Strange the Dreamer is a gripping fantasy novel by Laini Taylor published in 2017.
In this article, you can find answers to some of the most common questions regarding this book as well as some information about the characters.
What is Strange the Dreamer about?
To put it simply, Strange the Dreamer tells the story of a young and curious librarian, a forgotten city, and the blue half-human children of dead gods.
Strange the Dreamer reads like a fairytale and will leave you grinning from funny interactions in the book and crying from the plot twists.
Laini Taylor’s writing will certainly have you turning pages and leave you dying to know what happens next.
Below is the prologue of the book to give you a glimpse into the story. Now hopefully, this little excerpt will convince you to read this gorgeous book!
As you are about to discover, this prologue is quite unusual from the norm.
On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and torch ginger buds rained out of her long hair.
Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths came, frantic, and tried to lift her away.
That was true. Only that.
They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the starled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.
Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.
She was also blue.
Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring–not summer–sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.
The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.
And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.
Is there a map in Strange the Dreamer?
Unfortunately, there is not a map at the start of the book.
Is this book a standalone, duology or trilogy?
Strange the Dreamer is the first book of a duology.
The second book, Muse of Nightmares, came out in 2018 and picks up straight from where the first part left off.
However, Muse of Nightmares is still its own story. For instance, it introduces more interesting characters and new perspectives.
Is Strange the Dreamer YA?
Yes, Strange the Dreamer is a young adult fantasy.
Is there romance in Strange the Dreamer?
Yes, the book does feature romance. That is to say, it is a major subplot and romance is present a lot in the story.
However, this romance is quite slow-paced like the world-building, but it is really sweet and fun to read about.
Does Strange the Dreamer have LGBTQ+ characters/relationships?
Yes, since there is a wlw relationship featured but it is not the main romance.
What themes are featured in Strange the Dreamer?
This book deals with some important and hard-hitting themes.
For instance the book features hate, inner darkness, family and forgiveness.
The themes are presented tactfully but in a way that leaves the reader pondering about them.
What trigger warnings are there for Strange the Dreamer?
There are some trigger warnings to keep in mind when reading this book.
Please be mindful of these before reading yourself and recommending to others.
Some of the trigger warnings include kidnapping, war themes, nightmares, blood depiction, domestic violence and rape (while not graphically described, still implied).
Also, those with severe mottephobia (aka fear of moths) should stay clear of this story, as there are multiple scenes with these bugs.
Who are the godspawn in this book?
The godspawn are the children of long dead gods. They are half-human and blue-skinned.
The godspawn are Sarai, Ruby, Feral, Sparrow and Minya. All of them have gifts because of their descent.
The godspawn live in a Citadel above the city of Weep. The Citadel is made out of metal called Mesarthium.
What is the mesarthim in Strange the Dreamer?
The mesarthim is a collective name of the deceased gods and goddesses in the book.
Below is a list of the gods’ names and their powers.
Skathis is the god of beasts. He can control Mesarthium and bend it at will. Moreover, he is one of the most if not the most powerful of the gods.
Isagol is the goddess of despair. Her powers consist of emotional manipulation.
Letha is the goddess of obliviation, and her powers include memory alteration.
Vanth is the god of storms, and his powers include summoning and controlling storms.
Ikirok is the god of revelry. However, his powers are not introduced further.
Korako is the goddess of secrets, and her powers include astral projection.
Strange the Dreamer has a wide range of characters.
Below you can find short introductions on each character spoiler-free.
Lazlo Strange is one of our main characters. He was orphaned due to a war and was raised by monks.
He continued on to become a junior librarian. In fact, this position suited Lazlo perfectly, since he is greatly fascinated by stories, but most of all, the forgotten city of Weep.
Others often refer to Lazlo as the “dreamer.” He is an optimistic, gray-eyed male in his 20s. Lazlo’s fascination with stories and his somewhat shy nature might resonate with a lot of readers. As a result, he is easy to relate to.
Lazlo can be considered bookish, but he is smart and resourceful.
He is overall a good person who sees the best qualities in others.
Sarai is the other main character that we follow through the book. She is one of the godspawn and has lived her whole life up in the Citadel.
She is a 17-year-old girl with orange-red hair and striking blue eyes.
Her power is a peculiar one. Every night, a swarm of moths leaves her mouth and goes out to the city below. Through her moths, Sarai can see and alter others’ dreams.
She has been taught to hate humans and to actually use the moths to torture people in their sleep. However, she does not feel the need to hurt people.
She is also quite optimistic and despite feeling trapped, she continues to dream of a better life. Sarai is very curious about things and loves her family a lot.
Minya is also one the godspawn.
Her power is to take a hold of people’s ghosts when they die, and she can control the ghosts.
Minya is stuck in her appearance as a 6-year-old child, despite being in her twenties.
She is very vengeful, and this characteristic drives all of her actions. She is focused on the past and wants to use her fellow godspawn’s powers solely to hurt humans.
Minya is overall an extremely complex character, and readers can have fun peeling her layers apart.
Also one of the five remaining godspawn, Ruby is a bold character.
Her power consists of creating and controlling fire, which definitely reflects her personality. Ruby is quite impulsive and passionate as well as bored with their simple life with the same routines.
She knows that the humans will come for them. So, she wants to collect new experiences and live her life as she pleases before that happens.
Sparrow is a gentle soul who wants to do everything to help her fellow godspawn.
Her power is to grow plant life. She is very nurturing and kind.
Sparrow also wants to be as understanding and forgiving as she can towards others.
Feral is also one of the godspawn.
His power is to summon different kinds of clouds. Feral is the only boy up in the Citadel.
He wants to learn a bit about everything and to help make the world a better place.
Feral is very focused on whatever interests him at the moment.
Thyon Nero is a relative of the royal family.
He is an alchemist, and his main goal is to find a way to turn lead into gold. His progression hasn’t been successful yet, and as a result, his father continues to beat him up over it.
Thyon is a bit of a snob and considers himself to be above others. In fact, he is not a fan of Lazlo and tries to take advantage of his knowledge.
Eril-Fane is the admired godslayer.
Years ago, he was the one to save suffering humans from the cruel gods by killing them all.
Eril-Fane is in the pursuit of scholars to accompany him on his journey to the city of Weep.
Strange the Dreamer vs The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a YA fantasy trilogy by Laini Taylor.
This trilogy is about an art student raised by monsters. She gets caught up in an other-wordly war.
Just like Strange the Dreamer, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone features Laini Taylor’s gorgeous writing with unique creatures and star-crossed lovers.
For fans of Strange the Dreamer, this trilogy will surely have you hooked.
How does Strange the Dreamer end?
Lazlo’s power surfaced and he went on to modify the mesarthium. The angel, or the citadel, began moving and took a new pose in the sky.
Lazlo’s entire being turned blue, revealing to himself and everyone else what he truly was–a godspawn.
Lazlo assured everyone that he didn’t know. Due to his ability to control mesarthium, they figured that Skathis was Lazlo’s father.
After that, Sarai fell from the sky.
Then we get Sarai’s perspective. She wanted to live but her soul started to give up. She was now a ghost and was seeing her body there as it was when she died. No one could see her and she started to come apart.
Minya let go of all the ghosts she held. Lazlo came to Minya telling her to catch Sarai’s ghost. This made Minya mad, as if she would not have caught her ghost if it weren’t for Lazlo telling her to.
Lazlo made his beast Rasalas attack Minya. He let Minya go and she caught Sarai’s ghost.
Minya proceeds to control Sarai’s ghost to tell Lazlo her message. And that is to do everything that Minya says or she will let Sarai’s soul go. Lazlo agreed to this.
We are left with quite a cliffhanger and the story will continue in the next book.
Thank you for reading!