Strange the Dreamer made my mind race and churn out speculations a mile a minute! That book is directly responsible for inspiring my new feature!! What if no one has read the book?! What if they don’t want to talk spoilers?! (Stop worrying me with these questions! Please…) All I can say is I’m taking the leap because I am genuinely curious what other readers think about the spoilers I’m going to talk about…
Tea Party Gossip is a new feature where I talk spoilers after reviewing a book. These thoughts can be about things I love or am confused about or curious… or even a mix of all three! It can be about characters, themes, plot points, villains, how I related to the characters, writing techniques, the sky is the limit! I want to discuss them in depth and get other readers opinions too!
Eril-Fane = Anakin Skywalker
Uh… since this is called talking spoilers I will just steam ahead, but if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode III – there is a spoiler ahead… One of the major events in making Anakin Skywalker Darth Vader is when he murders a school of young children training to be Jedi. They were strangers to him yet he was so messed up from killing them he was Darth Vader for decades stewing in his own evil juices.
Eril-Fane murders a nursery full of children who were the offspring of people he knew. In fact it can be said that he knew the parents of every child. He even thought he killed his own child… Yet for all that he was just feeling conflicted? He didn’t get attacked by those children nor did he know if they had powers or if those powers were dangerous. He didn’t even consider teaching them right from wrong, or that their human half may overwhelm their Mesarthim half. The Mesarthim never raised any of the children to teenage or older nor made them overlords to the humans. In point of fact there was NO REASON to kill the kids!!
It felt like this slaughter was contrived to supply a legitimate reason for Minya to feel wrathful and and to supply Sarai with her own mess of conflicted feelings about her parentage. I’m not saying that Eril-Fane shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have killed the children if a good enough reason was supplied! Characters are like real human beings in that they only act for a reason!! Do you see the parallel to Anakin in Strange the Dreamer? Was it really a brave thing Eril-Fane did living with innocent blood on his hands?
The Mesarthim are Cruel
The Mesarthim themselves were a deeply intriguing aspect of Strange the Dreamer for me. They seem to be aliens who came to this city because they needed a breeding farm. Lazlo believed (like I did) that the births were systematic. Minya also supported this idea when she shared her fears of her parent learning of her nameless ability. She hid her skill with ghosts because she said she knows those with certain abilities are taken away. (Leaving behind the more useless abilities?) And we learn that Lazlo was one of these children!
Understanding the natures of the Mesarthim would have been easier if we had been able to experience some of what Eril-Fane experienced. Seen it first hand if you will… through a nightmare and his internal conflict. From what we were told I can see that the people would want to rise up from under their oppressors… any slaves would do that. Pharaoh was a greedy religious nutter who needed his slaves to build his tomb, motivation obvious but I don’t think he was cruel about it at all so much as indifferent…
I don’t see why the Mesarthim were so black and white evil? I’m not saying that I object to it but that most beings are in more of a gray area and in fact most villains today are written as grey… so why? Why were they so cruel? (I suppose I will get that answer in The Muse of Nightmares!)
Is it weird that in Strange the Dreamer I felt oddly more sympathetic toward the evil gods than I did the enslaved people…?
The Nightmare of Moths
(I saved the best for last…) I loved Sarai’s moths in Strange the Dreamer! At night her consciousness takes the form of purple moths that when they touch humans can allow her access to their dreams. No one sees her, no one knows she messes with their dreams… At first she gave them nightmares and now she keeps the godspawn hidden by causing a fear of the citadel. How totally fascinating! I’m sure this was a favorite of many…
When Lazlo comes on the scene he ends up being an even more powerful dreamer than Sarai! His Weep is rich a fascinating with mythological man beasts and colorful crafts and foods. He’s able to penetrate Sarai’s invisibility and she totally digs him from that moment on… While they are together in a dream they experience a storm where their bodies can be changed to monsters…
“And they gazed at themselves in it, side by side and hand in hand, and they beheld neither gods nor monsters. They were so nearly unchanged, and yet that one thing – the color of their skin – would, in the real world, change everything.”
Sorry for the ramble but there were beautiful elements here… for example, her ability to experience so much more life than the other godspawn got to enjoy. It was torture for her but also gave Sarai purpose and strength. At the same time she was keenly aware of her blue color and we see personified in her dream experience with Lazlo that she simply wishes to be normal. Whenever her moths dies I winced inside… I know she says they return no matter what she does, but do you think she loses a part of herself when that happens? Can you imagine having those moths go up and down your throat? I cannot!
On a realistic / negative note Sarai was a drug addict. She took lull to drown out her dreams… do you think that was necessary for her to cope? Minya certainly tried to use it against her later… but was this added as a contrivance so that she would have leverage? Sarai didn’t seem like she went through withdrawals that much so much as sleep deprivation…
How do you feel about Laini Taylor?
Were the Mesarthim intriguing to you?
Did you relate to Eril-Fane’s murders?
Are Sarai’s moths something you would want?
Thanks for reading XOXO
If you missed it, check out my review of Strange the Dreamer!!