Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~14 hours. Read by Steve West. Ashland/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018. 9781549147319. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library. Own hardcover.)

Teen Tuesday features Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. This is book two of the duology that began with Strange the Dreamer. Teen readers absolutely must have read Strange the Dreamer to understand and appreciate Muse of Nightmares. Taylor's books are not for the faint of heart. They are long, layered and complex, feature intriguing otherworldly and human characters, gods and monsters, intricate worldbuilding, some humor, romance and a good deal of violence.

Muse of Nightmares picked up immediately after Stranger the Dreamer's breathtaking conclusion. Spoiler alert: Sarai is a ghost. Lazlo is a god. Minya is the only thing tethering Sarai to this world. She wants Lazlo to destroy Weep and do her bidding. If Lazlo does not, he loses Sarai. If he does, he loses everything. It is truly a no-win situation for all. 

Steve West's growly performance transported me right back to the citadel and all its mysteries. Some were unfolded near the end of Strange the Dreamer, others unfolded in book two and confused until it all came together in a rather stunning climax. I'm becoming a fan of duologies. I like getting to know characters and don't mind a cliffhanger if I know it'll all be resolved in the next book. Series that go on and on with cliffhanger after cliffhanger tend to lose steam and the cliffhanger no longer has the intensity it once had. Instead, it induces eye rolls and a grudging acceptance.*

West's pace was almost leisurely and he handles the many distinct voices seamlessly making the fourteen-plus hours of listening fly. 

I highly recommend both books for your mature readers of fantasy. I'm in a middle school and have them on my eighth grade only shelf. It's a rare younger teen with the stamina and maturity to tackle such books, but I do happily have a few and am happy to have Laini Taylor's books to hand to them. 

*Last summer I read a book with my ears that I thought was the end of the series. As I approached the final disc, I realized that a lot of action was still happening and there was very little time for resolution. I sighed and sort of switched to auto-pilot listening through the last disc in resignation as I prepared to cliff hang for the next and hopefully final installment. 

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