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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Before I start, let me warn you that Lair of Dreams is the 2nd installment in the Diviners series by Libba Bray.  If you haven't read The Diviners, you may want to start there.

Now, let me tell you that Lair of Dreams is definitely one of the top books I've read in 2015, if not the top book!  It's positutely the elephant's eyebrows!  You see, the characters are very young adults in the grandest of ages, the roaring '20s.  They live in New York, New York, and all have careers relating in one way or another to entertainment.  There are parties and speakeasies, the most fun and fantastic lingo you'll read in a book, and absolutely no cares in the world.  Hollywood, I'd love for someone to make this series into movies soon, please!

Some of these fun and flashy characters have special powers.  They are diviners, able to read the past and the future from personal objects.  Or dreamwalkers, able to reach people in their dreams, or the dead from beyond the grave.  Some of them have powers not yet realized when you start the book!  One thing I love about Libba Bray, though, is that she doesn't give every single character powers, and there's no formula to who has them and who doesn't.  Keeps this reader guessing right up to the reveal!  I also feel confident telling you that you will love all of the characters.  You will find yourself (like me) wishing for a time/fiction machine to go to the jazz age to hang out with them.  There's sweet and flirty Evie, who loves life (and her friends) with an unequaled ferocity.  And serious and smart Theta.  And southern gentleman Henry.  And goofball Sam.  And naïve but loyal Mabel.  And courageous and smart Ling.  And more!  I know it sounds like a lot, to have so many main characters, but Bray is a masterful storyteller who introduces them one by one (some in The Diviners and some in this book) to avoid confusion.  In both books, we meet the characters separately, or in small groups/pairs, then as the story progresses their individual narratives knit together to form the most lovely collective.

The plot also feels "woven together," from many different strands.  Each pair or group of characters is experiencing major events from very different viewpoints, giving the reader a total picture without an omniscient narrator talking over your shoulder.  My book's end flap described this book as "heart stopping," and I must concur.  This is one of those stay-up-way-past-your-bedtime-reading books, because you'll have to know that your beloved characters made it through another day!  Divining is a dangerous job already, with physical side effects (we learned in The Diviners that it's different for everyone, but usually involves something like a hangover effect), and now there's a mysterious sleeping sickness sweeping through NYC.  The victims appear healthy when they go to bed, but then their loved ones are unable to wake them by any means.  It especially affects Ling, who is the daughter of a Chinese man and who lives in Chinatown, where the sickness appears to have originated.  Will the dead she encounters in her dreamwalks help her solve the mystery before too many people are claimed?  Will she herself be able to remain safe of the sickness?  Soon all the local diviners are involved in a dangerous situation that involves the sickness, a ghostly woman, and a mysterious man in a stovepipe hat.  I don't want to give anything away, but it's definitely a page-turner!  It also feels a bit "dark," if that makes sense.  Despite all the fun '20s lingo, these characters feel like they're in very real danger, and much of the book takes place at night, and sometimes in unsavory parts of town.  Just one of the best marriages of suspense and mysticism and fright that I've read since Stephen King.

I'll close with an enthusiastic Hallelujah Chorus in praise of the audiobook.  A young lady named January does the reading and she's the bee's knees!  Absotutely the best!  No, the lingo doesn't do her justice... she, like the author, is a master at her craft.  She manages to get a 600+ page book onto only 19 CDs without ever feeling rushed.  She does distinct voices for 12+ characters, including males.  (My personal fave is New Orleans-raised Henry!)  And she sings!  With multiple characters in show biz, there are some snatches of tunes sprinkled throughout the book and January sings them and sings them well!  Really adds to the ambience.  I think this is an occasion where I'd actually recommend the audiobook over the physical book!

Five of five incredibly enthusiastic stars to Lair of Dreams!  And here's to hoping the third book isn't too long of a wait!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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4 People left their mark' :

  1. Darn. I've already read this, but now I want to listen to it! Maybe the same person will do the next book? Or has she read any others that you know of? Great review. I loved this one too -- a woven plot is a good description. Thanks.

  2. OOoh nice! I still need to read this one! I finally read The Diviners a few months ago and loved it! This one promises to be even better from what I hear!! Glad to see you enjoyed it! Great review!

  3. This sounds fascinating. Thanks for the suggestion to go back to the first in the series to start. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  4. I want to read these books since forever but I don't why I didn't do it. But this review just convinced me more and I think I want to marathon this ones or maybe I'll wait for the third one and read them back to back.