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BOOK REVIEW: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

| 21 February 2019 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Hodder & Stoughton
October 2018
Paperback, $19.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Young Adult / Fantasy



If you have not read Strange the Dreamer, please stop reading and go check out the linked review/grab yourself a copy of the first book.

— SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 (Strange the Dreamer) AHEAD —



Once upon a time, a sister made a vow she didn’t know how to break, and it broke her instead.
Once upon a time, a girl did the impossible, but she did it just a little too late.

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.

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.

This was what Minya knew: Have an enemy, be an enemy. Hate those who hate you. Hate them better. Hate them worse. Be the monster they fear the most. And whenever you can, and however you can, make them suffer.
The feeling welled up in her so swiftly. If she’d had fangs they’d be beaded with venom and ready to bite.

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 astonishing and heart-stopping sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.


The will-they-or-won’t-they (can-they-or-can’t-they?) question that began in Strange the Dreamer continues here, and it must be said that at times this can be a somewhat frustrating journey. But this is the only real complaint this reluctant fantasy reader has about this 514 page fantasy sequel.

When this push and pull between Lazlo and Sarai (and Minya) isn’t front and center, Taylor is delivering more background as to who the Mesarthim are and where they come from, and taking readers along on an engaging ride through the amazingly well built universe we only got a glimpse of in the first book.

This was the gift that children dreamed of, playing Servants in the village, and it was the one they were whispering about now, flushed and eager, saying what their own ships would be when they got their commands: winged sharks and airborne snakes, metal raptors and demons and rays. Some named less menacing things: songbirds and dragonflies and mermaids. 
Aoki, one of Kora and Nova’s little half brothers, declared that his would be a butt.
“The door will be the hole,” he piped, pointing around at his own.
“Dear Thakra, don’t let Aoki be a smith,” whispered Kora, invoking the seraph Faerer to whom they prayed in their little rock church.
Nova muffled a laugh. “A butt warship would be terrifying,” she said. 

As well as the characters we know and love from the first book.

Thyon Nero was late awakening to the understanding that other people are living lives, too. He knew it, of course, intellectually, but it had never much impressed him. They had always been minor players in a drama about him, their stories mere subplots woven around his own, and it floored him to experience a sudden shift—as though a script had been shuffled and he’d been handed the wrong pages.

And some new ones we’re bound to adore.

There comes a certain point with a hope or a dream, when you either give it up or give up everything else. And if you choose the dream, if you keep on going, then you can never quit, because it’s all you are. Nova had made that choice a long time ago. She was so far down this path that to turn around would be to face a howling, dark tunnel with nothing at its end, not even ice or uuls. There was no going back.

Laini Taylor does it again in this epic masterpiece of love, revenge, magic, and loyalty, of blue-skinned gods, and metal that can move with thought, and of more worlds than the one we have come to expect.

I will eagerly devour anything Laini releases, and I think it’s high time for me to journey into her back catalogue with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Do yourself a favour and go on this journey with Lazlo Strange.



Category: Book Reviews

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