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.
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 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!