Muse of Nightmares

(Strange the Dreamer #2)

by Laini Taylor

I feel like most of the heavy-lifting plotwise and creation of the incredible characters, as well as the highly angsty emotional foundation of the stories greatest tragedy was done in the first book. I really, really liked the first book.

And the characters seem like ghosts of themselves in this book (if you’ve read the first book then you know I mean literally in Sarai’s case, and for the others we barely get Laszlo at all and the others are changed so greatly it barely feels like the same group.)

The writing is still lovely, but the story revolves mostly about Nova, one of a pair of gifted half-mesarthim sisters, one of who became the notorious Kora that Minya remembers stole godspawn from the nursery before the godslayer killed them all. Nova was on a cross-worlds search for her sister, and becomes a terrifying enemy to our group of Tizerkane warriors, farangi craftspeople, and godspawn leftovers living in the Seraph Citadel.

And while sad and terrifying and lovely, Nova’s story wasn’t what brought me to this book. It was Sarai, Laszlo, and the rest of them who while trying to save themselves still are featured in the story (especially Sarai and Minya get their big moments) but really it was about Nova. So I was disappointed about the passivity of the rest.

Everyone gets their ending, and I think folks will not be displeased the way things worked out. There’s also some lovely meta-referencing of Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone world, etc. that was fun. But I probably should have stopped at the first book in this duology despite the cliffhanger.