Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, Book 1)
By: Laini Taylor
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Best for: 18 and up
I expected a fantasy romance when I picked up Strange the Dreamer, and funny enough–I found exactly that.
Except I found more, too.
Laini Taylor keeps surprising me: the reading dad who calls romance novels BARF. Her stories push the blurry line of demarcation that seperates “a romance novel” (BARF) from “a story with a romance in it” (BRILLIANT), but both her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and now Strange the Dreamer manage to stay wonderfully romantic while telling a really great fantasy story. If there’s a sweet spot to be found on that blurry line, she’s found it. And made it her thing.
Strange the Dreamer is as beautifully written as it is whimsically imagined. This fantasy-loving dad with a soft spot for a great love story was entertained by the world building, captivated by the imagery, pulled along by the mystery, captured by the characters, and spellbound by the love story. There’s no way I could have pulled myself away–I was hooked from the cruelly-teasing prologue and didn’t find the answers I needed for 500 pages. It’s cruel, and it’s awesome.
No language, PG violence, some frights, a same-gender relationship among secondary characters, and romantic love–mostly in the form of chaste kissing and lots of desire. 99% of the content is comfortably accessible for teen readers 16 and up. However, there was one scene involving teen characters where the descriptions get steamy enough I would feel uncomfortable reading them outloud with my teenagers. As that’s my barometer for measuring these things, I’ll say Strange the Dreamer as a whole is appropriate for 18 and up. The scene in question is on page 425. It’s mild as these things go, but I’m a dad and I have teens who might be interested in this book, so there you go. And now that you know, you can make the decision for yourself.
Note on the audiobook. It’s performed flawlessly by Steve West, who I know best from his performance of The Queen’s Thief series. It was very hard to get his distinct voice away from the voices of The Queen’s Thief, but once I did it was brilliant.
I haven’t been held this tight by a story in a long time.
I loved it. And now I must be off to finish the story in Muse of Nightmares.