Are There Lesbians? Yes
A new, all-encompassing love story from the author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Strange the Dreamer is first and foremost the story of a dreamer and a dream. Orphan Monk-turned-Librarian Lazlo Strange has spent his entire life dreaming of the fabled city of Weep. When his dreams turn to reality in the form of a man known as “Godslayer” and his cohort, Strange will begin to unravel mysteries many never even considered.
What can I say about this book other than Laini Taylor has me hook line and sinker! It completely lives up to the rich world and characters that she has in her previous series – Daughter of Smoke and Bone. If anything, the novel is even better, embellished with the bright images of a dream world disconnected from our own universe.
A few spoilers below the cut, but nothing too telling!
There are lesbians, yes, and their relationship is explicitly a wlw one – there was no having to read into furtive glances here! Unfortunately, given how well Laini Taylor writes romance, theirs is not the main story. Hopefully we will get to see more of these two women and get to watch their bi-racial romance grow, because if previous books are anything to go by, Taylor likes to make sure everyone gets a damn good romance plot. Depending on the novel this can end up being a bit annoying (JK Rowling I’m looking at you) but the way she writes these romances is well… breathtaking. They’re sweet and complicated and wonderful. The main romance of Strange the Dreamer, between the eponymous Lazlo Strange and the godling Sarai is the sweetest most goddamn romantic thing you ever saw and I do not have the words to describe how much I loved it. It’s brilliant.
On a less savoury, but no less necessary topic – there is a good deal of abuse mentioned in this novel and at least two of the major characters are rape survivors. One of these characters is male. We get to see the way different people respond to similar situations and how, even once that situation has been overcome, it still leaves a lasting scar. It is this idea of shared trauma which forms the background to the main plot – it becomes the reason why many characters act as they do, why they are in the situations they are in. Ultimately it becomes a life-or-death question when it must be decided whether the sins of the few are enough to condemn the whole.
There’s not really much more I can say about Strange the Dreamer without spoiling each and every part, and I really don’t want to do that. It’s a book of discovering wonderful things and I don’t want to do all the hard work for everyone when the hard work is the best part.
We are given questions and some of them are answered, some of them we only find out are more important than others. Ultimately the most important question is left unanswered, although its answer is hinted at, and we must await the next book to find out.
All I can say is that this is a book so wonderful that if you’re anything like me you’ll be sincerely hoping that what you think is going to happen wont, and be completely in thrall, unable to put it down until you turn the very last, tear-stained page.
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review