I’ve had the pleasure of being contacted by Hodder & Stoughton about Laini Taylor’s new book, Strange the Dreamer. For people not so familiar with Taylor’s work, she wrote the bestselling series Daughter of Smoke and Bone! So with great excitement, the cover and prologue are being revealed today!
Personally, I’m really looking forward to it. It has a librarian as a main character, and the mystery and intrigue surrounding it is keeping me on my toes. In case you haven’t seen the short description we’ve gotten, here it is:
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperilled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
My thoughts: I really love covers that make me go ‘ooooh’ like the little green aliens in Toy Story. And these covers definitely do! Personally I prefer the brightness of the US version (right), but they both make use of a wonderful colour scheme and really give off a magical and fantastical vibe. Like the short description suggests, moths definitely play a part in this story. They’re both stunning covers, and I think they would look amazing on anyone’s bookcase!
On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.
Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.
That was true. Only that.
They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.
Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.
She was also blue.
Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.
The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.
And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.
I absolutely love her style of writing. Its rich and it just feels like you’re swimming through warm water. The opening event of the prologue is stark and vibrant and I can’t wait to find out what it means. Whether or not the ‘blue’ of the girl means she’s descended from the Gods is yet to be seen, but within a short amount of words, Laini Taylor manages to make a whole new world for us to explore. I personally can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
From the look and feel of this novel, it seems sure to be an exciting fantasy-filled story. With the excitement and hype around the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Taylor will undoubtedly have a lot to live up to, but it looks like her next novel is due to be a great one. It’s definitely going on my to-read list, and I can’t wait for it to come out! From doing a bit of reading, it’s the first of a two-part series, so there’s a sequel to look forward to as well. Roll on September!
Again, thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton for contacting me!
Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016, and I can’t wait.