- Series: The Diviners (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 624 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (August 25, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316126047
- ISBN-13: 978-0316126045
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel (The Diviners) Hardcover – August 25, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This breathtaking sequel to The Diviners (Little, Brown, 2012) is worth the wait. The novel opens in 1927 New York City, as construction continues on expanding the subway system. When workers break through to an older and forgotten train station, they develop a "sleeping sickness," trapped first by dreams and then "nightmare[s] from which they will, never, ever wake." Bray sets the stage for a mesmerizing exploration of dreams, including the American Dream—the "opiate futility of hope"—the exploitation of religion, science, and patriotism for evil ends. Although the same major characters from the previous volume appear in this installment, an additional Diviner, Ling Chan, makes her debut. She can dreamwalk and communicate with the dead. She and Henry enter dreams together to search for Ling's friend, George (who has fallen ill with the sleeping sickness), and Henry's lover, Louis. Evie O'Neill, still a quintessential flapper on the surface, is back, now famous as the "Sweetheart Seer" on a radio show. A sinister government plot to exploit people who display any Diviner talent brings the characters together for an action-packed, fast-paced, and slang-filled read. VERDICT A multilayered, character-driven, and richly rewarding installment to the paranormal historical fiction series.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
* "Bray illuminates the dark side of the American Dream in her long-awaited sequel to The Diviners, weaving xenophobia, industrial progress, Jazz Age debauchery, government secrets, religious fervor, and supernatural horror into a sprawling and always entertaining narrative."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A multilayered, character-driven, and richly rewarding installment to the paranormal historical fiction series."―School Library Journal, starred review
* "Bray weaves connections between her numerous characters and explores friendships, dark secrets, and dramatic love interests. This book will fly off the shelves to fans of Bray, Cassandra Clare, and the supernatural."―VOYA, starred review
* "The ambitiously broad focus of this novel strikes just the right balance in its division of narrative might, developing each of the dizzyingly large cast of diverse characters with an impressive attention to detail and with period-specific, witty dialogue."―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Sweet relationships (romantic, platonic, and familial) and snarky banter filled with period slang balance and accentuate the suspenseful horror. Fan will barrel through this second installment and emerge impatient for the next."―Horn Book
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Top customer reviews
Plot: The struggle with all sequels is not being able to remember what happened in the first book. Luckily, Libba Bray thinks of everything and feeds the reader small snippets of what happened in The Diviners to help jog memory.
Libba Bray introduces a new paranormal mystery that unravels little by little. Libba Bray never fails to get me invested in one of her unique mysteries and the tale of the Sleeping Sickness is no different. I will say that Lair of Dreams lacks the creeptastic gore that I came to love in The Diviners. Instead, I connected with Lair of Dreams on a more emotional level.
Along with the Sleeping Sickness mystery, Lair of Dreams hints at the overall conflict which leaves the reader with nothing but questions as the novel concludes.
Characters: Everyone that you know and love from The Diviners is back, and then some! We are introduced to Ling Chan, the Chinese-Irish-American girl with a love for science and a knack for dream walking. I abso-tive-ly adored her spunk and the amount of love and attention that Libba Bray put into her character.
Along with some new faces, the gang reunites and digs deeper into their Diviner gifts. While The Diviners was Evie-centric, I felt that Evie was barely present in Lair in Dreams. Instead, we follow Henry's desire to become a musician and explore his emotional past. My main obsession with this series is Bray's dedication to her characters. Each person that makes an appearance in Lair of Dreams is breathed into life with enough backstory to make you empathize or want to learn more. Evie is clearly going through a rough patch after the events of The Diviners and we are able to see how Naughty Jon affected her and her relationships with others.
The love triangle that played second fiddle in The Diviners comes more to light in Lair of Dreams and rips my soul into little pieces. I lost a lot of hope for my ship, but I'm not giving up! NEVER.
World Building: While reading this book, I had to actively stop myself from using 1920s slang when talking to family and friends. This world is so engulfing that I physically had to pull myself back to the 21st century. One thing that makes Libba Bray's 1920s so perfect is that she doesn't shy from its brutal history. The KKK rears its ugly head, the Chinese citizens are threatened with deportation, and African Americans have to watch their music stolen from the streets of Harlem and paraded as a White invention. It is also fascinating that the characters remark on The Great American Future and Exceptionalism while damning minorities in the same breath.
Short N Sweet: Lair of Dreams is posi-tut-tely thrilling and will have you obsessively refreshing GoodReads for an update on the third installment.
This book was a masterpiece in the sheer complexity of its themes. Set in 1920s America where the country was all too satisfied to ignore the less-glamorous things in life, Bray’s story paints a vivid, yet extremely disturbing picture of the American illusion. Home of the free and the brave on the surface, but simmering with hatred, prejudice and outright racism against people differing in color, culture and language. Bray forces us to stand in the place of an American-Chinese character who has to face awful prejudice, and can do very little about it because it’s so institutionalized. She forces us to stand in the place of an African-American teenager, who is constantly cautious, constantly thinking over each of his moves because he knows people will look for just an excuse to damn him in his own country.
This is a book that is so important, because despite it being set in the early 1900s, some of the themes it explores are unfortunately still relevant today. The prejudice still exists today, towards some of the same groups, and some different ones. It’s a brutally honest read that makes you question things other than those on the surface: yes, it’s a story about a few characters and their struggles with the supernatural. Yes, it’s a scary read because it has ghosts and monsters. But it’s also a scary read because it has something realer than ghosts and monsters. It shows us the America hidden behind false promises, and false hopes. It shows us the ugly picture that we try so, so hard to ignore.
And perhaps even more than that, Bray manages to tackle more subtly some of the themes that made the first book so controversial. I remember reading reviews for the Diviners, and coming across people saying that it was almost blasphemous in how anti-religious it was. And while there was certainly more skepticism towards religion in Lair of Dreams, it was dialed down. The themes were more subtly incorporated through dialogue and streams of consciousness, and didn’t seem heavy-handed at all. If you’re not someone who generally latches on to quotes regarding religion, you probably wouldn’t even notice them. I am, however, rather skeptic about organized religion (including my own, lol), so quotes like the one below stand out for me, and I tend to enjoy them a lot.
In the midst of all the darker undertones, Libba Bray makes sure that we touch base with our beloved characters. Evie has come forth as a Diviner; she has her own radio show, and her talents and charming personality have dubbed her America’s “Sweetheart Seer.” Sam Lloyd is as insufferable as ever for Evie, but certain circumstances as well as just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, put the two together in a way they, nor their friends, saw coming. Theta is dealing with her past, all while trying to maintain a relationship with Memphis, who is trying to deal with the return of his powers. Henry and Ling are dream walkers, which may not be the best power to have, considering that people are getting stuck in their dreams. Bray ensures that each of her characters gets the attention they deserve; they go through development and we learn more about them, but one of the complaints I had was how she glossed over Jericho’s arc. He was one of my favorite characters in the last book (I’m a sucker for brooders, you know), so his presence was sorely missed.
Perhaps one of the things that bothered me most was how disinterested and detached I felt to Evie’s character. Her newfound fame made her already over-confident personality downright insufferable. I liked her sass and confidence in the first book, but it was taken above and beyond in Lair of Dreams. Moreover, much of her storyline felt like filler. We see her more involved in romance, but that side was the least interesting one of the book.
Lair of Dreams was a four-star read until I hit the last hundred and fifty pages or so. By then, the momentum had almost completely died down, and I found myself wanting to finish this tome rather than wanting to know what happens next. Unlike The Diviners, I wasn’t hanging on to each and every word, and that’s exactly what makes this an under-whelming sequel. The Diviners sucked me in, and this one simply failed to do that. Nonetheless, this a series I would recommend to everyone because it is dense, masterfully written and a unique take on YA historical fiction.
Lair of Dreams was not quite as terrifying as the The Diviners (which kept me up at night and gave me nightmares...so, yeah, this is a plus in my book), but just as fun and full of the characters I came to love. I especially enjoyed Henry stepping up to a more central role in book 2 and seeing his and Ling's friendship and trust develop throughout their dream walks in the book. Ling was so brusque and buttoned up that it was all the sweeter to see her finally have a vulnerable moment and build a true friendship with Henry. And of course everyone's favorite attention whore Evie O'Neill was back in all of her glittering, gin swilling glory. I also loved the way Evie's and Sam's relationship evolved in this book. Their levity (the press conference near the beginning- pure comic genius) provided a much needed break from the freakiness happening in the creepy crawly darkness of the subway tunnels, but there was also a gravitas and depth to them and their hard won fledgling trust.
That's probably my favorite thing about any of Libba Bray's work: one minute I'm laughing, and the next I'm thinking about the way America treats people they fear, and the next I'm wiping away tears at seeing a character I thought I disliked overcome a huge fear and show her softer side. There's so much going in on and its woven together so expertly. I can't wait for more.