Monday, 24 August 2015

Lair Of Dreams

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!!!!!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Scroll down to the bottom for a treat I've cooked up for you all! Enter the world of the Diviners!

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." Everybody loves her, and they love her "engagement" to Sam even more, little do the public know that it's all a show. 
Letting the cat out of the bag may not have been the best idea Evie has ever had...what with the Shadow Men lurking around every corner keeping tabs on her and her friends.
It would seem that not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners abilities....

Meanwhile, Henry comes across another Dream Walker, Ling, and the two venture deeper in to dreams than they ever have before, pushing their powers to the limit. Perhaps not the best idea when the City is gripped by a spreading sickness, the Sleeping sickness, where people go to sleep and never wake up. Tensions are high as the residents of Chinatown are blamed but it becomes increasingly obvious that there's a malevolent force out there fuelling the sickness. 

Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Okay guys, I tried to give you a little bit more of a synopsis than GoodReads or Amazon had without entirely spoiling the book, I should have used the back cover of the book itself but I finished reading the book at 5am and so this review is being written after a nice long sleep, some time to wallow in the hangover and so on. So the book is nowhere near me. Basically. I hope my synopsis suffices. 

I have waited years for this. Literally, the Titanic 84 years GIF is incredibly appropriate. I had to re-read Diviners so I could remember what had happened. I've got to be deadly honest here. After all of that wait, I found the book to be a worthy sequel, not quite as good as Diviners, but then this book is a whole other ball game and I'll explain that later, either way, I still enjoyed the book. However, I know Diviners wasn't everyones cup of tea and this one may not be either. Fans I think will be pleased. 

We pick up the story 2 months after the end of Diviners and you're immediately transported back to the world, it's like being reunited with old friends. This book focuses more on Henry and Ling which is both good and bad. I wanted to know more about Henry and through this book I did, but at the same time I was sad not to see more of Evie but we did get to see a decent amount of her! Anyways, Evie has a radio show and everything and I couldn't help but smile when it was her first scene and she was doing the show and just being Evie. I should also mention that this is the book that decided whether I am Team Jericho or Team Sam. But more on that later! 

I love how Bray opens these books, and this opening was not as creepy as Diviners (when I went to re-read Diviners my bedroom light flickered as I was reading the first chapter so it was extra creepy), it was more haunting and it gave me chills. I was also incredibly curious about where the place was and who the person was. I was literally burning with curiosity the whole book and like the plank I am I didn't put it all together until way later than I should have but then as with Diviners, Lair of Dreams is full of plot twists and turns that you don't see coming. You have to just sit tight and hold on. 

I continue to love the creepy little POV's of the victims. The first book was all murdery so to me, was very very creepy, like "may have trouble sleeping" creepy. But this one was creepy don't get me wrong, but on a lighter level, I just found it all to be more haunting. Especially as I found myself fully immersed in the world and could practically hear the music in my head. 

The plot definitely thickens in this book. You've got Evie's radio show nemesis and I have my suspicions about her...allegiances, shall we say? There's other fake Diviners coming forward and Evie and her gang are being tailed by creepy Shadow Men. Then there's Sam who's enlisted Evie to help him find out more about Project Buffalo and his mother and what they find is...chilling to say the least. The stakes are getting higher and higher and the web more intricate. Just starting the book I had a horrible sense of foreboding after the dark suit people at the end of last book, and then this entire book I had a sense of something bad was about to happen. Not just because of the dodgy blokes but how the ghosts where acting. This series is definitely building towards something big, like a certain big bad you could say, but I'm not sure whether it will arrive in book 3 or 4. 

Like Diviners, Lair of Dreams has a very rich, very intricate plot. It's complex. There's threads from the first book, threads from the overarching storyline, and then the threads from the plot of this book and for each character and their own lives. All of these threads are woven together in to a plot that is quite frankly as moreish as something really moreish that you like to eat. Basically. You keep wanting to go back for more, and the fact that it has a fairly clipping pace makes it easy to just binge read the book. Literally I read it in two days. I did stay awake until 5am reading it to finish it but shhhh. 

The thing I love is that the books are clearly very well researched. I found myself fascinated by the trains in this book as I had no idea they'd existed before the subway. The information isn't shoved at you all at once in one giant info dump though, it's everywhere. Dialogue, world building, little mentions. You learn all of this knowledge that's threaded in to the plot and it's such a fascinating and rich time, there was so much going on. I loved seeing the news headlines in the book, some of which I know where true because back in school I remember learning about the two people and their evolution theories. When you read Diviners, or Lair of Dreams you get a real feel for the time and New York in that time. You get a feel for the political/religious/social climate, and in this book in particular you get a real feel for what it was like for a certain ethnic group and it was shocking on it's own, let alone when you sit and think about what it must have been like for the person. Or maybe that's just me and it's an actor problem, putting myself in other peoples shoes.

Amongst all this history, the speakeasies, jazz, flappers, racism and suspicion, a supernatural element and story is woven in without seeming out of place. It's seamlessly threaded in, driving the story. The ghosts, Diviners and general occultness doesn't seem at all out of place, it seems like it belongs there, in this long ago New York. For me this book was a whole other ball game. It's mainly focused on the dream walkers, which should be obvious from the whole sleeping sickness thing, and so there's more chapters of Henry and Ling. I think this book was less creepy because it wasn't some serial killer out murdering people, it seemed to be a plague of some sort and you knew something creepy was going on, but it was more....I kind of want to say mellow than the other book in that there where no cut up corpses all over the place. It's got to be said, the dream sequences had a definite dream-like quality to them. I think people who loved the complete creepyness of Naughty John are going to be a bit put out by the change in gears, but then this change keeps the world fresh I think. Rather than having raging serial killers everywhere. 

The blend of historical, supernatural, romance, horror and humour is still a blend that is very well done and that I enjoyed reading every minute of. It's such an interesting blend of genres and I'm struggling to recall if I've come across it before Diviners or not. Either way, Bray makes the genres work together and a lot of the time I'm laughing out loud, usually at something Sam or Evie said. Or in this case trying NOT to laugh out loud because it's a ridiculous time of night. I also think the ghosts and other...things in this book are an original take, I kinda felt like this book at points was like a 1920's episode of Supernatural! It's got to be said, it's one of those books where you end up shouting at the book and the characters things like "NOOO NO DON'T DO THE THING" for instance. 

One of the other things I enjoyed was seeing how all the characters are connected, meaning the ones that don't know each other and haven't actually met. It's really ingenious how it's been done, and then towards the end of this book you could see it all coming together and it's made me so excited for the next book! Not to mention the bit near the end where it catches you up with the characters after events, it's really set up some threads for the next book! 

The world building is the best thing about this book, it's such a rich and lively time and the author brings it to vivid life. You really feel yourself sucked in to the world, you can practically hear the music, smell the smells no matter whether it's one you'd want to or not! I think the references to music, books and movies of the time, even only in passing, for instance a character noting what someones reading or mentioning a historical figure, definitely helps immerse you in to the world, at one point I found myself adopting flapper-esque fashion while reading and slipping out a slang word or two. Although I was sad there where less song mentions and lyrics in this book than Diviners! Either way you can feel the glamour of the time. 

There's a fair amount of slang in the book, and I remember the first time I read Diviners, it seemed so strange to me. On the re-read and while reading Lair of Dreams it just seems natural now. I've found myself slipping some in to everyday conversation, like I said, and just getting the oddest looks, and being like "uuuhhhhhh it's for an acting job". The author makes the slang words seem normal, it's not overdone and seemingly out of place. The author has created a very authentic portrayal of the 1920's with very authentic characters and dialogue. 

I'm in love with the writing. I couldn't read the book without finding some quotes that really spoke to me and where just so beautifully written. There's a lot of thought behind the words which can be seen in certain sections of the book. The writing is so compelling and rich and evocative that it really is the final piece that brings you in to the world of the book. It has such a pull that you can't stop reading and get lost in the world. 

I've got to warn you, this book was heart breaking. Or at least, I thought it was. The "villain" in this book, if you could call it that, genuinely makes you feel for it. It was such a sad story and one that was all too true at the time of the books setting. It's such a contrast to Naughty John who just.....ugh. Hated. But then it got worse because there was a scene nearer to the end of the book, and you're all going to need some sort of coping mechanism, chocolate, wine etc. I'd had a suspicion that I became more and more sure about as the book went on, and it was confirmed, and I love the character so much and the scene genuinely made me shed a tear or two. I NEVER cry when reading. Ever. Books don't generally set me off but this one really, really did. I was just like "Why so cruel Libba, why so cruel?!". 

Speaking of characters, the characters in the book are so incredibly full of depth, with rich and detailed back stories that I love delving in to and always find myself wanting to know more. I think a few questions where answered by delving in to the past of Will and Addie and even Sam some more, not to mention Henry, but I think there's still so much more to know! 

I find myself connecting to Evie and relating to her the most. There's a quote from her that I shared on my Tumblr and literally, that is me. That is how I felt for sooooo long and it was there in words on the page. She's definitely my favourite, she's lively and brave when she needs to be, she's loyal I mean look what she did for Mabel?! But there's more to her beneath the flapper veneer. After what happened last book, she's definitely dealing with a lot, we're talking nightmare material, and she's living for the moment after everything with her brother. She wants to forget what happened and I get that on an entirely other level, she doesn't want to remember all the things she's seen and it makes me sad the others don't get that. She's trying to cope with all the bad things she's seen and experienced in the only way she knows how. 

There's not much Jericho in this book, or Mabel again. Jericho I'm still intrigued by, he's a bookworm but he had that huge reveal last book and I'm interested to see where that's going to go. I find Mabel to be kind of dull but after this book I think she's going to take a surprising turn and I'm excited to see that, see her break out from everyone else's shadow. Theta, like all the other characters, has a very interesting backstory and I'm intrigued to see more, especially as she's dealing with her little secret and trying to stop it. I love her friendship with Evie and Henry. This group has all come together by happenstance and I'm interested to see how Theta is going to handle her power. Theta is the kind of fierce protective friend that also tells it to you straight and I love her to bits! Memphis has a whole lot going on with his brother and another, rather sinister character, and I'm really desperate to see more of him! Henry is another favourite, we delve in to his past more and some questions are answered. He's such a lovely person and I'm always rooting for him. We get huge Henry POV's by the way guys! Get excited! Ling is the Chinese girl we met very briefly in the first book I believe, she has her own POV as well and offers us a lot of insight in to life for the Chinese at the time, which wasn't all that great. She was fascinating to me because of her interest in science, and how she's trying to use science to explain her power. She's also delightfully blunt. 

Sam is probably my other huge favourite. When we first met him in the first book I had no idea he'd be such a big part of the story and in this book we see way more of his past and it only thickens the plot and adds more questions. Sam makes me laugh too much, but he and Evie together have me laughing out loud and snort laughing and rolling on the floor with their banter. Sam has the best one liners and always has a snappy comeback but then he also has a darker side when it comes to dealing with his familys past, and in this book it was nice to see another side of him until it was all ruined because the author was like "here have some angst to make the wait for the next book even worse". 

Time to talk about the romance. The thing about the romance is that it's not the main point of the story, it's just one thread and it's not always in your face. I went in to the book undecided on whether I was Team Jericho or Team Sam, and with the romance usually taking a backseat I was expecting to be 50/50 the whole time. But no. This book has made me Team Sam. Sam and Evie may just be my OTP. Why? Because in the first book you didn't really see Evie and Jericho falling for each other per se. Or at least I didn't. In this book, I really enjoyed watching Sam and Evie banter and then start to fall for each other as the charade went on. So how things where left has left me a little heartbroken. Like I'd love for them to continue the charade in the next book, but I have a feeling Sam will go back to being a douche and they'll be all separate and I'll be sad. I'm personally hoping he'll fight for Evie because they where so cute together it was insane. I got more of a feeling for their romance then Evie and Jericho's I guess you could say. 

The ending of the book and how things where left, not just with my new OTP, has left me wondering how I'm going to cope with the wait for the next book. I just really need Sam and Evie to be all cute and non angsty and things to be fixed. Then there's the threads building up the next book and I'm just like "You can't just leave me hanging?!". I seriously have one hell of a book hangover and I really don't know how I'll handle the wait for the next book. I mean if it's three years again, I might have to do an Evie and resort to drinking a lot of gin. 

Lair of Dreams is a worthy sequel to a book that has lodged it's place in my heart as a favourite. Opening up the book and starting to read was like being reunited with old friends. The world building was beautiful, sucking you in to the world of the book with the help of it's overpowering atmosphere that wraps you in it's thrall. The writing is beautifully compelling and evocative, the characters full of depth and as lively as the times they live in. The romance fun to watch develop, and completely cute. Although there is an impending love triangle, I have every confidence it's going to be well done and a hard one to call. The plot is rich, complex and has a pull that keeps you reading until all hours. It also keeps you guessing, as you navigate the twists and turns of the plot! All in all, Lair of Dreams is a decadent yet hauntingly creepy book, that leaves you wanting more! Please don't make us wait three years again Libba! 

So, now my pesky review is out of the way I'm sure you all want to know what this treat is? This idea I mentioned having? It was actually inspired by the book. All of the lyrics in it, or songs mentioned, I was curious and wanted to check them out, then I realised, perhaps other people would want to know too! Not to mention other things, like buildings and people mentioned so behold my bright idea! 

Linked right below here is a pinterest that I have filled with pictures of New York in 1926 or at leas the 1920's, as many buildings, people, books, movies as mentioned in the book as I could find, as well as a few other interesting things to give you a feel for what Evie's world is like!

I have also created a playlist on Spotify containing all the songs mentioned in Diviners and Lair of Dreams, there are less from the second book but they're all there! I've tried to find the version closest to the time of the book I can, some where harder than others and so some aren't from 1926 exactly but from around about the right time. Actually I think the only song not from 1926 might be the last song which is 1910. Anyways, the songs are in the order they appear in Diviners and then through to Lair of Dreams so you can read along if you like! Enjoy :) 

Get to know the time of The Diviners over on....pinterest!

Follow Alisha's board The Diviners on Pinterest.

Listen to the music of The Diviners right there! 

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