Strange the dreamer – Laini Taylor

I have all-time-favorite authors. The titles of their books answered the question “What would you take with you to deserted island?” I buy their books without thinking, regardless of ratings, reviews, themes, etc.

George R. R. Martin is in that exclusive group, Patrick Rothfuss also. There are Angela Carter, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brandon Sanderson, Rachel Bach (or Rachel Aaron), Ken Follett, etc. There are plenty of them, not a small group of authors; but it is difficult to get membership in that group.

Lain Taylor, when I discovered her, launched herself at the speed of light to the very top of that group and with every new book proves that this group is too small for her; perhaps for her I will build one new level; a penthouse for my private literary pantheon…

That is why I am determined to tell you about this book as LITTLE as possible because I do not want to steal anything more than what I need to write a review.

Her books are pure imaginative and intellectual hedonism – not a wasteful moment and just a fun escape from reality.

I described her writing recently to a young gentleman who like her also, as a “siren singing, lullabies and cobra melodies at the same time.”

You know how we turn sentences, thoughts and words into images when we read? Lain Taylor writes so good that from our imagination and our visualization capabilities draws the best; whenever I read her books, I always stay caught up with the beauty of pictures, the opulence of her metaphors, and the originality of directions in which my reading imagination protects.

Lain Taylor writes books that every mind that is hungry for something fresh, new, unmistakable and unforgettable wants to read.

Names can be lost; they can be devalued to the point of being forgotten, and they may be stolen. Almost no one thinks about something that has no name. Almost no one is looking for what he does not know how to call. Nobody knows better than Lazlo Strange.

The orphan left on the threshold of the monastery, having someone else’s name and future, attention, instruction, and love, Lazlo grew up on stories. One of the favorite stories was that of the magical city far beyond the horizon from which two hundred years ago came the miracles that this part of the world has never seen. 

The streets of the town were paved with a pale blue lazuli, and their purity was closely watched, so that the long, black hair of the town ladies could not be dimmed, which fluttered over them like cloaks. Among the people wandered the friendly magic beasts; one in their horns wore dew more precious than gold, and the pink blood of others was known as the elixir of immortality. Nobody ever recorded the victory over the Tizerkan warriors of that region.

But two hundred years ago something happened and caravans stopped arriving, and with them beautiful stories about people from the city…

Ah, yes … Nobody remembers how the city was called. Lazlo knows that the city once had a name; he remembers the exact moment when someone fifteen years ago stole that name from his memory, but also from the memory of his teachers.

Lazlo never stopped dreaming about that city, never ceased to seek the city which is, like him, someone forgot when it no longer knew how to call it. Lazlo Stranger’s way to the city was still in stories, in libraries in whose shadowy hugs he was glad to lose himself, whose corridors were the only place where he felt safe, where he felt that he truly belongs. Any knowledge he has collected for years on a forgotten, forbidden city has become his only property, his greatest wealth.

But, as life does, sometimes those who have everything take away from those who do not have and what little they have they collected with their love, patience, work, sacrifice as their life’s greatest value, they highest property.

And usually you are capable only to helplessly watch as they take away what you worked for years, trying to at least maintain composure dignity in front of the kidnapper, and wait to break yourself only when the pride – the only thing you have left – allows you to.

When the opportunity of life is presented to you, the moment you dreamed your whole life, and when you see someone who already has everything, reached his hand in front of you to take what means nothing to him, but is given to him honorably, you realize that you are the only ally you got and that dreams rarely come to you – you’re the one who has to put everything on the line, risk of sounding stupid and go in the direction of everything you dreamed of. Because there will be no other opportunity…

In the Citadel, the palace that only the magic holds from being forgotten, opulent city, lives a girl who did not meant to survive. What’s more, if the ones who live below knew she was alive, they would find a way to come up and finish what they started fifteen years earlier when she was still a baby in the cradle.

Sarai knows why this is so; she reads it from the dreams that people in the city beneath the Citadel dream, which are the only places that she can visit. This is her power and her curse; she cannot dream her own dreams, she does not dare to because of all the things in those memories she learns about herself and about those whose direct descendant she is…

People in the city below the Citadel sometimes hated them for their power. Sarai knew that they hated them for a reason, she saw what her mother was doing to their people; she saw what her mother was doing to her father…

They survived, five of them, just because Minya took care of them. They owe their lives to her, and Minya patiently and tirelessly prepares revenge on the city who lives and sleeps under them, who does not even know they did not kill all of their gods…

More than anything else, Sarai has always wanted to be able to fly, to leave the Citadel, for it to stop being the only place in the world that gives shelter to her. However, the only place where you can freely walk, where you are invisible, where you can look without fear to be sighted, are dreams…

Until one day she visits the dreams of one of the strangers who have just arrived in the city and until he, in her dreams, does not look back at her…

How can a story of two people who end up finding what they have always been looking for and then realizing that it was something that never meant to exist, never supposed to survive – that it was all that they came to destroy?

Nobody knows how to do to a human heart what Laini Taylor is doing to it. So I am begging you – start reading books by Laini Taylor. If you do not read fantasy, start reading it because of Laini Taylor. If you read this book and are disappointed, will never ever write another book review. Here, you have it black on white.

10 thoughts on “Strange the dreamer – Laini Taylor”

  1. I absolutely love the sound of this book, and if previously not heard anything about it before this post. I love that you said you’d only share the minimum about it, as that’s made me want the book even more! Great review x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never come across this author before but having read your review – and comments on the writing in general – definitely one I’ll have to check out! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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