You know that moment you read a book so exquisitely excellent you forget how to breathe?!
That would be me @ the Strange The Dreamer duology. I can’t even with how much I’m utterly obsessed with them! They exist to capture and devour your entire soul, your imagination, and spark in you such a sense of wonder. The scope of the worlds are so huge! The writing sheer magnificence. And the characters?!? I AM IN LOVE.
My creative well feels so full right now and my brain is just a continual line of !!!!!!!!!!!!! because how else can you summarise this series?!?
But ok this is a sequel (and a conclusion) but I promise NO SPOILERS. Or else they’ll be hidden! And you should definitely read my thoughts on book 1 (Strange The Dreamer) too!
Muse of Nightmares takes off only minutes after Strange the Dreamer ends.
Who needs to pause for breathe. No, you don’t. You get tossed back in with your heart in your mouth, watching everything unravel. May I just say the pacing was perfect?! This duology isn’t a “break neck speed action adventure” and for that I love it. Oh there are plenty of action scenes at the end. But it balances them with so much thoughts and feeling, explorations of ACTUAL OTHER DIMENSIONS AND UNIVERSES, and delicately crafted characters who just feel so so real.
It is gorgeous and balances the mysteries vs the highly emotional scenes vs the kissing vs the murder.
The characters are the LIGHT of my entire life.
My favourite thing is how the characters leap off the page and are so complex in such a short amount of time?! And they’re never solely “good” vs “bad”. There are very few villains here (except for really the worst of the Mesarthim gods, the rapists and torturers) but so many are: antagonists. And I can understand them. I feel for them. My heart BREAKS for them. But at the same time I want them to sToP.
QUICK OVERVIEW OF MY CHILDREN
★ LAZLO AND SARAI: Lazlo doesn’t feature quite as much in this one, as we’re more in Sarai’s head. I missed him a little? But there were so many perspectives to cover and he definitely wasn’t shunted aside in the story. I LOVE HIM SO. And Sarai…she is just so precious and valiant and good. Usually “good” characters annoy the heck out of me, but I love love love how Sarai wanted to change her ability of nightmares —> to basically being a psychologist who could get in your head and help you work through your breakdown. #Nice.
★ RUBY, SPARROW AND FERAL: They are such blueskinned powerful gods and goddesses…but also pure dorky teens. Lmao. I love them. Feral is clueless. Ruby is a bundle of raging hormones. Sparrow is soft and slightly dark. BLESS.
★ MINYA: I freaking love her ok. Everything she does is to protect the others. I can’t even. I love love love how she’s written. You could hate her, but then…I just couldn’t. She’s literally broken up and crippled with suffocating hate because shE COULDN’T SAVE ALL THE BABIES. My heart breaks for her.
★ THYRON NERO: He has almost the most perfect character arc in the history of ever. I’M SCREAMING. I actually am a little wroth that we didn’t get more Thyron time, ok?! He is a clueless Slytherin and maybe a heart of gold under his ambitious snarls. He and Calixte, Ruza and Tzara all develop a friendship (AND SAVE BOOKS TOGETHER) and bless them.
★ ERIL-FANE: I love this tortured damaged soul. I think he’s such a good representation of PTSD and I just ache for him but am also so proud of what he achieves!!
★ SUHEYLA: An actual queeeeeeen I love her so much and how she feeds everyone and wants to move past the hate.
CHARACTER SPOILER SECTION
We get answers to all the questions!
Okay not ALL. one thing I loved about this book is how it didn’t just expand the world — it blew it out of the freaking DIMENSION. This universe is so huge! (It references Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone too!) And it goes on indefinitely! I closed Muse of Nightmares knowing there was so so much more to this world, this universe, these adventures!! THIS MAGIC.
So book 1 is riddled with foreshadowing and it ties in so well here…we get to find out where the seraphim came from, who the blue-skinned gods are, why they were breeding babies, what else the gods can even do, what this means for Weep…
…oh and I KNOW WHAT WEEP’S TRUE NAME IS.
I also just adore the magic and how fervently and beautifully it’s crafted. Seriously the descriptions are lush and the world building is perfectly and extraordinarily magic. Is there writing I love as much as this?! I am besotted and cannot be made to stop.
One thing I always worry about with finales is: “Will this break me or be satisfying?”
And I’m proud that MUSE OF NIGHTMARES did both these things. It is satisfying, but it doesn’t shut doors. It is heartbreaking, but it doesn’t leave me disappointed. IT IS PERFECT IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY.
HOW IS IT SO PERFECT.
IT IS PERFECT.
Thank you to Hachette Australia for the ARC! Muse of Nightmares (Strange The Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor was published October 2018.
In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.