Strange the Dreamer Book Review (spoiler free!)

Strange the DreamerImage result for strange the dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 536
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis from goodreads:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage. “

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”

– Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

I cannot express how beautiful this book was not only to hold, but to read. Hesitant at first and unsure of what to expect never having read any of this author’s writing before, I soon became immersed in the eloquent description she used for anything and everything. I was lost in the wonderful fantasy and the enchanting writing which was never a bore or mundane to read, it was always brimming with magic and I just had to reread some parts over again before I could move on, only to further absorb their beauty and meaning.

Lazlo Strange is one of the best characters I have ever read about, being so relatable with his love of books and reading but he had such a different upbringing, being raised as an orphan by monks, he didn’t really have any life experience with the opposite gender. This showed when he meets a certain character I shall not mention, and I adored reading their blushes and innocence as they discovered the secrecy of new beginnings.

Lazlo has always been obsessed by Weep, the Unseen City from when he was a boy and of course leaps at the opportunity to leave his home and see the city of his dreams with his own eyes. One such person that accompanies him on his journey is Thyon, the complete opposite to Lazlo and rather severe, thinking no one helps another purely out of the goodness in their heart.

Every character was magnificently created, the reader knowing exactly their nature come the end of the book and the development of some characters was astonishing, really. Some grew so much by the end, and some did not, their hatred and deep-rooted travesty never wavering even in the face of hope.

We meet some intriguing characters, forged out of loss and despair and quite cut off from the rest of the world. One such is Minya, forever a six year old girl but with the cruel mentality and maliciousness to put any opposition to her to shame. Sarai is another, a desperate longing inside her to escape their situation and wish for a better world. They couldn’t be far from contrary to another and a few interesting scenes pop up between them as their strategies and ways of attempting to solve certain problems clash, one filled with a burning fire and the other a fluttering whisper of hope.

Everything about this book was fantastic and it’s definitely not one to miss or leave till later on your TBR, experience it now – you won’t regret it. The only thing I couldn’t stand was the ending because it left on such a cliffhanger and it even had the words, TO BE CONTINUED and you know it’s bad when you see them printed across the page. I really can’t wait for the sequel (out next year!) because I need more amazing descriptions like this:

“It might have been brief, but so much of a kiss – a first kiss especially – is the moment before your lips touch, and before your eyes close, when you’re filled with the sight of each other, and with the compulsion, the pull, and it’s like…it’s like…finding a book inside another book. A small treasure of a book hidden inside a big common one – like…spells printed on dragonfly wings, discovered tucked inside a cookery book, right between the recipes for cabbages and corn. That’s what a kiss is like, he thought, no matter how brief: It’s a tiny, magical story, and a miraculous interruption of the mundane.”

– Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

I love that quote it’s just amazing. All of it was brilliant but this one scene was particularly dazzling to read.

I got the beautiful edition with the blue sprayed edges and artwork in the title page, plus it was signed! I also got to meet the author at an event and get it personalised and signed again. It’s truly enchanting to read and definitely a book I would recommend!

“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.”

– Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

Book cover changes: is it all about the money?

Book covers. We love to see a new book cover reveal to a series we’ve read from the start, and a wonderful sense of excitement rumbles round the book community when a new cover gets revealed. It’s a chance to bring up excitement and publicity for the next instalment in a series, and it’s something I absolutely look forward to.

But when you see that it’s not just a new cover reveal, but a cover reveal for ALL previous books in the series, it’s suddenly not the experience you hoped for. And then you realise – they aren’t going to be producing the next book in the covers you already have.

It’s every bookworm’s nightmare.

Take The Bone Season for example. I absolutely love the covers of this series and think they are so colourful and beautifully designed. Just look how gorgeous they are!

Image result for the bone seasons covers Image result for the mime order cover Image result for the song rising cover

So naturally, when I heard about the drastic cover changes they were making half way through the series, I was mortified. I hadn’t read the first two books yet, but this announcement had me seriously considering whether to read this series or not because I just cannot handle mismatching series. And I especially loved the look of the first two books, and not this completely toned down whitened book covers:

Image result for the bone seasons covers Image result for the bone seasons covers Image result for the bone seasons covers

I mean, just look at these covers! They are no where near as nice as the originals, and I have plenty of boring white-covered books on my shelves. I much prefer the colourful ones. Thankfully the publishing company decided to release books with the original style of covers alongside these ones, giving readers the option of choosing which set to buy and meaning people that had the original covers wouldn’t have to re-purchase these new ones just to have a complete set.

Because to some people, continuity and matching covers actually means a lot. I don’t have OCD, but I have a little with certain things and book covers are one of them. It actually hurts to have mismatching books and it niggles at me and grows and grows until I can’t take it any more – I cannot have mismatching book covers. It’s like a thought that won’t go away – the books don’t match the books don’t match. It’s the same with books heights.

Is it a money-making scheme? Is it to bring in more readers and appeal to another audience or target market with these cover changes? Either way, I think it’s unnecessary and it stirs up a lot of discussion in the book community over whether you love or hate the changes made to covers.

So a book series I’ve been meaning to read for a while is An Ember In the Ashes and I absolutely love the covers of the books – they’re so simplistic and elegant, it was definitely a series I would eventually have on my shelves.

Image result for an ember in the ashes cover Image result for a torch against the night

But the third book has had its cover reveal, and it’s a complete change for the series at that. The book won’t be released in the same style as these two so it can match the series for those of us who would want matching book covers; if you want matching covers, you’ll have to buy the first two in the new covers which is just totally unfair to faithful readers. These are the new covers:

  

Okay so these covers are actually really nice and I love the title styles, but again it’s just been washed with a white background – something that seems to be the theme of new book covers.

But with the reveal of these book covers, the author has said in a tweet: “For the beautiful brown kids who deserve to see themselves on books:You’re heroes too. And these covers are for you:”

So I have a few opinions on this (and by all means, feel free to discuss in the comments), it seems that by releasing this statement, the author has wanted a cover change to represent people that aren’t white on books covers which I am all for, but I really don’t think these covers show this very clearly? If the aim was to represent different skin colours on books, then why have a red/blue/green light blaring at the figures so their skin colour is quite hidden and covered in bright colours that mask it? I’d want them to be displayed very clearly and obviously, not bathed in another colour.

Representation is important and there is no doubt a need for more representation on book covers of different cultures, skin colour and disability (Tower of Dawn, I’m looking at you) but I really don’t agree with changing book covers in the middle of a series.

The Grisha series recently released a new book cover change, but this was after the series had finished. It’s fine if the series is complete and a new set of covers is released, not in the middle of a series! I think it’s just such a money-making scheme sometimes and there’s really no need for it.

What I don’t get, is that if these books have been redesigned to have more representation, then why wasn’t it done in the first place? Why didn’t the publishing company choose to do these covers anyway? Surely the author had some say in the design of the covers, and if not, why not? There should have been no cover change, these new covers should have been the first and only covers.

Book cover changes really frustrate me and I think it’s totally irresponsible and quite ignorant of publishing companies to do this half way through a series, without promising the release of further books in the original cover styles. It’s not a question of matching covers being more important than representation, it’s the fact that representation should be a continuing discussion for cover designs in the first place, and continuity for the readers should also be kept at the forefront of decisions.

What do you think about cover changes? Is it all about the money?

Happy Book Lovers Day!

HAPPY BOOK LOVERS DAY BOOKWORMS! Quite possibly the best day of the year (besides Christmas), this truly is a perfect day for bookworms all over the world.

So to celebrate this day, what have I been doing? OF COURSE I have been reading! I finished the fantastic Frostblood by Elly Blake (review to come soon) and I am currently in the process of ordering some more books even though I already have three on their way in the post…

I thought I’d do a post to celebrate the reasons why we love reading books so much so enjoy and feel free to comment and add to the list your own reasons!

  1. They’re escapism. Books allow us to escape reality for a few hours and enter a completely different world and discover a whole new way of life. They’re full of wonder and they’re actual dreams made real packed full of drama and action that we welcome as a distraction from our own. They also help us forget our own problems for a while, whilst agonising over someone else’s. It’s the perfect escape when you just want to run off to somewhere new.
  2. MAGIC EXISTS! Books are their own type of magic, letters and words constructed together to create something beautiful and magical, but they are also a place where actual magic exists! The Harry Potter spell-casting, element-changing magic! Life is always better with magic and books are just this.
  3. It’s a cure for wanderlust. Ever wanted to travel across the world but a little thing called ‘money’ hasn’t worked its way into your life just yet – books are the perfect cure for that travelling bug; and better yet, you can do it sat amongst your own comfy pillows and blankets without lifting a finger! Well maybe just to turn the page…
  4. Books can help when you’re feeling a flurry of emotions. Feeling sad? Read. Feeling angry? Read. Feeling happy? Read. You can never go wrong and it always makes you feel better!
  5. They carry an empire of friends for you to arm yourself with. We’ve all had those moments of loneliness, of feeling like you have no one or even that no one out there cares. But we find friends in the characters we read about and they’re always there for you, waiting to be picked up and to pour out their story to us. They’re a shield against the world – and it’s impenetrable.
  6. They’re BEAUTIFUL! Have you ever gone round someone’s house and complimented them on how lovely their house looks? But when there’s a BOOKSHELF involved – it cranks up the beauty factor by ten thousand and you instantly gravitate towards their little library and scour the shelves for titles you recognise. It’s a conversation starter and an impressive feature to have and display proudly – you can never ruin a room with a bookcase chocked full of books!
  7. We learn so much from them and never stop learning. Have you ever spoken to someone who has pronounced a word incorrectly? You never scorn or laugh at them because it means they’ve read it. Books teach and educate, not just new words but different cultures and people as well as how to treat others and see things from different perspectives.

And did I mention that they’re freaking awesome?! Books are a truly beautiful creation and without them, what would we do? It’s the perfect past time and way to forget time. Books are necessary and stories always wanted. Why do we love books so much? Simply because they allow us to feel a part of something bigger, part of a community and give life to dreams.

Happy Book Lovers Day everyone and I hope you have had a wonderful day reading and dreaming ♥

July wrap-up & August TBR

Hello everyone! I have been away for a few months because uni has been so busy with exams and placements and to be honest, I haven’t had the greatest few months for reading. I only managed two books in July but I am finally back in the reading mood and I hope August goes much better!

I’m currently half way through placements at the moment – I’ve done four weeks out of my eight at different veterinary practices and after these next two weeks, I finally have a break! I’m hoping to get loads more reading done this month and finally read some books that have been sat on my TBR shelves for AGES!

You might have noticed another change to my blog as well – I’ve changed the name to something a bit more fitting I think, and the layout to be a bit more simple and easier to follow hopefully! Let me know if you like this change and if you have any tips or things you like to see on my blog. I’ve had this blog for a year now and I do still love writing about my bookish life 🙂

 

Books I read in July:

 

This Savage SongImage result for this savage song uk

Author: V E Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Our Dark DuetImage result for our dark duet uk

Author: V E Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

I reread This Savage Song and I loved it just as I did the first time I read it and it meant I was refreshed and ready to read the sequel Our Dark Duet. But I have to say, it wasn’t as good as the first in my opinion! August’s character changed so much and the mood of the book was a lot darker. I liked the addition of the new monster and poems throughout the book, but I didn’t like how the verse title layouts had changed and the ending just wasn’t as good as the first and it was a bit of a downer. I still love the world and really enjoyed reading both books.

I’m currently reading Frostblood at the moment and I plan to read a few more books that I’ve had for a while like Uprooted and I’ve ordered some sequels so I might be doing so more rereads!

What are you currently reading and have you read any of the books I’ve read last month? Let me know in the comments!

Jo x