Today, we're reviewing Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray!
I've been totally counting down the days until the release date for this book, and was pleasantly surprised when Little, Brown gave me the chance to read an E-ARC.
The wait was absolutely worth it; Libba has outdown herself with her ability to continue on with the Diviners, and also draw us into a new creepy mystery.
Hardcover, 624 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format read: EARC via publisher
Thrilling, nicely plotted, with Bray's flair for nuisanced, imaginative drama, Lair of Dreams is one sequel that is not to be missed.
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?
Author Libba Bray brings us back into the world that she first introduced us to in The Diviners, with Evie, Theta and Jericho back in the mix. But after the events of the first book, everyone has gone their separate ways; with Evie quickly earning fame as "America's Sweetheart Seer", and the rest of the Diviners trying to make their own way in the world. However, a mysterious sleeping illness is sweeping through the city and killing innocent victims, and it's up to the Diviners to get to the bottom of the deaths...
Whereas The Diviners was very much Evie's story, Bray gently shifts the focus of Lair of Dreams to focus equally on its diverse cast of characters. It's an interesting decision; readers get equal time to spend with characters like Evie, Sam and Henry, but the shift also means that there's a slower build-up to the mysterious sleeping sickness that is slowly taking root around the city.
But as she begins to unravel the mysterious deaths taking place, Bray goes into rich, imaginative detail on just how the illness begins, and the mysterious warnings that appear to each of the Diviners. Her prose and detailed world-building is a definite plus in these circumstances; Bray's talent for writing third-person omniscient means that she jumps effortlessly from sharing details about a singular character, to showing how the illness is affecting the city as a whole. There's a definite pall cast on the city as the story and the illness progresses, which only amps up the stakes for our characters.
Outside of the core mystery, Bray paints a detailed and elaborate backdrop of the world inhabited by the Diviners. We see the various prejudices and high points of living in the period, including two very poignant storylines involving Henry and Ling. We also see the larger picture of the illness involving the Diviners; there's definitely a mysterious, terrifying entity who is pulling the strings.
All in all, Lair of Dreams was absolutely worth the wait.
Evie and the rest of the Diviners are forced to confront their worst fears as they deal with the sleeping sickness, and Bray pushes each of them to surprising and enthralling heights, as we see how they work through a new foe. She also beautifully sets up the team for the third book, and I absolutely can't wait.
Highly recommend for all readers, full stop. Bray is back in form, and this isn't one to be missed.