Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor is perhaps one of the most beautiful fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It contains sharp observations of the human mind and heart in a manner expected of a literary novel, however it’s an adventure containing librarians, scholars, magic, dreamers and strange enemies.
It is an incredibly unique Young Adult Fantasy novel, which incorporates original concepts in a breathtakingly fresh manner, the story weaved with such true emotion and wit that it seems real, allowing the reader to fall into the lush world Taylor has created . The quality of writing is amongst the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The thoughts, desires and experiences of the protagonist, Lazlo Strange, are enough to touch any heart and fill it with wonder, joy and, yes, the longing to dream just a little more fearlessly.
Lazlo Strange is a war orphan and junior librarian. He has been obsessed with the mythic city of Weep since he was five years old, but it would take someone much bolder to make his way across half the world in search of it. But then a stunning opportunity presents itself and he gets the chance to travel to Weep with a band of legendary warriors passing through his hometown, and he seizes the chance to make his dream come true. Everything that unfolds from that moment on in a pure adventure, full of unexpected turns, wonders and magic.
An excerpt from page 14-15.
“Some manuscript were expected at the Great Library of Zosma, and Lazlo was charged to deliver them.
He never came back.
The Great Library was no mere place to keep books. It was a walled city for poets and astronomers and every shade of thinker in between. It encompassed not only the vast archives, but the university, too, together with laboratories and glasshouses, medical theatres and music rooms, and even a celestial observatory. All this occupied what had been the royal palace before the current queen’s grandfather built a finer one straddling the Eder and gifted this one to the Scholars’ Guild. It ranged across the top of Zosimos Ridge, which knifed up from Zosma City like a shark’s fin, and was visible from miles away.
Lazlo was in a state of awe from the moment he passed through the gates. His mouth actually fell open when he saw the Pavillion of Thought. That was the grandiose name for the ballroom that now housed the library’s philosophy texts. Shelves rose forty feet under an astonishing painted ceiling, and the spines of books glowed in jewel-toned leather, their gold leaf shining in the glavelight like animal eyes. The glaves themselves were perfect polished spheres, hanging by the hundreds and emitting a purer white light than he’d ever seen from the rough, ruddy stones that lit the abbey. Men in gray robes rode upon wheeled ladders, seeming to float through the air, scrolls flapping behind them like wings as they rolled from shelf to shelf.
It was impossible that he should leave this place. He was like a traveler in an enchanted wood. Every step deeper bewitched him further, and deeper he did go, from room to room as though guided by instinct, down secret stairs to a sublevel where dust lay thick on books undisturbed for years. He disturbed them. It seemed to him that he awoke them, and they awoke him.”