Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

(Caidyn)

2.5/5

Before finishing this book, I had an outline written down about how I would start this book and what I would talk about. It was going to be rather glowing with some things that I noticed or didn’t like included in it. An honest review, like I usually do. Probably would have been about 3.5 stars since the cons didn’t exactly detract from my experience.

I would have discussed a weird dream I had while reading this book late into the night. Probably would have started with that, actually. A fun little anecdote to kick off my review, something that I enjoy starting with. A quote probably would have kicked it off, too. I had highlighted a few that I liked.

However, I’m left frustrated with more cons than pros. I’m sitting here, trying to figure out what to say about this book and what to even think. I liked it up until almost 70%. Then, I got bored and frustrated and it went downhill to the point that I was even contemplating giving it 1.5 or 2 stars instead of 2.5.

I guess I’ll start with the characters.

Lazlo was, by far, my favorite. I really connected with him because he’s so much like me. Living his life in a library, not bothering to stick his head out in the world. His story, his person, his everything connected with me. Until about 70% into the book when he started meeting Sarai.

On the other hand, Sarai is meh. She didn’t feel fleshed out, which made sense by the end. As I read more about her, I just got bored and tired. I don’t want to hear about her angst with not connecting with people and being unhappy and forced to do things that she doesn’t want to. I get it completely, why she was like that. However, that’s not a character I typically want to read about. Then, I found her feeling pointless by the very end of the book.

All of the minor characters were more fleshed out — yes, even more so than Lazlo — and had more depth to them. Take Minya, for instance. She, at six years old, watched everyone she loved died and was left trying to save a few infants. And her guilt and pain and anger radiated through her and the one single chapter that had her as a POV was amazing. However, when through the eyes of Lazlo or Sarai, Minya was reduced to a poor caricature. Eril-Fane was another character like that. I would have rather read about his conflict and feelings over what he did and what happened to him. Eril-Fane’s mother, who was barely there, had more to her.

As for the plot, it was pretty good. I mean that it was good and interesting until the insta-lust came in. I call it insta-lust because it’s not love. It’s two people sexually attracted to one another who don’t know one another. That’s why so many relationships end when you start learning more about the other person. You lust after them. Love comes with knowing their flaws and accepting them, even though you don’t agree. The insta-lust between Lazlo and Sarai, while realistic, was just annoying. It distracted from the plot… which was sort of negated by the end of the book. This book was just set up for the next book. Every single page of the nearly 600-page thing was setting the stage rather than being something of its own.

My next issue was going to be included in my original review. I just have to talk about the similarities between Laini’s first series and this book/new series. It’s almost exactly like it. Things have been changed, but it’s almost alike. SPOILERS ABOUT THIS BOOK AND THE SERIES BEGINNING NOW.

SPOILERS ABOUT THIS BOOK AND THE SERIES BEGINNING NOW.

I’ll say when it’s cool to look back.

Monsters v. normals trope. Both books had it. The monsters, in this, were godspawn. In the other series, it depended on what side you were on. And, I’m okay with that trope. Just not when it’s almost exactly the same. Burgeoning genocide. Hatred. Etc. It reminded me too much and I half expected to find out it was a continuation in the same world as her last series.

Someone normal is really a monster. Seriously??? I guessed that Lazlo was really godspawn about 15% into the book. No joke. I sort of had a thought like: “lol wouldn’t it be funny if Lazlo was really one of them?” And then, to my horror, I was right. It’s just like her other series. The twist gets boring when it’s in the same book.

Also, insta-lust in both books that was so stupid. Need I say more?

SPOILERS ARE ENDING NOW.

So, what am I left with after this book? Honestly, I don’t know. I really feel like the cons outweigh the pros since all of my cons just impacted everything I found a pro. Will I read the next book? I don’t know, but probably not. Lazlo was the only thing pushing me forward and I really started to dislike him for my various reasons by the end.

 

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