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Strange the Dreamer

by Taylor, Laini

Book list *Starred Review* By now, fans of Laini Taylor know what to expect: beautiful prose, strange and whimsical fantasy worlds, sympathetic monsters, and wrenching, star-crossed romance. Her latest, first in a two-book set, certainly delivers on that, and there's something quietly magical at play here. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned infant who grew up to be a librarian, has had a quiet first two decades of life. But Lazlo, reader of fairy tales, longs to learn more about a distant, nearly mythical city, called Weep after its true name was stolen. When a group of warriors from that very place come seeking help, Lazlo, never before a man of action, may actually see his dream fulfilled. Weep, though, is a city still reeling from the aftermath of a brutal war, and hidden there is a girl named Sarai and her four companions, all of whom have singular talents and devastating secrets. What follows is the careful unfolding of a plot crafted with origamilike precision. This has distinct echoes of Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011), though ultimately it's a cut above even that: characters are carefully, exquisitely crafted; the writing is achingly lovely; and the world is utterly real. While a cliff-hanger ending will certainly have readers itching for book two, make no mistake this is a thing to be savored. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Taylor's long-anticipated latest arrives with a six-figure marketing plan, including a tour, promo swag, and plenty of publicity magic.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In the first book of a duology, Taylor (the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) again creates a complex and layered world of battling gods and humans. The tale begins 200 years after humans wiped out the powerful Mesarthim in a war so devastating that the city where it took place was said to have vanished and became known only as Weep. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned young librarian raised by monks, is obsessed with Weep and dreams of traveling across a dangerous desert to find it. Almost miraculously, the opportunity comes his way, and Taylor's story takes shape in Weep itself where, unbeknownst to humans, five "godspawn"-each with a special power-and the ghosts that serve them still endure, waiting to take revenge. While the pace is initially slow, momentum and tension build as love blossoms between two young people from warring factions, mysteries of identity develop, and critical events unfold in dreams, thanks to the gifts of a blue-skinned godspawn named Sarai. Gorgeously written in language simultaneously dark, lush, and enchanting, the book will leave readers eager for the next. Ages 15-up. Agent: Jane Putch, Eyebait Management. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Lazlo Strange is a foundling who has grown up alone and unloved, sustained only by his fantasies and stories of a city known as Weep. As an adult, Lazlo finds his way to the Great Library of Zosma and becomes a librarian, tasked with supporting scholars in their work. His fixation with Weep continues, and he searches for scraps of information about it and its inhabitants and even teaches himself its language from books in the library. Then Eril Fane, the liberator of Weep, pays a surprise visit to Zosma. Lazlo seizes the chance to join an expedition to the city he has dreamed of for so long, and he is caught up in an old conflict between Weep's mortal residents and blue godlike beings who had terrorized the city until Eril Fane slew them. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Weep, five children of these magical beings have survived and live in the giant seraph that hovers over the city, blocking the light. When Sarai, one of these Godspawn, visits Lazlo in his dreams, their growing relationship leads to the revelation of long-hidden secrets and opposition from other Godspawn, who desire revenge on mortals. This is the first in a pair of planned companion novels by the "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" author, and it has all the rich, evocative imagery and complex world-building typical of Taylor's best work. There is a mythological resonance to her tale of gods and mortals in conflict, as well as in Lazlo's character arc from unassuming, obsessed librarian to something much more. VERDICT This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.