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The Muse of Nightmares by Liani Taylor

My reading year commenced with this wonderful, heart-achingly lovely book. It took me so long to read and not only because I worked over Xmas New Year (see previous post) but because I wanted to savour every single word and delay the gratification of finishing the novel for as long as I possibly could. With good reason. Now it’s over, I am bereft.

The sequel to the evocative, poetic and enthralling (I know I am using hyperbole, but believe me, these books deserve it) Strange, the Dreamer, The Muse of Nightmares continues exactly where that novel reached its heart-in-throat conclusion.

I refuse to reveal any spoilers except to say that the tale of Lazlo Strange, Sarai and the other godspawn as well as the denizens of Weep is far from over. When Muse begins, turning what appeared to be tragedy into something more bearable, another terrible situation posing grave danger to all Sarai and Lazlo know and love surfaces.

Forced into actions that cause them and others consternation and pain, Lazlo, Sarai are forced to make deals with the enemy as they seek a solution that will not only save the city but themselves. Just when they think they have opened the lines of communication, another force arrives the threaten them. This is a force that has not only travelled across worlds to find them, but quite literally torn them apart and is bent on a bloody and terrible revenge. Nothing, not even the formidable powers of the godspawn or strength of the Tizerkane can stop it, not without making a terrible sacrifice.

Who or what will survive this latest threat hangs by the merest of threads as do the lives of those we’ve grown to know and love. Unable to prevent catastrophe or reason with a mind destroyed by pain and loss, Sarai and Lazlo have no choice but to risk everything, including each other. But even then, will it be enough to save those they love?

Just when you thought the world containing Weep, the godspawn, Seraphim, Tizerkane and the ugliness and cruelty of the gods as well as they gentle beauty of Sarai and Lazlo’s love could not be any more enchanting or action-packed, there’s this book. Page-turning, heart-churning and utterly captivating, Taylor brings her characters, their mystery and terrifying allure to life as only she can.

This story of gods, god-monsters, and the monstrous and wonderful humans who fear and loathe them, grabs the reader by both throat and heart and squeezes. With each page, you are pulled into their impossible reality and taken on a journey like no other. Taylor’s world building is sublime the way she develops her characters, explains their motivation, explores their thoughts and feelings is magnificent.

If you love beautiful stories told with the delicate and dreamy touch of a master story-teller, then this is a tale for you. My only regret, as I knew it would be, is that I have now finished. I hope Liani Taylor writes another one very soon.

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