of gods and of monsters, and what it truly means to be one or the other, and it is about knowledge and identity and truth as well.

I’d been warned more than once that Strange the Dreamer starts off slow, but even with my expectations tempered, it still felt as unhurried as I’d been promised. This is likely due the fact that the book is largely driven by the characters and not the plot, which is understandably not every reader’s cup of tea. But it didn’t put me off the book, and instead contributed to the growing fascination I developed as I got to know the characters more intimately with every chapter. The pace does pick up in the second half, culminating in an action-packed series of events at the end that left me unsettled and unsure of what direction Taylor would take next.

I can hardly imagine what it must have been like for other readers who waited a year between books, but I was comforted knowing that I could dive straight into Muse of Nightmares. I also know that reading these two titles back to back really enhanced my experience of Taylor’s work, as they just feel like two separate parts of a much bigger story. Unlike its predecessor, this novel is action-packed right from the start. I can honestly admit that I had no clue what direction the story was going to go in (nor am I fond of all the elements introduced by the end), but I was fine just being along for the ride, towed right along by Taylor’s signature lyrical prose up until the very end.

The experience of being vividly immersed in an incredibly imaginative world, guided only by the lovely writing style Taylor employs and willingly allowing myself to be directed towards the end – it was something special and incredibly unique, and I am glad to have experienced it. While this duology does not quite eclipse the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy as my favorite series I’ve read from Laini Taylor so far, I’d definitely say it was worth the read.

Strange the Dreamer was released on March 28, 2017 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Muse of Nightmares was released on October 2, 2018 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.


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