Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 

“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill?”…”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” – Quote from Strange the Dreamer.

 

Strange The Dreamer has to be one of my favourite reads this year. As I’m writing this, I don’t even know where to begin worshipping this original, wondrous fantasy/sci-fi novel. My review will not do it justice. To start off, I loved our protagonist Lazlo – he is definitely more relatable than Karou, the main character from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. To top it off, Lazlo is a bookworm librarian! What is there not to love about that right? The world building is impeccable and has the same gothic fairytale quality that Laini Taylor does so well, be prepared to hang on her every word about the city of Weep and detailed accounts of its past. The world building is descriptive without being gratuitous, it’s imaginative and transports you to this mythical land and dreamscape! Another element that I loved about the book is the grayness and the blurring of the lines between good and evil characters – their misgivings, their heartbreaks and redeeming moments as the story unfolds. There are so many layers to the characters, it’s just sublime. There are moments when you feel so damn sorry for the characters because of all the pain, suffering and guilt experienced by them, and at other times infuriated by how ungrateful they are or surprised by the choices they’ve made. The themes of diversity, acceptance, forgiveness, power, morality, courage,  hope and love are what you can expect from this novel. The themes also go so much deeper. When you read this book, you will marvel at Laini Taylor’s ability to weave a great story, after all, great novels are all about exceptional storytelling. The mysteries of Weep also unfolds organically so you’re somewhat prepared for the twist but it somehow still surprises and leaves you bewildered after reading it. I highly recommend this imaginative, electrifying and delightful read. The story is mysterious, original and dynamic. There is, of course, a love story in the novel but it does not overwhelm or overshadow the actual story. I am now waiting eagerly for the highly anticipated book two! If there’s a book you must read this year, make it Strange The Dreamer.

 

– NJ

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

“There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your own flaws.”

Necromancer meets Memoirs of a Geisha – 4.5 stars!

Expected publication in March 2017

Tea is a witch like no other that’s been born into the eight kingdoms for decades; when her powers awakened, she unwittingly used her powers as a necromancer to resurrect her dead brother. As a new and rare Bone Witch, she must follow her path to become a fully fledged dark Asha wielding dark powers that could either save or destroy her world; powers that are misunderstood, feared and frowned upon.

This book is amazing with creative world building mixed with lyrical, engaging story-telling. The Bone Witch has exceeded my expectations, it’s got an absorbing and interesting premise which is used to explore the themes of self-discovery, journey, politics and diversity. Tea’s apprenticeship to become a dark Asha is akin to that of the Memoirs of  Geisha, very interesting! Book 1 sets up well for the sequel which I just can’t wait to read! I also enjoyed how the story was told using foreshadowing, like a story within a story through alternating perspectives. It is very well written and highly recommended read for readers who enjoys a YA fantasy story somewhat similar to Memoirs of a Geisha but with magic, the walking dead, monsters, potions, magical dresses, spells, prophecies, necromancing and amazing world building.

Other interesting quotes:

“you will always have a weakness, and that will always make you believe you have no power when someone exploits it. There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your own flaws.”

“People will never be what you make of them, but at least your own heart stays yours and true.”

– NJ