Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Thursday, 1 October 2015

25489888Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #2
Released: 26th August 2015
Published by: Allen and Unwin
Genre: YA Paranorma/ Historical
Source: Publisher
Pages: 613
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Book Depository | QBD
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.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

If ever there was a series which luminously envisages 1920's New York in all its wanton glory, this is it. Lair of Dreams is a satisfying sequel to its amazing predecessor, and though it doesn't quite live up to the truly horrifying supernatural twist of The Diviners, it was definitely a creepy tale. This is a story which follows the characters we have come to know and love, along with some new additions - in their personal struggles with newfound fame, romantic escapades and most importantly stopping a deadly spirit from killing the people of the city while they sleep. 

Another day closes. The sun sinks low on the horizon. It slips below the Hudson, smearing the West Side of Manhattan in a slick of gold. Night arrives for its watchful shift. The neon city bursts its daytime seams, and the great carnival of dreams begins again. 

Dreams are so often imbued with a wistful golden hue, but in the dark lair of the supernatural - a nightmare is just as likely. You wouldn't be able to tell on the surface though, as Libba Bray's meandering prose reads beautifully. All that you would expect to see from a book set in this era is there - from the speakeasies for the new generation of hedonistic youth to the bootlegged liquor which sustained them. Beneath the glitz however lies the undercurrent of racism and prejudice which was prevalent at the time, as the 'Chinese Sleeping Sickness' works its way across the population and innocent immigrants are blamed. The author has truly captured the multifaceted nature of the time, and I love reading books set in the 1920's because there was so much going on, and it's the perfect setting in this case for Evie and her comrades to step into the limelight.

Evie came into her own once again in this story, but this time with fame attached. As the 'Sweetheart Seer' she seemingly has everything a girl could want - primetime on the radiowaves and everyone knowing her name. But at what cost? With a romantic facade thrown into the mix, more Diviners coming onto the scene and Mabel, Jericho, Theta and Sam getting caught up in the drama - there is both personal and paranormal trouble on the horizon. With a subtle alternating focus on what each of the characters were doing, as well as a new spotlight on Diviners Henry and Ling - everybody has their time to shine and their own journeys converge brilliantly at the climactic end of the spectrum when the spirit world collides with the real one.

It was as if all time and space were unfolding at once around them, a river without end. The borders of their lives vanished; they flowed through time, and it through them, till they didn't know if these things they saw had already been or would come to pass.

It's fascinating that there were those little reference to psychoanalysis from Freud and Jung included, and how the unconscious mind can work. Not only that, but there is definitely room for more in hopefully a third book as there are loose ends to tie up and a renewed sense of wariness at the end of this one. What this book does so well is create a sense of mystery which leaves you wanting more. It isn't necessarily screaming out to you when there are so many other elements at play, but wow I would love to see more from this world and how hopefully all the Diviners we've met so far in the series have their roles.


While this is a mammoth of a book, there is never a dull moment. Libba Bray has impressed me with this sequel, which will be sure to captivate readers once more with a thrilling mystery and vividly depicted historical setting. If you've read The Diviners then you have to read this, and if you haven't yet then what are you waiting for!?


  1. At some point I really should read The Diviners, because it's at the back of my shelves looking lonely. BUT IT'S SO BIG. I'm glad the sequel lived up to expectations, though :)

    1. Yes you so should! It is huge, but seriously SO WORTH IT!

  2. I loved Libba Bray's other series and I know I'll love this one too but the size is pretty daunting. But it sounds like pacing was never an issue, which is great to know, and that the characters are always growing. Love the quotes too!

    1. I do hope you get to this one Alise - it's fantastic, atmospheric and so wonderfully written! :)


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