Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams
By Libba Bray
Published: August 25, 2015

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?

My review:

Lair of Dreams is the sequel to The Diviners. The first book was published in 2012 so I was worried that I wouldn't remember what happened but things started to come back to me as I read. 

Evie is now the Sweetheart Seer, the star of a hit radio show where she reads people's objects on air.  She is the toast of the town but she is estranged from her uncle and his museum. The museum is still in financial trouble but Sam and Jericho come up with a plan that might save it.  Sam also makes life more complicated for Evie and her feelings are conflicted between Sam and Jericho.

In the previous book Evie was sort of the main character but this time it is Henry who takes center stage. There is a mysterious "sleeping sickness" sweeping through the city that seems to target Chinatown in particular which causes rampant racism and mistrust. Henry is a dreamwalker, someone with the ability to enter other people's dreams and he can also wake someone up from sleep. He becomes reluctantly involved in investigating the sleeping sickness when he runs into another dreamwalker, Ling. 

Ling is a new character. Half Chinese and half Irish she also suffers from what is now called polio. Someone she knows ends up contracting the sleeping sickness and Ling wants to figure out what is going on. She also wants to help her new friend and fellow dreamwalker Wei Mei, a young girl who is on a ship from China to San Francisco where she will meet her new husband. 

While Henry and Ling are busy trying to solve the major mystery, Evie and Theta are determined to live it up as Bright Young Things and ignore the darkness just like many of the young people of that time, desperate to forget the sadness of the War. Evie is sort of the comic relief in this book compared to the darker storylines of the other characters especially with her relationship with Sam. 

Historically I thought the book captured the feel of the era without overdoing the 1920s dialogue. There were still plenty of "positutely"s but it was definitely less annoying than the first book. The topic of eugenics is also introduced and that was a popular movement at the time.  The idea was hailed as a scientific advancement, a way to improve the nation and it tied in with the racism and nationalism of the day. Memphis and Theta have to hide their relationship and get dirty looks when they are seen together in public while Henry has to hide his orientation as homosexuality is illegal. 

Lair of Dreams doesn't have the same creepy tone as The Diviners (with its supernatural serial killer its pretty hard to top) but I found it to be an intriguing story. I wanted to know what was causing the sickness and who the malevolent ghost was. We get some further character development for the returning characters and the discoveries only raise more questions. There are also hints that the events of the first book are not as over as the characters might wish. Something dark and malevolent is definitely brewing. Overall I thought this was a good followup to The Diviners. I'm definitely anticipating the next book. Hopefully we won't have to wait as long!

Note: I received an ARC for review courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. I really need to read the first book! Great review. :)

  2. I have the same fear as you had---I can barely remember details of books I read 1 year ago, let alone 3!! But even as I read your review, the wonderful characters and eerie details are coming back a little. I need to read this one soon. Glad to hear you enjoyed it overall and that the 20s lingo was less annoying to you this time! :D


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