Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares by Laini TaylorMuse of Nightmares
Laini Taylor
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published on October 2, 2018

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About Muse of Nightmares
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 Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

My Review
My favorite thing about Muse of Nightmares was watching the way all the side stories and history of what seemed like peripheral characters came together. I loved the redemptive moments especially. No spoilers! Just know that there are several characters who have great moments where they rise above their emotional baggage and they’re all fantastic.

I’m a huge fan of sister stories, so I loved that Muse of Nightmares begins with a sister story. It took me a really long time to figure out the way Kora connected to Lazlo and Sarai’s stories, but once I did, I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough. So much emotion and such high stakes! I loved it.

Like Strange the Dreamer, this book has a more mature tone that makes it feel less like a young adult novel. Lazlo and Sarai are both young (okay, I think Lazlo is twenty maybe?) but their issues and their behavior make them feel much more like adults than teens. Still, I really enjoyed the story and the rich story world.

Strange the Dreamer on Amazon
Recommended for Ages
16 up.

Cultural Elements
Since this is a fantasy, there are made up races and ethnicities. The story begins in a more temperate climate with a brown-skinned people and progresses to a desert climate of brown-skinned people. A separate race of gods have blue skin. A couple of characters have blond hair and pale skin and are from a cold (think Scandinavian) place.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Some very sensual scenes showing kissing and touching between girl and boy. Two female characters also have a relationship and share sleeping space. Two male characters begin to feel some attraction toward one another. One culture views gay relationships as wrong, but the other (the culture where the story takes place) accepts all different kinds of relationships. There are some references to sex and some nudity. No descriptions of sex itself, but some descriptions of activities leading up to it.
In the past, the gods took human slaves and used them to bear their children. No descriptions of rape, but obviously the survivors bear some trauma from the experience, and there are some references to what happened, like a man overhearing his wife screaming.

Spiritual Content
A blue race of humans have magical abilities (one specific ability each) and call themselves gods. Muse of Nightmares explores the history of the gods – where they came from and how they came to be in Lazlo’s world.
Ghosts remain in the world while they’re under the control of a powerful goddess.

Violent Content
Ghosts attack a group of humans.
Sarai relives some old memories, including one in which she steps over the dead bodies of two women and sees a lot of blood on them and on an ally’s hands.

Drug Content
Some references to drinking alcohol.

TITLE on Goodreads

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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