Review: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) – Libba Bray

lair of dreamsAfter 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?

Rating: 4/5

Three years of waiting, but Lair of Dreams was so well worth it. Libba Bray has such magical prose – the book was entirely atmospheric, combining physical descriptions with more emotional, ideological and supernatural elements for a rich reading experience.

Both plots were intriguing – the foremost mystery of the sleeping sickness sweeping New York (say that phrase really fast now), as well as the slowly progressing background arc of who the diviners are, how they came about, and what nefarious plans certain powers that be have in store for them.

I grew so fond of the cast of characters in the previous book, and it was a delight to encounter them again, even if they’re all dealing with their own issues. Evie and her desire for fame and living in the moment which masks her deeper nightmares stemming from her brother’s death in the war; Theta and the demons from her past, as well as the ability she’s kept hidden; Memphis and the racism he encounters, as well as the pressure to support his family versus following his dreams; Henry and his search for a lost lover in the dream world, which leaves him physically drained; Sam and his search for his lost mother to a secret government project; Jericho, and his reliance on the person and the substance who keep him alive; even Mabel, who is perpetually on the outside, both through her lack of Diviner talent and Evie’s sudden rise to fame.

New character Ling was just as intriguing, and her perspective and rather different upbringing/culture than the others added a welcome dimension to the story. It was great to see them all working together in the end – like some kind of 1920s New York Avengers – and its fascinating to discover the careful links that the author has crafted between the multitude of characters in the story. And, of course, the banter was fabulous, though this darker installment contained a little less than its predecessor.

(Also, props to the author for making fun of the characters’ use of the word ‘positutely’, which drove even fans of the first book mad.)

The love triangle wasn’t quite as bad as I feared, although I still wish it wasn’t there at all. I like that Evie is figuring out her own stuff, and which boy to shack up with is not at the top of her list of immediate priorities. I trust the author to at least resolve it all in an interesting way. (I highly recommend solution #5 XD )

There was a strong ideological slant in this book, and I wanted to stand up and applaud in some places – Libba Bray didn’t pull her punches when it comes to criticizing American racism, homophobia, religious fervor, capitalism, war and general narrow mindedness. And she did it all in a way that felt organic, and fitted right in with the somewhat frantic despair running throughout the novel. Bravo.

Finally: THAT ENDING THO. Things are about to get real in book 3, my friends. I got the shivers, and then some. If it takes three years to create a sequel of this standard, then I guess I’m prepared to wait another three (although I certainly hope its less!)

ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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