Reviews

Dreams of the Dying, by Nicolas Lietzau

emily_wydrych's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

caatms's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

thebookmage's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

thomas_hense's review against another edition

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2.0

This was probably the most excited I had ever been about a book, which may have also contributed to my greatest disappointment. 

To begin with, there was far too much information given about the characters and world. The magic/fantasy was explained so extensively that at times it felt I was reading a medical journal - at what point does magic become science or science fiction?

 Character relationships felt adolescent, flat and scripted, in other words, fake. Modern day dialogue and gestures felt completely out of place in an old world setting, for example "can of worms", "crawled up his esophagus", "shagged", "ditched in the worse way", "cadavers", "wanna", pinky swears, "given him the finger", etc.

My review is based on the first 53% of the book. I just could not continue reading it after that.

londonsonas's review against another edition

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4.0

Disclaimer: This book has a lot of content that might disturb sensitive readers. Trigger warnings for: Rape, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation, body horror, vomiting, child abuse, and bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.

This was a very, very taxing book emotionally. Also just a behemoth in general- standing at just over 700 pages, it was my longest read of the month.

I'll start with a broad, more face-value assessment before I dig into everything this book made me feel and contemplate; Nicolas Leitzau is a gifted writer with some of the most beautiful prose that I've read in recent memory. Seriously, this thing reads smooth as butter. Even when the plot lulls (which isn't often) it's so easy to coast on because the writing is just wonderful. Another thing that Leitzau really excels at is character building- apart from a complex and compelling protagonist, all of the side characters feel really solid and there are even a couple standouts that I'll remember for a long time coming. Lastly, the worldbuilding is grounded and complex without feeling confusing or introducing too much information at once (I don't consider myself to be particularly gifted at following worldbuilding which has led me to struggle with books like Seth Dickinson's Masquerade) and Leitzau makes his world feel rich and vivid. I really enjoyed seeing the influence of Polynesian culture on the setting and characters and appreciate Leitzau's research and attention to detail.

On to a more emotional note: This book hurts. Not only is the main character in a massive amount of repressed emotional pain, but the entire atmosphere of the book is tinged by his perspective as the lens through which we view the world. Jespar Dal'Varek's trauma is so well written with such an intimate understanding of mental health that at times the book becomes uncomfortable to read. Leitzau is able to portray depression in such an authentic and heartbreaking way that I actually did end up crying, which I almost never do.

I have very few criticisms of this book, but they are:

1) I felt it had minor pacing issues and hit the climax around the 80% mark, which made the last 20% of the book feel strange, almost like an epilogue. I also felt that the last 20% was a bit of a rollercoaster and had strange tonal issues.

2) The ending of this book and the resolution of
Spoiler the relationship between Kawu and Jesper
felt strangely rushed or forced to me? I may feel differently about this over time but it just doesn't sit quite right with me personally.

A few other details I really loved were the flashbacks, dream scenes, and use of conlang. Everything was constructed so well and Leitzau's attention to detail really shines through here as well.

Overall this book was beautiful, emotionally exhausting, and just... such a well-done fantasy book on all levels. I know Leitzau has done work on the Enderal video game (for which this book is a companion) and can't wait to see what he does next. I'll definitely be picking up the next installment of this series, but can't say I'm not grateful for a breather in between the two. What a ride.

montecrito's review against another edition

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5.0

i loved everything about this book, but man those last 100 pages were truly something else i got this lump in my throat i wanted to hug and punch jespar at the same time so bad like why why why yeah i loved it.

cappuccino_yuki_teddy's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

lauviv's review against another edition

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adventurous dark reflective tense
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
Still processing, thank you very much. 

tanishamahajan's review against another edition

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4.0

Why is no one talking about this book?? It is so good. I wish more people would read this.

biancalea's review against another edition

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5.0

A stunning debut. Lietzau presents the reader with a cast of characters that are complex, morally grey and flawed. In particular the characterisation of the two main POV characters - Jespar and The Man - is outstanding and we get to see their emotions laid bare and raw. Moreover, his exploration of mental illness is masterful and unlike anything I have ever read before. I eagerly await the next instalment of the Enderal series to see the new depths he will bring to his characters.