Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018
Hardcover. 514 pages.

About Muse of Nightmares:

"'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. 

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?"

I absolutely loved Strange the Dreamer, so Muse of Nightmares was easily one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. Of course, I also worried about how this could possibly live up to the beauty of Strange the Dreamer.... and I now feel so ashamed for ever doubting Laini Taylor because this was truly phenomenal. This book is also one of the reasons that I don't do my 'best of' list until the last week of December, because this is definitely going to be on it. 

Also--just as a head's up before going in, I don't plan on going into too much plot detail, but this is a sequel so if you haven't read Strange the Dreamer there may be some soft spoilers within--beware!

Muse of Nightmares picks up pretty much right after the cliffhanger that was the ending of Strange the Dreamer and we are immediately thrown back into everything, which I appreciated because I was desperate to know how things would work out. I think my favorite things about this book is Taylor's balance of action and non-action scenes. This isn't really what I would consider a fast-paced, high-action story, yet I couldn't turn those pages fast enough. There are some more fast-paced scenes, but there's also much that focuses on other components and really adds a nice balance to the pacing. If you didn't like the slower pace as much in Strange the Dreamer, then you will probably like this one a bit more because there is not quite as much meandering as the first book had, but it still has Taylor's vivid writing that breathes life into each page.

Although we spend plenty of time in Lazlo's head, this book does branch out a bit more and we seem to spend more time in Sara's head (which is why I assume this one is titled Muse of Nightmares), as well as some in Minya's and Thyon's, and a few others. Lazlo is still perfectly adorable and innocent, as well as passionate about what he knows he wants, and Sarai is still determined and as selfless as Lazlo. These two are beautiful together and I'm not sure the last time I rooted for two people are much as I did for these two.

As much as I love the worldbuilding of this duology, the rest of the characters are easily one of my other favorite components. They are all such an eclectic, mixed variety of people that bring so much life and enjoyment to the story. Some of our favorite supporting cast return such as Eril-Fane, Tizerkane, Ruza, Thyon, Feral, Ruby, Sparrow, Calixte, and so many more. Thyon and Minya were two that had rather prominent roles in this installment, and I loved how Taylor portrayed their personalities and sentiments. Both undergo momentous changes throughout this book, some of which were initiated in the first book, and Taylor did this in an understandable and steady pace. She didn't make either character undergo unnecessary changes or have abnormally quick changes of heart, but she instead made it a gradual process that makes sense. I particularly liked that we got know more about Minya's backstory and why she is the way she is now, as it shed so much like on the general backdrop of the plot as well.

In addition to our beloved returning characters, we also meet two new characters, Kova and Nova. I don't really want to tell you how we know these characters or why they are important, but they end up being pivotal to the events of Muse of Nightmares and I found they added a really interesting dynamic and storyline. 

I really can't go into detail about the major plot twist (?) direction this story took, but my god was I not expecting this book to go in the direction it did! As soon as I realized what might be happening, I was so blown away and impressed by what Taylor made this book. It's brilliant and truly momentous and I am still excited just thinking about it. I definitely plan to re-read Strange the Dreamer sometime in the semi-near future to see what I can pick up in that book that may have hinted at what happened in this book. 

I desperately need more from this world and these characters. I have so many new questions that I want to explore and I will sacrifice anything (and look, I'm willing to make my morals a little grey, so honestly, anything) needed in order to get more from Taylor. It's not that things aren't wrapped up, because they definitely are; Taylor answers all of the main plot questions and wraps up everything we've wondered, but because of what happens and how big this world gets, there's just so much more that my imagination wants to explore. 

Overall, I've given Muse of Nightmares a well-deserved five stars. I honestly can't put into words how much I have loved this duology. I just love these books.

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository


  1. I still need to write my review for this book but I completely agree with your high rating. The story really blew me away!