Review: Strange the Dreamer

To celebrate the release of the Strange the Dreamer paperback, I’m sharing my review of the book!

Strange the Dreamer is a masterpiece through and through. It’s beautifully constructed and the setting and characters are so vivid and intoxicating. It’s the story of Sarai and Laslo. She is a magical being who resides in the lost city of Weep, and he is a librarian on an expedition to rediscover Weep.

The whole book is a slow-burn, gradually introducing you to this new world. But it has all the familiar Lani Taylor traits you’ve come to love if you’ve read her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. There’s magic, mystery, and fairytales. But rather than being super plot driven, it’s a character study. The story of a blossoming relationship between these two unlikelies. The scenes when Sarai and Laslo are connected are so atmospheric and heart-warming, I wanted to stay with them forever. Additionally, as much as I loved the primary characters, the secondary ones are also something special. You feel connected to all of them, and I would read a companion novel about every single one!

But, there’s a twist. An excruciating one that had me reeling for the next book, like, right now. (Luckily, we’ve not long to wait, as Muse of Nightmares comes out 2nd October.) Strange the Dreamer has to be one of my all-time favourite fantasy novels, and I really can’t wait to be immersed in this world once again.

Buy on Amazon |Pre-order Muse of Nightmares
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Cover Reveal and Prologue of Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I don’t know about you, but Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor is one of my MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES of 2016! The first book in this new series by the author of one of my all-time favourite series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, will be released in September and that couldn’t come soon enough! And the lovely people at Hodder & Stoughton have given us the opportunity to share the covers for the UK and US editions along with the prologue of the book! So a huge thank you to Hodder, and if you want more information on their books then check out their website.

So without further ado, here are the covers for the UK (left) and the US (right)

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Aren’t they beautiful?! That blue is going to look seriously amazing on any shelf! I can not wait to start reading this series, the covers are so intriguing and up until now we’ve had very little to go on! Here’s what we know so far:

Laini Taylor © Jim DiBartolo
Strange the Dreamer is the story of: 

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperilled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Goodreads | Amazon

BUT we can now reveal the PROLOGUE of this amazing and mysterious book, right here on Heart Full of Books, can you believe it?

PROLOGUE

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 then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.

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 had come, 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 startled 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.

(©Laini Taylor, STRANGE THE DREAMER, out September 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton)

UK Jacket - Strange the Dreamer HBOH WOW. How does Laini Taylor make every word so perfect and magical? I’m already addicted! All that imagery is spell-binding and really sets this book up to be one of the best I’ll read in 2016.

So, what we’ve learned is that Strange The Dreamer is guaranteed to be as addicting as her other series. My jaw was practically on the floor, because this is poetry: ‘Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.’

#StrangeTheDreamer

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

dosabDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Genre
: Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 418
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ is the perfect example of a ‘Bee Book’. She read it first and really enjoyed it, even though there were no faeries involved. So, I was tentative to try it out – our taste in books doesn’t differ that much, but this has been sat on Bee’s shelf for so long, I kind of forgot I could read it.
Bee never knew how to describe it to me, and now I totally understand why. A lot happens in DOSAB, that it’s hard to categorise it by genre. It literally fits no conventions, and I think that’s what’s made it so successful!

Continue reading “Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor”

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of B916WD5AWqbL._SL1500_lood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Little Brown Books
Pages: 513
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

This book has been sitting on my shelf for the longest time, even though I absolutely loved the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’d put it on my Autumn TBR, however, so it needed to be read this month – which meant I had to read a 500+ page book after reading as many under 250 page novels as I could!

There was just as much mystery and plot twists in the sequel as the first book, which I was surprised abut, because I didn’t think there could be any more surprises. I’d say that Days of Blood and Starlight definitely isn’t your typical sequel, it was just as thought-out and just as gripping, and I only have high hopes for the final instalment. I’d say that although there were slow sections, they would seemlessly link into the faster paced action-scenes that mean I literally could not put the book down, even though it took some considerable deliberation to actually pick up the book in the first place.

Laini Taylor has a way of transporting the reader into an entiely different world. There are fantastical elements, but nothing is hard to believe and I absolutely love how different the world of the chimera is to anything I’ve ever read before. The world building is incredible, and the characters are beautifully written, so much so that it’s hard to say anything bad about it!

Karou is one of my favourite characters, and her relationship is Akiva is so complex. My heart was ripped in two in Days of Blood and Starlight, thanks to where the relationship cut off in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I was left wanting a lot more, but I think considering the circumstances that the ‘yes-no-maybe’ attitudes that Karou had were appropriate and understandable. For once I actually enjoyed the deliberation. What I loved most is that, whereas Karou is questioning, Akiva is not. He is completely resolute in his feelings, and it was refreshing to read such a devoted point of view.

I loved how well the third person work with the storyline. Reading Days of Blood and Strarlight is like being transported into a different world, and the third person perspective means that we can jump between the different viewpoints. At first I was sad that it wasn’t just Akiva and Karou, but I really loved the Zuzanna and Mik POVs as I definitely did not want to lose them. Also the minor characters’ perspectives were relevant, although at first it seemed like we were with them for no reason.

Overall, I can not wait until the final book in the series to come out in paperback, and I can’t believe I have to wait until March! Karou’s story is definitely one that I would recommend to any one.  Even if you’re not the biggest fantasy fan, you absolutely have to read the series for the amazing writing!