Saturday, October 13, 2018

Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series: Stranger the Dreamer #2 
Author: Laini Taylor 
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Format: Hardback
Page Count: 528


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 Times bestseller,
Strange the Dreamer. (taken from

When I say I adored Strange the Dreamer, I'm not exaggerating. I told tons of people about it, even if they weren't readers and I knew they wouldn't care. I saved quotes on my phone and daydreamed about Lazlo and Sarai, and I re-read my favorite passages over and over again.

That's why I'm quite disappointed by how little I cared for Muse of Nightmares.

Don't get me wrong: Laini Taylor is still an incredible writer and storyteller, but this sequel just wasn't what I hoped it would be. Let me explain.

What made Strange the Dreamer so magical was its mystery. Just as Lazlo and the other characters are making discoveries, so are the readers. What happened to Weep? Who are the blue-skinned gods? What memories haunt those who dwell in the city? These questions captivated me, and in some ways, I loved not getting all the answers. It kept the magic alive.

On the other hand, Muse of Nightmares gives you ALL the answers. I felt like a kid at Christmas who just found out mom and dad put the presents under the tree, not Santa. I missed that sense of wonder and awe as Taylor unraveled every question we ever had about the godspawn. I truly wish she had left some things unsaid instead of giving us such a clear picture.

Plus, she gives us so many new details to ponder. She opens whole worlds of plotlines and characters, and I feel that she rushed through them in an effort to explain the backstory of Strange the Dreamer.

I felt confused and saddened by the changes she wrought on her original tale, and it made me wish that she had tied things up at the end of Strange the Dreamer instead of writing the second book.

Still, if you adored Strange the Dreamer as I did, this book is probably worth reading. You'll still get to spend time with some of your favorite characters, and Taylor's words are as beautiful as ever. Just don't expect the plot to wow you as much as the first book's did.