Book: Muse of Nightmares
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2018
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 Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
Narrator: Steve West
Length: ~16 hours
Listening speed: 1.5x
(TL;DR: Unpopular opinion, I think it was messy fan-service that I was extremely disappointed by)
If you follow me on Goodreads or Instagram, you’ll know just how much of a struggle reading this book was. I started it first thing on Monday and it just could not make it through. That never happens to me. This is going to be all unpopular opinions so please take all of the following criticisms with a grain of salt. I wanted to like this and I’m glad you did/will if you’ve read it. But here are my issues:
It started off really rough. The first chapter introduced all new characters, and it’s unclear from the beginning when it’s supposed to have taken place. So from the start, I couldn’t really jump right back into the story from the cliffhanger like I wanted to. Wehn we finally got back to Lazlo and company, the narrative/perspectives seemed to have changed style from the first book/I just don’t remember it clearly enough. With everyone talking in the same scenes, it was really jarring when the perspectives would change. You’d be in Lazlo’s head but then all of a sudden you’d be hearing about Minya’s motivations, then in Sirai’s. It was a lot of messy back and forth rather than neat sections focused on one person. This didn’t really continue for the rest of the book, but it’s what made the beginning so slow because I had to keep restarting to keep the story straight.
Now I don’t want to give spoilers for any of rest, so I’ll talk more broadly. My main problem is this felt like poorly done fan service. Laini Taylor knew everyone was expecting a lot out of this sequel. We needed backstory, we need resolution, we needed more Lazlo-Sirai personal time. We got all that, and it was too much. This felt like 3 books shoved into one. The backstory takes over the plot and expands the world in a way that doesn’t fit the book.
We could’ve had a quieter, more streamlined plot that dealt with characters we already knew and really examined everyone’s motivations rather than introducing all these new plot lines/crazy explanations/weird tonal shifts/and obvious set up for followup books. The development we got of Minya’s morally-gray character was excellent, so why in the world did we need an extra enemy to deal with?
I’ve seen rave reviews saying “Forget all your expectations, because this book will deliver all of that and so much more.” But to me, that feels, lazy (?) in a way? If your readers couldn’t have possibly known what would be in the second book, that doesn’t mean it was an excellent twist. It means you were missing the foundations and foreshadowing you needed in the first book.