Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

I waited a long time for the sequel to Libba Bray’s The Diviners, but it finally came out in August at a chunky 608 pages.  Was it worth the wait?  You bet it was.

Lair of Dreams picks up shortly after the ending of Book 1.  Having outed herself as a diviner in order to solve the mystery of the Pentacle Killer, a serial murderer in The Diviners, Evie O’Neill, 17, is now America’s Sweetheart Seer, reading secrets of people on the radio.  As a diviner, you may recall, Evie can “read” another person’s deepest, darkest secrets simply by holding an object of theirs, 

Evie is also estranged from her Uncle Will, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, and has been living in one hotel after another, getting kicked out for having too many raucous parties.  Evie still hangs out with her old friends, including Ziegfeld girl Theta Knight and musician Henry DuBois, as well as Mabel and Jericho, who works for her uncle.  And in Harlem Memphis Campbell, Theta’s love interest, is still trying to come to terms with his own abilities as a healer.  

Henry has decided to try to find his lost love, Louis, also a musician with whom Henry was in love when they lived in New Orleans.  Using his ability to dream-walk, Henry no sooner begins his search when he meets Ling Chan, 17, a girl from Chinatown who can also dream walk and speak to the dead.  But Henry isn't the only dream walker Ling has met.  Wei-Mae is a young girl traveling from China to New York to be married to a wealthy man she has never met.  

And then there is Sam Lloyd, the petty thief who stole Evie’s $20.00 when she first arrived in NYC, and has been a not-always-welcomed mainstay in her life ever since.  And now, much to Evie’s chagrin, she finds herself in a sham engagement to Sam, to the joy of her boss who sees it as free publicity for his radio station.

Sam, however, is more obsessed with the idea of something called Project Buffalo.  Whatever it is, it took his mother away from him as a boy and now he’s on a mission to discover why and how and where she is.  Project Buffalo was briefly mentioned in The Diviners, in a newspaper article Sam was reading about a young girl who died of a mysterious sleeping sickness but not before she uttered the words “Project Buffalo.” 

And now it seems that that mysterious sleeping sickness has gripped New York, and it appears to be centered in Chinatown.  It’s going to take a concerted effort of all the diviners to solve this mystery, but Evie is going through some stuff of her own.  Feeling less sure of herself, she parties and drinks too much to escape the disturbing memories of the Pentacle Killer.  When she starts making bad decisions and poor choices, it begins to look pretty doubtful that she will be much help.  

But when one of her inner circle falls victim to the sleeping sickness, will Evie be able to pull herself out of her boozy stupor and help her friend?

If this sounds a bit like a recap of The Diviner, it's because saying too much about Lair of Dreams means giving away too much of the story and it's way too delicious to spoil it for other readers.  Suffice it to say that this is a book that will certainly entertain, with it many story lines and it's twists and turns, but it will also make you think.  It is historical fiction that gives us a wonderful picture of life in 1920s New York.  Prohibition is still the law, so there are lots of speakeasies and glitzy flappers wearing headache bands and strings of pearls,  and the bright, fast rhythms of jazz bands is the music of the moment, but there is also a dark side - a side that exposes prejudice and mistrust of Chinese immigrants, gays and African Americans.  

Lair of Dreams is the second volume of a planned four volume Diviners series.  Evie has a smaller role to play in this book than she did in The Diviners, so I am wondering if each book will showcase another diviner, while the rest of the characters we are already familiar with remain in the picture as well.   I personally would really like to read more about Memphis, Isiah, and of course Blind Bill, characters with their own abilities living in Harlem.

Which leads me to the question - does Lair of Dreams stand alone even if it is part of a series.  I think it does, but given what and how much Bray refers to the has people and events in The Diviners, I would definitely read that first.  Both volumes are big, but so compelling, you won't want to put them down until you are done.

Now, I can't wait to read the three volume in The Diviners series.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

1 comment:

  1. My 13 year old might like this series. Sending her your review!


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