Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Posted November 4, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams

by Libba Bray

Series: The Diviners #2
Publisher: Little Brown and Company on August 25, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Ghost Story, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIAP+, Paranormal, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

 

I’m so glad Lair of Dreams popped up on my TBR because I’ve been having rough reading streak and I really needed something totally engrossing. Although, I admit, I now have “Beautiful Dreamer” perpetually stuck my head.

When you get to the second book in a series, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get.  80% of the time, the second book is filler, a gap book to move along the series rather than a self-contained story.  This is a huge pet peeve mine because I believe that individual books should have their own stories, while still contributing to a series plot.  Fortunately, Lair of Dreams was fantastic in this way.  It was a high-stakes story, just like The Diviners.  The plot kept me engrossed the whole time, keeping with a ghostly theme but elevating the haunting to the next level.  While we saw a typical sort of ghost story in book one, book two took that idea and twisted it a little.  Our villain was captivating and deceptive and it was glorious.

We remain in aesthetic New York City, but much less time of Lair of Dreams is spent in the clubs or in the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.  This book pivoted us into different scenes, including Chinatown where we see xenophobia and racism rear its ugly head.  It also takes us down into the subways, which are exactly as spooky and atmospheric as you would expect.  There’s still the glitz and glam of 1920s New York, but the world has grown as our characters branch out.  Personally, I love the scene, and I love how effortlessly Libba Bray pulls it all together.  It’s not just the sights and the music – it’s down to the food the characters eat and the slang they use.  1920s slang is pretty distinctive, but Lair of Dreams uses it easily and it’s not glaring or interruptive.

And our characters.  How I missed them!  The Diviners focused a lot on Evie, Theta, and Jericho.  Lair of Dreams pivots this attention to some of the other characters – Sam, Henry, Memphis, and a new character, Ling Chan.  While I missed Evie’s general pep a bit, I loved digging into Sam’s story.  Ling was also a wonderful new addition to their group and I’m glad see her.  By the end of Lair of Dreams, we have a pretty good backstory to all our characters and they as a group are ready to take on the next adventure, which I really liked.  Writing a book with this many POVs can be challenging, but I think Libba Bray did it wonderfully.  I am still waiting for deaths and betrayals, myself, but I’m a negative person.

Also, I do want to point out how much diversity there is in this series.  From gender, to race, to sexual orientation – there’s a lot of rep to be had.  None of the rep is a central issue to the storyline; a lot of it is atmospheric (like the racism we see around the sleeping sickness).  Lair of Dreams isn’t a book about race, for example, but I do appreciate the variety people involved in the story.  It takes all sorts of people to make up a world, and it’s always nice to see authors remember that in their writing.

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the Diviners series so far, and Lair of Dreams continued to push that momentum.  This is the fourth book I’ve read by Libba Bray, and I think it’s time to officially put her on my Favorite Authors list, because her worlds and stories and characters come to life for me and I adore reading her books.  I recommend this one, as well as The Diviners (read that first!) and I wouldn’t change a thing about this book.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating

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Do you ever wish you could live in dreams instead of face the real world?  Choosing reality instead of dreams becomes a theme in Lair of Dreams, and with the fear in the world today, sometimes it’s tempting to sleep through it all, like Sleeping Beauty.  Do you ever feel like that?  Let me know in the comments!

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