Friday, September 25, 2015

'Lair of Dreams'

It's not easy finding a sequel that is just as good as the first novel.

When I find one, I get very excited to read it.  "Will this keep me reading until the early morning hours?".  If it's good, I take it to work, or I read it in the bath tub.  I'll even forget about Facebook and Twitter.  Who needs social media when you have a solid story waiting to bewitch you?

And especially now.  Halloween isn't far away, and it's time to start reading spooky-scary stories.  One of my current reads is a new collection of Shirley Jackson's stories (but not all of them are spooky-scary.  Some are very ironic, though, which is scary in itself).

But the book I just finished reading is the second novel in Libba Bray's 'The Diviners' series. 

'Lair of Dreams' doesn't entirely concentrate on Evie O'Neill, the protagonist from the first novel.  She's there, alright, but the story slowly showcases two characters, one being new to the group (and I hope to read more about her in the next book).

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner.  With her uncanny ability to read people's secrets, she becomes the star of a radio show and soon earns the title, 'America's Sweetheart Seer'.  As a publicity stunt, she and her friend, Sam, pretend they are romantically involved, which brings both tremendous favor with the public.  But a darkness soon descends, and Evie is pulled in, despite the fact that she prefers to go to various parties and drink until morning.  

Pianist Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident, Ling Chan are two Diviners trying to keep their powers a secret; they can walk in dreams.  And the dream they are both pulled into is but the surface covering of a dark evil that is threatening to take innocent souls hostage via the city-wide 'Sleeping Sickness'.  Henry searches for a lost love, and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, but once they are pulled into the dream, they find a friendship that can only make them stronger.

Author Libba Bray
Although this book took me a bit longer to read, I still spent two days happily submerged in a story that is set on the cusp of the 1930's. The characters from the first book appear, and I'm glad that Bray didn't abandon them.  I learned more about their backgrounds, I loved watching some of them take charge of their responsibilities (while some tried to run away from them), and I was intrigued by the romantic relationships that bounced back and forth. But, most of all, I loved the mysticism, the eeriness of the whole series.  It was so atmospheric and a great 'pre-Halloween' read.

But a great surprise was the way Bray managed to insert Gemma Doyle (heroine of Bray's 'Gemma Doyle' trilogy) into the story. Just a short appearance, but enough to make me wonder if she'll be included in the third book.

Make it so, Ms. Bray.  Make it so.

'Lair of Dreams' by Libba Bray, and published by Little, Brown and Co., is available in hardcover at your local library and favorite independent bookstore.  ISBN 9780316126045

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