A Masterpiece of Story and Literature
Lazlo Strange is a war orphan, born without a name and raised without any sympathy for his plight—or for his vast imagination. But as he is playing in the orchard one day, pretending to be a famous Tizerkane warrior of… of… of where? The very name of the mystical city that lies across the desert is suddenly erased from his mind.
Erased from everyone’s mind, as it turns out. But what sort of magic could steal a name? Most people don’t even seem interested in the question, but Lazlo is determined to find out. And his quest leads him on one of the greatest adventures it has ever been our pleasure to read.
Lazlo is, in our opinion, one of the most sympathetic characters ever to grace the written page. The supporting cast is wonderfully rich, the dialog is so natural that you will believe every single word, and the story itself is a multi-layered masterpiece. But the writing… oh, the writing!
The writing is literature—lyrical and elegant. It rises from the page and envelops you in a world of art and mystery and magic. The vocabulary is advanced for a young adult novel, but it is never stilted. It flows… in as many senses of that word as you can imagine.
Taylor’s storytelling flows like the silk of a nomad’s tent unfurled in the desert heat, like the slow promise of spring, like the torrent of a waterfall. It flows like the wind, and like the waves of the sea, and like the sun as it slips beneath the horizon.
It meanders and then careens and then meanders again, its pacing delightfully varied and clearly intentional, signaled by meticulous word choice and by attentive punctuation in which every single comma (and ellipsis)… matters.
We read a good bit of it out loud to each other because we just couldn’t help ourselves. And then we finished it separately because we just couldn’t put it down. (And then we bought one for our local library because we just couldn’t stand the idea of it not being there.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you love language and literature and imagination, if you love strange worlds and deep characters and beautiful dreams, if you love magic and puzzles and adventure and feels… then you will love this book as thoroughly as we do.