Muse of Nightmares
By Laini Taylor
Published October 2, 2018 by Little, Brown
Strange the Dreamer was one of my favorite books of 2017, and I was anxiously awaiting the sequel. I had extremely high hopes for Muse of Nightmares, and I’m happy to report that it’s every bit as good as the first book.
Muse picks up right where Strange left off: Lazlo now knows that he is a godspawn, Sarai is dead, and Minya holds Sarai’s soul in her hands, threatening to unmake her unless Lazlo helps her finally defeat the people of Weep. It’s a devastating position for Lazlo, as keeping Sarai’s soul intact may mean having to betray Eril-Fane and the Tizerkane, the people he’s come to regard as friends and really the only family he’s ever known.
Taylor is such a good writer. Her world-building is astounding. Every part of this complex system is so well thought out. At the beginning of the book, we meet two new characters, Nova and Kora, a pair of devoted sisters who seem to have some connection to the gods, although it’s not until well into the book that it begins to become clear. Every piece of the story fits together so well, and Weep feels like a real city, a place of both horror and wonder.
There are so many unforgettable characters in this series. Lazlo Strange, the underdog dreamer who turns out to be so much more than he could have ever imagined. Eril-Fane, the savior whose guilt is slowly tearing him apart. Azareen, whose love for Eril-Fane never wanes, even as pain threatens to consume her. Even the less noble characters are wonderfully multifaceted. Golden boy Thyon Nero actually begins to feel something other than entitlement. And then there’s Minya, the godspawn trapped in a child’s body, hell bent on revenge on the people of Weep. It’s tempting to see her as the villain of the story, but she’s so much more than that (and the true villain is Skathis, the long-dead god), and getting the chance to see inside her head makes her much more sympathetic (although still pretty terrifying).
There were a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the first book: Who are the gods? Where did they come from? Why did they take up residence over Weep? And the most disturbing question, what happened to all the other godspawn (the gods have been in Weep for 200 years, but there were only a small number of children left in the fortress when Weep was liberated)? Taylor skillfully handles all of these questions, and while this is a devastating book in many ways (a city that is still recovering from 200 years of sex slavery has a lot of baggage), it’s also beautiful and hopeful as well. There’s so much about family (both blood and found), revenge, redemption, and healing, and it’s a truly stunning book.
I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.