Series: Strange the Dreamer #2
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Little Brown (10.2.2018)
ARC, 528 pages
In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Caution: Review contains spoilers for Strange the Dreamer!
“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bullseye yourself.”
Holy CRAP this book was SO. BEAUTIFUL!!! I loved it just as much as the first one! And, of course, just like the first one this one is tragic and heartbreaking. But GLORIOUS. I loved every second! Laini’s writing is gorgeous and just draws you in. Even when nothing is happening it’s interesting! I had trouble putting it down, even when I had to go to work. Darn life for getting in the way!!
I freaking LOVE Sarai and Lazlo together. They are goals!! All of their tender moments had my heart pounding. I just love them so much! Plus it’s totally tragic that they want to be together so badly but Sarai is dead so that’s um a bit of a complication? BUT THEY MAKE IT WORK. Against all odds they were together anyway, and it was so beautiful I can’t even.
I honestly had no idea what to expect going in. Strange the Dreamer ended on such a final note that it had me thinking, How in the WORLD is Laini going to solve this?! I swear she is freaking brilliant!!
The introduction of new characters and an all new backstory was EPIC!!! I loved Kora and Nova’s story SO MUCH!! In the beginning you only get small snippets and I was desperate for more. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how everything tied in! In the first book the world is an enigma. You don’t know much about the Mesarthim or where they came from. In this book you get answers. And it. was. BRILLIANT. How many times can I say Laini is freaking brilliant?! WELL SHE IS.
The world building seriously blows my mind. I loved the backstory of the Mesarthim and all the many worlds. LOVED. I definitely want to hear more! Plus ALL THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE REFERENCES YAASSS. Please please please Laini tell me there’s going to be a crossover book/series?!?!?! I NEED IIIIIT. View Spoiler »PLEASE TELL ME KAROU WILL BUILD SARAI ANOTHER BODY PLEEEAAAASE. « Hide Spoiler
Also can I please just say how much I frickin’ LOVE Calixte?! She is such a snarky cinnamon roll and I feel like we would be best friends. She had me cracking up!! (Um, the part where she said she tasted good and Nero made a comment about cannibals and she referred to Tzara as my sweet cannibal DEAD)
In general though, I love all the characters and I was so attached to them! Even the side characters. Perhaps the most surprising? Thyon Nero. I actually found myself getting attached to him! I love how much he’s grown (and changed) since the last book. It was so endearing how he wanted to be part of the group and came to care for them! View Spoiler »Plus HE SAVED THE DAY!! And basically saved Sarai from evanescence. I love him for that! « Hide Spoiler I also was really impressed by Minya’s character arc. It’s so profound! I honestly hated her in the first book, and for most of this one. But she’s just a product of the Carnage and doesn’t know anything but hate and revenge. She might be hateful and cold, but deep down she truly cares about the Godspawn and just wants to protect them. View Spoiler »The fact that the Ellens were her, her good parts made into ghosts, was really mind blowing! I’m super interested to see how she changes as a character now that she has those good parts back. « Hide Spoiler
While I really enjoyed the catharsis between characters at the end, it felt like something was missing. I think because I expected it to rip my heart out like the first one did? The ending wrapped up just a little too perfectly and neatly for me. View Spoiler »There was no real sacrifice. Eril Fane and Azareen “died” (I was bawling btw) but they came back. The stakes were high but no one paid for it. I feel like it was a tad unrealistic? « Hide Spoiler
Many a choice is made in this way: by pretending it makes itself.
And many a fate is decided by those who cannot decide.
“You say it with your face.”
“That’s just his face,” said Calixte. “He can’t help having indignant nostrils. Aristocrats are issued them at birth, along with haughty eyes and judgmental cheeks.”
(Calixte, while Thyon and Ruza are talking about hatching dragon eggs) “I’m seeing a vision of the future in which you’re both eaten like idiots trying to steal dragon eggs in some weird world.”
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5