Title: Muse of Nightmares
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)
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?
Muse of Nightmares is an ending revealed through despair and fury, mystery and magic, desperation and hope. Truths and secrets are being revealed above the city of Weep, but not all of them, because of what else might be found when they are. But when their own lives are at stake, what choices will the godspawn make? Whose minds will they change?
Lazlo is now one of them, one of the godspawn. Like Sarai and Minya, like Ruby and Sparrow and Feral. But he can't thinking about anything but Sarai, now a ghost held by Minya's power after her death. Now he and Sarai are pawns in Minya's game, a game in which she demands revenge against those who hated them, feared them. Killed the other children a number of years ago. But now that doors can be opened, the past can be set free. And someone is keeping a secret they don't want to think about.
There's something haunting and magical about this, but also something rather realistic and honest. A fair amount of the book is Lazlo and Sarai taking part in a battle of wills against Minya. Neither side willing to compromise, both sides blinded by emotion and anger. Minds must be chosen in order to save lives, yes, but how far can revenge burrow inside someone? How powerful does it become? It's easy to tell someone to stop, to take a step back and look at things from all sides, but when emotions are involved, when loved ones are involved, it's impossible to stop. To consider that perhaps another way is the option. Minya demands her revenge. Lazlo refuses to give up on Sarai. And so the impasse begins. I do think that fans of the previous book will be satisfied with this ending. It's a Laini Taylor book, it's emotional and expansive, it's harsh and sweet and complicated, and the story continues beyond the last page, left to the reader to imagine and wonder.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)