Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray Book Review

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2015

The cat is out of the bag. The world knows all about Evie O'Neill and the other diviners like her. In 1920s New York City diviners are considered the cat's meow, making Evie an instant celebrity. Evie isn't exactly being the best of friends with anyone though. Haunted by her experiences with a serial-killer ghost, Evie is self-medicating with alcohol and celebrity.

Meanwhile, something supernatural is happening within people's dreams. The sleeping sickness is sweeping through Chinatown and beyond, the people falling into dreams and being consumed from the inside out. Within they are experiencing the best fantasy they have ever had, but if they should resist, it quickly turns into their worst nightmare. Dreamwalker Henry DuBois and Ling Chan find themselves in the dream world often, but have no idea that they are getting dangerously close to the source of the sleeping sickness. As Henry searches for his lost love and Ling becomes friends with another dreamwalker, their friends are trying to protect them from themselves. But they too are struggling with diviner powers. Theta is having trouble controlling her ability to set things on fire. Memphis, who is also in love with Theta, can heal again. Sam accidentally reveals his powers to manipulate people. Jericho is a walking, breathing miracle thanks to a secret elixir.

I love these books. Terribly creepy with complex characters that left me wanting more while giving me enough closure to feel complete. Evie is wholly unlikable in a way that was believable. Basically, this girl has some PTSD issues and is just a little too selfish to not self-destruct. The sweetest storyline was in Henry DuBois who is searching for his lover, George, within dreams since he has been unsuccessful in the awake world. It is heartbreaking the levels that Henry will go to to find the one he loves, no matter the cost. I could go on and on about each character and the things they are each struggling with, but should leave it with a simple note that every reader will probably have their favorites and unlike the first book, there is no clear main character this time.

Also, the amount of diversity and attention to each diverse character's story should be noted. Henry is a gay man in 1920-something and issue that was dealt with by his father exactly how you would imagine. Theta is a runaway wife who is in falling in love with a black man. There is a point in the story where they are walking together planning a date and when some people walk by, Memphis falls back behind her, knowing how people might react. Ling is a half-Chinese half-Irish girl whose legs have been weakened by Polio. She wears braces and uses crutches and has to deal with the growing anti-Chinese sentiment in the city. The complexity of it made the characters feel so well-rounded and real, rather than the caricatures they could easily have become.

A fantastic ghost story where you will never think of the song "Beautiful Dreamer" in the same way again.