nightmares trapped like fireflies | strange the dreamer duology by laini taylor

by - 9:59 PM

I think you're a fairytale. I think you're magical and brave and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.

 For those familiar with Laini Taylor's writing, you would know that all her works are beautiful lyrical pieces of art and this duology is no different. The story follows Lazlo Strange, an orphan and junior librarian with a fascination for the lost city of Weep. After spending years collecting information and dreaming for the opportunity to visit, he finds himself part of an entourage heading straight for the city with some of the brightest and most skilled. This journey to the legendary city reveals secrets about his past as well as a blue-skinned goddess named Sarai who keeps appearing in his dreams. 
how do people write summaries, I struggled so much (hence why this review is ONE MONTH LATE) 

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Formats read: physical
the magical world of godspawn
The world of Strange the Dreamer is a place where the blue-skinned gods and goddesses were completely slaughtered after years of oppressing the humans of Weep. The story starts off with a lot of unanswered questions and is set against a soft but haunting atmosphere. Laini Taylor writes incredible worlds, stories, and characters but it is definitely an acquired taste. After hearing raving reviews for the first book in this duology and previously loving her other works, I expected to be swept off my feet into another one of her creations - which while it did happen, took me longer than I originally anticipated.

This duology is incredibly well-written and so well executed, but there are times where I still found myself struggling to care for the story. With Strange the Dreamer, I wanted to fall in love with Lazlo for his gentle nature and Sarai for her desire to be better than humanity's nightmare yet I just felt so disconnected from their love story. The first book in particular, focuses a lot on cementing Lazlo and Sarai's relationship that the plot in the synopsis because an afterthought to their romance and that didn't quite do it for me.

However, what I felt Strange lacked to grip my emotions, Muse completely owned my heart and soul. I will admit, I'm still not the biggest fan of Lazlo and Sarai, but there was just more to the story for me to invest in. The world becomes so much more fleshed out and Laini Taylor masterfully weaves together the different storylines to create an even bigger story arc. I have honestly never felt so invested in every timeline that when we switched perspectives, I was both frustrated about the interruption and excited to jump back into the previously interrupted story.
(I guess worse problems could be in place?)
the balancing of power
One of my biggest reasons for continuing this duology was because I wanted to see what happened to Minya. If there's ever a character whose revenge deserves hailing fire and brimstone onto her enemies it's Minya and her character deserved more than to be portrayed as the antagonist because of her anger and hatred. I was curious to see how Laini Taylor would address Minya's unparalleled anger and resolve the major conflict.

Of course, there isn't one solution to fix this complex problem and, rather than giving readers a clear answer, we are introduced to a larger issue that stems from the heart of power-hungry corruption. In the interest of being as vague as possible to avoid any spoilers, Laini Taylor validates Minya's pain as well as the pain the people of Weep have endured at the hands of the gods and goddesses. There's such an interesting conversation that stems from the juxtaposition of having this immeasurable power while continuing to exploit others for being more powerful than you are. 

a hundred stories coming together 
As I mentioned before, Muse was the pinnacle of all the different stories and timelines that Laini Taylor had worked on coming together. With Strange, I couldn't yet understand what she was trying to do by taking all these plot detours to focus on small insignificant mini-stories instead of focusing at the greater task at hand: freeing Weep. However, with the sequel and having completed this duology, they all become puzzle pieces that have come together to create a magical universe. There are tiny easter eggs hidden that allude to bigger timelines and the way each story is crafted leaves almost an endless number of possibilities for an ending
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  1. I've just discovered your blog, and it's so pretty and aesthetically pleasing. 🥰 I've had this duology on my tbr for ages, but I'm SO SCARED I'll dislike it. 😅 While I enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, I had some problems with it and I'm afraid the same will be true here. Either way, it was nice to read that even though you weren't completely satisfied, you still enjoyed the novels. Great review! :)

    1. Aww thank you for your sweet comment! 💕I was really apprehensive too so I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when Muse turned out for the better 😅 if you decide to pick this up in the future, I would love to hear your thoughts!