I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Also by this author: Beauty Queens, Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
Series: The Diviners #2
on August 25th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Historical, United States, 21st Century, Lifestyles, City & Town Life, Girls & Women
Buy on Amazon
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?
Lair Of Dreams by author extraordinaire Libba Bray is the bee’s knees. Everything is not jake in 1920s alternate reality New York City where Diviners exist. Bray’s sequel to The Diviners is a hold on to your hat sort of read, the action does not stop for a single second. This is a very long book at over 700 pages, it is not the kind of book that I could inhale in a single day, however, all of that time spent reading Lair Of Dreams is worth it – because you are reading something special and intense and creative and beautifully written. I mean, yes there’s a bang up plot, but even better is the imagery. Bray’s reimagined New York City is brimming with life in Lair Of Dreams. And of course, after finishing this behemoth I wanted MORE from Libba Bray and more Diviners.
Please note spoilers for The Diviners will follow from here on out. After defeating the Pentacle Killer, the Diviners have risen to prominence in New York City. Evie has her own radio show where she is the Sweetheart Seer. Memphis’s healing powers are somewhat coming back. Henry is trying to write a song to become his ticket to musical fame. Theta is still starring in the Ziegfield Follies and the press believes her to be a Russian Princess. Sam is trying to help Jericho and Will come up with something way to make money to save the museum. Mabel, who is not a Diviner, finds her friendship with Evie a bit strained. Meanwhile, there is a strange sleeping sickness infecting Chinatown and we get our first glimpse of a new Diviner, Ling. Something is rotten in New York City and is asking people to ‘dream with me’. And so they do, never waking up, being consumed from the inside out. Together, the Diviners must work toward defeating whatever spirit is causing the sleeping sickness. Lair Of Dreams is an intricately plotted book, making me think of those Russian Nesting Dolls. Trust, Libba Bray is an evil genius and when everything comes together I think you might yell something like EUREKA and then feel weird about it and continue on with your reading.
After striking out from Ohio and living in New York City, Evie has made her way. She’s found fame as a radio star better known as the Sweetheart Seer where she promotes Pears Soap and reads objects on air. Evie’s living a very surface sort of life, never really acknowledging the pain she still feels from the loss of her brother James and the trauma from facing the Pentacle Killer. It would seem that fame is going to her head. Sure, she makes some time for her best friend Mabel, but it is nothing on the level that it used to be. She is also still carrying a torch for Jericho even though she definitely cannot act on it, seeing as how Mabel is in to him, and she’s publically engaged to Sam Lloyd. YES. Sam Lloyd. You guys just wait when you read Lair Of Dreams and you’ll be like HEYO I LOVE THIS BOOK SO. Like I was. Alas, although Evie felt like the star of The Diviners and she does have several chapters in Lair Of Dreams it did not feel like she was the star of this book and that is fine because omg I loved the true stars of this book (I still love Evie too, but YOU WILL SEE).
To me, the true stars of Lair Of Dreams are Henry and Ling! So, okay to start with let’s talk about Henry Du Bois IV since you are familiar with him from The Diviners. Henry is gay and ran away from home pretty much to live in New York and follow his musical aspirations rather than become a lawyer. His Diviner power is that he can dreamwalk. What this means is that Henry is a lucid dreamer, he is awake and aware in dreams. Henry has walked many dreams over searching for his New Orleans lost love, Louis. One day he is dream walking when he comes across a Chinese girl, Ling. She is another dreamwalker. The two touch and there is this spark of connection. With the help of Ling, Henry is able to see Louis again in the dream world, along with Louis’s dog, Gaspard. Henry finds himself obsessed with dreamwalking and meeting Louis every night to the detriment of his waking hours. Of course, this leaves Theta very concerned about Henry. Ugh, you guys! I LOVED HENRY’S CHARACTER. FYI, there will be lots of I love capslock in this review. There is just this fierce longing that comes along with Henry’s character and mourning over first love that I did tear up a little bit over certain scenes. And then there’s also the fact that Henry has always had to pipe down and run away from confrontation to appease others. We get this glimpse of his family life before NYC and learn that his father is overbearing and absolutely not supportive of Henry’s sexual orientation. You guys, just, Henry’s character is funny at the wrong times and it is endearing. He’s so caught up with seeing Louis in the dream world that he forgets about everything else in his life, it is absolutely an obsession and I loved its portrayal. Just, read this book and be like me and be all I LOVE HENRY after reading it.
Now, as for Ling! LING! Ling is Chinese American and lives in Chinatown and works in the Teahouse that her parents run. She has a bit of a reputation in Chinatown for being able to communicate with the dead through dreams. She just needs an object to reach the dead and a bit of pay. Ling also has endured infantile paralysis and it is something that she continually struggles with — rectifying what she can and cannot do anymore and being strong and enduring. We see Ling also have the intersectionality of not being from the dominant race and experiencing racism. I thought her point of view really added value to the story. What I love about her character is how no bull shit tough she is. She is quite serious. She’s not easy going like Henry or empty headed. It was so cool to see her friendship with Henry gain steam. And yes, it is absolutely a friendship given that Henry is gay and all. I think I mentioned that Ling is strong and I mean it. There’s this girl she meets in the dreamworld called Wai-Mae. Wai-Mae calls Ling ‘Little Warrior’ and encourages Ling to reshape the dream world. Wai-Mae is obsessed with staying happy and not thinking about bad things. She is on her way to America from China to marry a wealthy merchant arranged through an agency called O’Bannon & Lee. Ling, however, has some doubts and so she does some research. AND YOU GUYS! Speaking of Ling and her research she is a scientist and applies her sensibility to being a diviner and it is the literal best. AND I AM GETTING EXCITED ALL OVER AGAIN BECAUSE I LOVE LING! Like, thank you Libba Bray for incorporating a new character for me to fall in love with.
I mentioned old fire hands Theta above. So, her Diviner power is still a secret. No one knows that she was Betty Sue from Kansas and accidentally killed her abusive husband Roy with her fire hands. Despite this, Theta is a great person. She is also still no bullshit. So, when Henry keeps sleeping and missing rehearsals and just wrecking his life with his obsession with the dream world, Theta calls him out. Actually, that is who Theta’s character is, the call out character. I mean, she does not tolerate BS and I LOVE THAT. She even calls Evie on her BS. I love that. AND YES of course Theta is still seeing Memphis. She does not seem to play as big of a role in Lair Of Dreams as Henry and Ling, but that makes sense given there is some teasing that Theta will take main stage in the next book. Still, I loved the various scenes with Theta in Lair Of Dreams and found myself wanting her to just be honest with everyone about her Diviner power because it seems like keeping it a secret will cause herself some harm.
Like Theta, Memphis does not play a huge role in Libba Bray’s Lair Of Dreams. I mean, sure, his power as the Harlem Healer is coming back to him mysteriously. Yet, he does not get as many point of view chapters as Henry and Ling. Rather, he is still navigating his romance with Theta who is white. You see, Theta is pulling away and Memphis cannot seem to figure out why she does that. It is clear that they are both definitely into each other but just as they start to get closer, Theta puts on the brakes. Memphis is still chasing his dreams of becoming a published poet and taking his place among noted luminaries like Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. He also is dealing with his brother Isaiah, who is a Diviner as well. Isaiah is getting closer with Blind Bill who idk, just gives me the creeps. Yet, Memphis doesn’t seem to also get those creeps feelings because he is so preoccupied with Theta and publication and his powers returning. Alas, something wicked this way comes.
I almost forgot to do a paragraph on Sam and you guys that would be a travesty. Sam ‘Sergei’ Lloyd ‘Lubbovitch’ plays an interesting role in Lair Of Dreams. Straight up I am shipping Sam and Evie. I know that plenty of you are probably Jericho fans, but I think Sam is the more interesting character. As a Diviner, he has the power to stop time for certain people. Sam has kept his ability under wraps though. Anyways, he comes to prominence and fame with Evie as the two are fake engaged for the press. Although it is fake, this follows the path this romance trope usually does and there are some authentic feelings there. However, this is not even the most interesting thing about Sam’s plotline. You see, Sam has become obsessed with finding out more information about Project Buffalo, which has something to do with the Department of Paranormal started by Theodore Roosevelt and so, Sam is following various clues to find out what Project Buffalo is and even more importantly, to find his mother, Miriam. I LOVE SAM’S CHARACTER TOO! If you look at him just on the surface, he is kind of a dick. BUT THEN when you get why maybe he puts up a front, you’ll love him. I love that he calls Evie ‘Lamb Chop’ even though it annoys her. I love how he antagonizes her. I love the role that Sam’s character gets to play in this book and how it teases a much bigger role to come in the next book. Basically I like how much of a role he gets to have and how much more we get to know him. ALL OF THE LOVE YOU GUYS.
As for Jericho, our non-Diviner friend who is also different, he has a role to play in this book. It isn’t huge with all the chapters, but we do get to know more about him and his connection with Marlowe and a decision that he must make. We also get to see him carry his torch as well. I don’t know, I like his character but he’s just so golden boy and not nearly as interesting as Sam.
Also! Mabel! She gets more of a role in this book, seeing as how she has this crush on Jericho, but she’s not a Diviner, but she’s friends with Evie who has kissed Jericho. Anyways! Mabel! She is ordinary but she has her part to play and I have a feeling she’ll be important in the third book.
Now, you guys, I have written 2000 words about Lair Of Dreams which constitutes one of my longest reviews ever but I just have a lot of feelings, okay. So the writing in Bray’s latest is atmospheric. I was so into this book and the scenes where I felt legitimate terror, that when the boyfriend texted I actually literally jumped. Terror in real life, y’all. Alas, there are some gruesome, nightmarish, hellish scenes AND I LOVED IT. Yo, Libba Bray can make your skin crawl with her writing and it is the literal best. In all, I am head over heels in love with this sequel and all of the characters and the plotting and the writing and can we please just have book three right now?