Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray

I’m so glad this was a New York Times # 1 best seller. Mostly because it’s the sequel of one of my favourite books I’ve listened this year. But also because there is so much diversity, it might explode.

See what I did there
The Diviners’ strength was in its tight plot, its charming characters and its 1920s New York allures. The sequel, Lair of Dreams, seems to have a less tight plot at first, because there is so much going on, and not all is part of the main story. There is an underlining arc that continues from the first book which doesn’t resolve here, so I’m expecting at least a third instalment for that to unravel. And if at first I thought I wasn’t going to love it as much as the Diviners, I ended up doing just so.

I loved how the book’s attention stretched onto other characters. Evie is not the main ‘diviner’ anymore. I absolutely adore Evie and loved every second we spend with her, but I was happy to get to know Henry more. I didn’t realise how much of a charmer he really is. I adore him too. And I love Ling. I looooveeeee her. She’s snarky and smart and she’s into science and stuff. She’s also half Chinese, half Irish. And she also has infantile paralysis so she’s disabled. And she’s also kinda gay.


 Oh, and she’s also a dream-walker, like Henry, so she’s one of the gang now.  

Then there’s Theta, who is still super cool and beautiful and in love with Memphis, but I wish the two of them had more screen-time. Or at least I wish Theta had. I love her and she needs a better storyline. Anyway, her relationship with Memphis is another tick on the diversity box as Memphis is black and in the ‘20s it was still a big no-no.

Then there’s Henry who is totally gay for Louis, who is a boy, so let’s tick another box. Their romance is so painful and real and so heart-breaking and just


And then there’s the underlining theme of the constant racism our characters have to face on a daily basis. How the Chinese and the Irish and the Italians are made to feel foreign in their own homes. There are mentions of the KKK and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Of the hardships their parents and grandparents had to face to arrive to America, only to be faced with hatred and abuse when they arrived there.  

It deals with politics, eugenics, science. With homophobia and xenophobia and classism. But also with love and loss and shattered dreams and pain.

I love that there’s a diviner gang now. I hope they gang up more in the third book. And I don’t even care that it’s completely unlikely that so many diviners happen to be friends with one another. I choose to believe that it’s their powers that brought them together (which it might well be, who knows). Because at this stage we have Evie, Sam, Henry, Ling, Memphis and Theta, all divining away. Even Memphis’ brother. The only one who hasn’t been outed yet is Theta, but I figure it’s going to happen soon enough. (relatively speaking, we might have to wait another three years. Oh God.) Then there’s Jericho who is also kinda superhuman in his own way. The only poor normal sap is Mabel. I don’t know what to feel about her, she doesn’t have much to do, aside from mooning over Jericho, who still moons over Evie, who moons over both Jericho and Sam.

Which brings me to one of my main point of interest in the book. The Shipping.


There has been some major shipping going on, of the boy/girl kind. MAJOR. I mean, I already shipped Evie and Sam in the first book. Instinctively, I felt they had a lot of chemistry and I did not see the Jericho factor at all. There was no build-up to it. But this time, oh boy. Libba used an all-time favourite trope of mine, the fake-couple. In this case fake-engaged, instead of fake-married, but it works just as well. Top it up with tons of chemistry and brilliant banter and secret flips of the stomachs that MUSTN’T happen but do happen because the heart can’t listen to reason, and there you have it, perfect shipping material. Not to mention the fact that they’re made for each other. I just wish we didn’t have to deal with a love triangle. I fucking hate love triangles. I hope Jericho really falls for Mabel and that’ll be the end of it. This sequel definitely seemed to steer in this direction anyway, although it threw in some good ol’ angst between Sam and Evie for good measure. So we’re left with oozes of UST and Angst but no resolution. Which is fair enough, as it’s only the second book. But please let them be endgame. I ship them so hard, you guys.


I haven’t even mentioned the main plot yet. And the main villain. Which turns out to be really spooky. Not as flat out scary as Naughty John. This one was more layered with emotions, but still creepy as hell. There really was a terrible death. So, so terrible. I can’t even think about it, it’s the true stuff of nightmares. And then there are more terrible deaths, and people disappearing in the tunnels, and there are more ghosts and sleeping sickness and creepy dreams… I didn’t realise how scary the story was until I listened to it at night. I realised I had skipped some parts so I went back to it, so happy to have another hour or so still left. But I made the mistake of going to bed first. Do not make the same mistake. I started being scared of the dark, of creepy veiled women with a music box lurking in the shadows, telling me to dream with them with their demonic voice. Of smiling ghosts with sharp teeth running after me.

Just don’t read or listen to this after dark. You’ll be fine.

Now I only need to sit tight and wait for the next book. I need to know about Project Buffalo, about the mysterious men stalking the museum, about Will and Sister Walker’s secret mission, about Sam’s mother, about those cards in that office and what they mean, about Blind fucking Bill and when he’s going to be found out and stopped, about the man in the Stove Pipe Hat and about the eye with the lightning strike over it.

And I need to know if Sam and Evie get their shit together.

And I also want a new boyfriend for Henry and a girlfriend for Ling. 

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