Muse of Nightmares

Please note that this is a spoiler-free review for Muse of Nightmares. However, there are some spoilers for Strange the Dreamer which were hard to avoid as I was writing this review. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out my review for Strange the Dreamer.

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

The Characters

I loved the depth and dimension in each of the characters in the book. Sarai had to adapt to her new identity as a ghost rather than a person. On the other hand, Lazlo was learning more about his powers as a god and becoming acquainted with the other godspawn who lived in the citadel. I was happy to see more of Lazlo and Sarai’s relationship in Muse of Nightmares.

As much as I enjoyed seeing more of Lazlo and Sarai, I also loved the secondary characters in this novel. One of my favourites was Minya, forever trapped in a 6-year-old body. She had the ability to hang onto ghosts of the dead, which granted her extraordinary power but also weighed her down. Minya’s character arc unfolded in this novel as we learned more about her past. Another remarkable character was Eril-Fane, celebrated by the people of Weep as a hero, but hated by the godspawn who saw him as an enemy. In this book, he became human as the story about his past was revealed. I was also introduced to a pair of new characters, Kora and Nova, who dreamed of escaping their miserable lives and of being selected to be gods. Although their lives seemed far away from that of Sarai and her crew, their story was intertwined with the history of Weep. Of course there were also glimpses of Ruby, Sparrow and Feral, who had such personality and were a joy to read about.

The Plot and Pacing

In this sequel, Minya devised a plan to destroy Weep to avenge for the murders of the gods years ago. As the story unfolded, I learned about the history behind the conflict between the people of Weep and the godspawn who lived in the citadel. I loved that the novel explored the perspectives of both sides: the gods and the people of Weep had each afflicted violence upon each other, and neither was in the right or wrong, but hatred was passed on from generation to generation. Even though this novel took place in an imaginary fantasy setting, I liked that this theme is relevant in the present day.

Another aspect that I loved was that there were hints that this world connected with that of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I guess this means there are more stories to come in this world!??! (Which would be awesome 🙂 )

The Writing

The worldbuilding was fantastic. I liked that there was not only one but multiple worlds in this series, and it seemed that each was full of stories. I loved that the settings described in this novel have their own culture, language, food, and history. It felt like we were only catching a small glimpse of a very intricately woven world which made me all the more curious about it.

So… I had mentioned in my reviews of Strange the Dreamer and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series that I wasn’t not a fan of Laini Taylor’s writing. Now after reading 5 books by this writer… I am officially converted. In general I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the world, and the brilliant way that this author described characters and their emotions.

When I reviewed Strange the Dreamer, I also mentioned that I wasn’t fond of the omnipresent narrator. I still can’t say that I enjoy this narration style since it tends to feel more distant than first person or third person limited, however I felt that the omnipresent narrator was essential in telling the story here. First of all, the scope of this series was huge. It spanned generations into the past and even different worlds. Secondly, there were so many characters who had complex stories and emotions. It would be impossible for readers to get to know all the characters and all the stories unless we have an omnipresent narrator.

I read half of the novel in eBook format and listened to the other half as an audiobook. I thought the audiobook narration was… okay. The dialogues were a bit overplayed for my taste to a point that was distracting.

Pssst…. Now that I’ve finished this sequel, I’m wondering if this is the finale or is there more to come? For some reason, I thought Strange the Dreamer was going to be a trilogy, but things seemed pretty wrapped up in Muse of Nightmares so I am not so sure. (Does anyone know the answer!? Tell me please!!!)

The Bottom Line: 4/5 Stars!

I really enjoyed Muse of Nightmares because of the fascinating characters and boundless, magical world that they exist in. If you loved fantasy novels and enjoyed Strange the Dreamer, you will not be disappointed in the sequel!

Did you read this book (or are you planning to?) What are your thoughts about omnipresent narrators?

12 thoughts on “Muse of Nightmares

  1. tasya @ the literary huntress says:

    Great review Sophie! I always love Eril Fane and Thyon Nero, so I’m pretty excited to learn more about them in this book! Also, it’s connected to DoSaB? I didn’t realize it! As far as I know, it’s supposed to be a duology but we’ll never know, maybe she’ll write more books in the same universe 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Yes!!! It is connected to DoSaB, although this isn’t apparent until the sequel 🙂 For some reason I was thinking that this was going to be a trilogy….. up until I got to the last chapter hahahah, which got me thinking that it is more of a duology. I definitely get the sense that there is SO much more stories to come from this universe though 🙂 Hope that you will enjoy Muse of Nightmares Tasya!!

      Like

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book Sophie, and that it converted you to a lover of Laini Taylor’s writing! 🙂 Muse of Nightmares was a favourite read of mine from 2018, like you I loved seeing how the world connected to Daughter of Smoke and Bone (hopefully we’ll get more interconnected worlds in books to come). Also I really loved the development of the characters, they all went so far in this book in so many ways. Sometimes I find that characters introduced later don’t get the same level of development but that wasn’t the case with Kora and Nova, their story broke my heart into pieces.
    I do think Strange the Dreamer is just a duology, though I would love to see more books featuring these characters, but at least you can say it ended on a high for you right?!
    Great review, and again I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Beth!!!
      Yeah it took me a while to appreciate Laini Taylor’s writing but now I can officially declare myself a fan. Now her word choices amaze me 🙂 Maybe my tastes in books have also changed a bit haha.
      I definitely get the sense that this universe is full of many more stories, so I am not surprised if we have more novels/series that takes place in this universe.
      Yeah I loved Kora and Nova. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how their story connected with the novel as a whole, though I did get the sense that it would end tragically. It was really a beautiful story 🙂 I loved that the characters who appeared in this novel were multi-dimensional, and there were no real bad guys (other than maybe Skathis haha.)
      It makes sense that this is a duology since the plot points are all resolved, although I would also love to see some of the characters reappear in future novels 🙂
      Thank you Beth ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Better late than never I guess. And I’ve had that, sometimes it’s only looking back years that you can see your reading tastes evolve sometimes it’s just looking back overt a couple of months or so.
        There are so many worlds that have been set up in these two series, I’m kind of really excited to see where Taylor does take us next. She did something like that in the last book of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy as well, with Eliza right (not sure if that’s her actual name). There’s always a connection somewhere.
        Maybe one day, personally I’m still hoping we get more from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone characters. 😀
        That’s all right. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Before I used to like more simple, straightforward storytelling but now I appreciate more descriptive prose like in Laini Taylor’s style 🙂
        Yes!!! I’m wondering if the next novel/series by this author would involve maybe another world that is in the same universe. Yes I remember Eliza from the DoSoB trilogy (I think that is her name!)
        Yeah I would love to see more of Karou. I’m not too big of a fan of Akiva though I love Zuzanna and Mik 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you liked this book! I personally didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Strange the Dreamer, but it was definitely an EPIC book, and you’re right that the worldbuilding was just incredible. I also love Minya’s character! And as far as I know, it’s only a duology, so this one should be the last in the series? At least, that’s what I’ve heard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Margaret 🙂
      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this as much as Strange the Dreamer! In general, I enjoyed this sequel although at points it was hard to wrap my head around all the characters and what happened between them. It was truly epic, and the worldbuilding was wonderful.
      Yes, everyone is telling me that this is a duology so that sounds about right! I’m hoping that there will be more stories coming from this universe though 🙂

      Like

  4. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts) says:

    Ooooo, that’s interesting to hear the world in her debut series is somewhat connected to the world of Strange the Dreamer! I’m definitely not a huge fan of Laini Taylor’s writing… (okay, it’s beautiful, but it’s a little too much for my taste, haha) considering how I ended up DNFing the first book (we’re gonna try audio version one day, though). Most people say this is a duology though for some reason I’ve always thought of the series to be a trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Sophia! Yeah it took me a while to get used to Laini Taylor’s very descriptive style of prose. Audiobooks tend to be a different experience so maybe you will like it more 🙂
      You are right that this is a duology (which is what I’m hearing from everyone as well) though I had always thought it was going to be a trilogy 🙂

      Like

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