Muse of Nightmares
by Laini Taylor
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
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?
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
“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.”
I don’t think any review I write will ever describe the magical quality of this book adequately. It’s just… so fantastical in the scope of imagination and storytelling, Laini Taylor is definitely one of the best writer out there. Her writing is just so detailed and evocative, you can see the landscape and the inner turmoil of the characters instead of just feeling them. And believe me, there’s a lot of feelings involved in this book.
Muse of Nightmares start immediately in the aftermath of events in Strange the Dreamer. I admit, I already forgot what happened at the end of book 1 that it took me a while to remember (I’m not even sure I remember it all tbh) but I find the story still easy to follow. One thing I hate about Dreams of Gods and Monsters was how a new major storyline was introduced out of nowhere in that book, even though we already have quite a number of plot going on. Muse did the same thing, there’s a new character and storyline introduced, but I felt that they were better planned and the story weaved seamlessly with the major arc of the book. It doesn’t overshadow the main couple and the conflict our characters faced, instead they are answering existing questions without raising new ones. The addition of the new storyline helped solve the conflict in a very satisfying way.
Remember when I talked about the writing and feelings? There are a lot in this book. There is, of course, the grief and anger Lazlo and Sarai had over losing each other and predictably, Minya’s anger. But there’s also tenderness in how Lazlo and Sarai loved each other and relieving banter between Feral and Ruby. We got Thyon Nero’s shame, guilt, and excitement, as well as yearning between Azareen and Eril-Fane. While it can seem intimidating, this book just merged the story and scenes really well from one another. It’s magical in its own right, really.
I love the hint of continuation this book has with Smoke and Bone trilogy. The obvious, of course, the whole seraph’s journey but there’s mention of Eretz and Earth too (sadly, no cameo). This makes me wonder whether we will be getting an assemble story sometime in the future, which I’m super excited for!
Overall, Muse of Nightmares is the perfect and satisfying conclusion to the magical story of Lazlo and Sarai. It is full of love and hope, expansive storytelling, and lush landscape. If you’re looking to be transported to another world, this duology is perfect for you.