Book Review: Lair of Dreams
By: Libba Bray
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Page Count: 613
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Historical Fantasy
This is a behemoth tome that took me awhile to get through it. It's also been awhile since I have read the first novel so it took me some time to get back into the characters and the plot. After reviewing my notes from the first novel, I felt ready to dive into this one. As always, Libba Bray has delivered a creative, spooky tale full of gorgeous writing and complex characters. She beautifully combines history and fantasy.
Lair of Dreams introduces a new character, Ling, who is able to find the dead as she dreamwalks. She soon runs into Henry in the dream world and the two of them strike up an unlikely friendship. Ling provides an interesting spin as a character because she is part Chinese and part Irish in a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act is in full force. Ling faces discrimination on a daily basis due to her ethnicity as well as her physical disability. Ling is a brilliant scientist who exhibits immense courage throughout the novel. I loved the friendship that developed between Ling and Henry; I hope to see more in the next installment.
As the title of the novel suggests, dreams play a dominant role in the plot of this one. While the second half of the novel had me glued to my Kindle, the beginning took some patience and effort. There was so much world building and character development that was needed before the action could speed up. I also felt like the villain in this one wasn't quite as terrifying as John from the first novel, but they had a certain heartbreaking creepiness all their own. Most of the novel focuses on Ling and Henry, but my favorites from the first novel also play critical roles throughout the story.
This one has ghosts, political intrigue, racial conflict, socioeconomic discrimination, and a sleeping sickness that is killing off the population of New York City each night when the population dreams. I am fascinated by Bray's ability to put so many strands in one novel without making things super confusing. I still have so many lingering questions, but I have faith that Bray will tie all those pieces together before the series ends. I really need to understand Project Buffalo.
This is by far my favorite Bray series and I can only hope books 3 and 4 come out sooner rather than later. I highly recommend giving this series a go if you're into paranormal reads, the 1920's, or love YA lit with a literary flair. Bray's use of language is gorgeous and I bow down to her creativity.
One Last Gripe: I liked this one a lot, but the first novel was better.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked seeing new relationships develop in this one. Aside from Henry and Ling, I loved watching Evie and Sam evolve.
First Sentence: Every city is a ghost.
Favorite Character: Henry
Least Favorite Character: Evie annoyed me in this one. Her drinking and partying kept her from being there for her friends and making wise choices.
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.
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?
In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.