Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor is the only poetic book that I have ever read, and while it is not true poetry, it is beautiful. Taylor creates her characters through metaphors, casting an emphasis on her characters emotions and personality. The plot is original and creative, the writing style is perfection, and the characters are portrayed brilliantly.
The poetic aspect in this book is not confusing. It is simple enough to understand, and complex enough to be beautiful. I found myself lost in Taylor’s writing. She chose her word choice perfectly.
The characters underlying emotions rise through their actions. Lazlo, the main protagonist, is the most selfless character I’ve ever read. He doesn’t even realize his kindness. He gives someone else the glory when he could have easily taken advantage of the situation. By making the character so giving, Taylor put power into Lazlo, making him seem more humane than he would have been otherwise.
The story is slow. Oftentimes, Taylor put too much into her descriptions, and I started glazing over words. The plot starts to kick in around page 100, but until then, Taylor keeps her readers interested by the sheer power of her characterization.
Sarai, the second main protagonist and a demigod, could have been thrown into a pity party. But Taylor gave her life. Sarai’s characterization brings the reader into sympathy and excitement. She’s spent her life as a hermit, not by choice, but because she and her siblings would have been killed if anyone knew they were alive.
The romance between Lazlo and Sarai is bittersweet. They’ve only met in a dream, but the romance is written so well it feels as if they knew each other in real life as well as dreamlife. It’s not cliche or sappy, but natural. The relationship doesn’t move too fast, and it doesn’t move too slow.
I struggled when deciding whether to root for the protagonists or the antagonist. Minya, the bad guy of the story, has a background that’ll rip readers to shreds. But in many ways, she’s not truly the antagonist. There are so many viewpoints to consider in this book. The world deserves Minya’s wrath, but at the same time, it doesn’t.
Strange the Dreamer is a masterpiece. The writing style is gorgeous. The characters are complex. There is so much going on in the story that it is near impossible to take sides. The ending is devastating, but also fitting. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.