Published by Hodder & Stoughton on October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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.
This review may contain minor spoilers for Strange the Dreamer. Check out my review for the first book here!
How do you follow up with such a phenomenal book such as Strange the Dreamer? Creating an equally phenomenal sequel, that’s how. Thankfully, Muse of Nightmares was as epic and awesome as the first book, and reading it definitely gave me goosebumps! The book is definitely worth the wait and all the hype, and I’m so thankful I got to read an early review copy.
It’s clear that Laini Taylor knows exactly who her audience is, as she provides exactly the answers that we are all asking at the end of the last book. What will become of the godspawn of the Weep? Where did their powers come from? Will they get the vengeance that they are seeking, and how does Lazlo and Thyon fit into their story? Having all of these explored in detail in Muse of Nightmares was so incredibly satisfying, as Laini Taylor leaves no loose end unturned.
She was a ghost and he was a god, and they kissed like they’d lost their dream and found it.
It was such a lavish experience delving straight into the fantastical world of Mesarthim, picking up exactly where it left off with the blue-skinned goddess Sarai, the librarian Lazlo Strange and the terrifying child-god of vengeance Minya. I loved the character development here for most of the godspawn, including Lazlo’s mysterious past and Minya’s traumatic memories. We find out more about their powers and I loved seeing them use them to their full potential. Minya’s development was one of my favourite things about this book, as we go from fearing her wrath to actually seeing where she is coming from – which is a lot to be send for a vengeful, powerful creature of wrath.
As Strange the Dreamer resulted in a sappy romance, there’s definitely more of the same here. I loved seeing different forms of love explored, whether it’s parental love, family love or the love shared between two people. Sometimes love is not what it seems though, especially the love between family members. In Muse of Nightmares, we see love that results in loss, sacrifice, fear, and of harbouring feelings of anger and resentment which had me feeling so many emotions.
“…If that’s what it means to be a hero, Sarai -” She bared her little milk teeth and snarled, “I’d rather be a monster.”
We are introduced to some new characters here including Nova and Kora, who are close sisters bargained off to the highest bidder. I loved the world that was so different to Weep and was fascinated in how they linked in to the overarching story. The novel switches between scenes happening in Weep, to flashbacks, to Nova and Kora, and also Thyon as well. I did find it a bit jumpy at times, especially as the action switched to these quieter moments of reflection and banter, but it got so intense I was glad to have a reprieve at times.
If you’re wondering whether Muse of Nightmares will live up to Strange the Dreamer, it will definitely exceed them and more. Featuring a fantastical world filled with magic and dreams with lyrical writing, lots of twists and turns and extremely epic action sequences, Muse of Nightmares is definitely one of the best books of 2018. It delivers a satisfying ending to the duology, leaving you wrecked as you turn its very last pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Content warnings: rape, child abduction, death, drugging and violence
Muse of Nightmares will be available upon release from Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99 or from The Book Depository.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a review copy!
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