Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (4/5)

25 Jun

It’s been a few years since I read the first book in this series but I was able to pick up right where I left off. The first book was really memorable and I adored it. Unfortunately, we have a bit of middle book syndrome in this one.

Cover image via Goodreads

Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

Other books by Bray reviewed on this blog:

The Diviners (Diviners #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

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’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess… As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

This started out really strong for me but ended bittersweet. We start with a new villain and a new Diviner. Adding one to the crew isn’t too much so I’m OK with this. We have some development, especially between Sam and Evie and of Henry’s character. At the very end, we get a bit of Theta. So, overall, good character development. And good buildup of the series villain, the King of Crows. But the defeat of the book villain, the Veiled Woman, fell flat to me. Once they figured out who she was, getting rid of her was too quick for me. It was like Bray realized she had too many pages and tried to end it quickly. I would have liked to see a little more struggle for her ghost to be put to rest. Maybe I’m in too much of an editing stage in my book to be reading.

Bray creates wonderful characters. Each has unique quirks and ticks and I thought their speech and worlds were unique and wonderful. She does a good job of having diverse characters: Ling and the Campbell brothers bring racial diversity while Sam has religious diversity and Henry has LGBTQI+ diversity. It doesn’t hit you over the head, but it’s there. Bray also ties in a lot of subtle hints at eugenics so I’m guessing this will come into play at some point.

I liked Henry the most, I think his character was the most dynamic in this book. He opened up about his sexuality and was vulnerable to Ling. He also made some headway in his career. And he made mistakes and got emotional. It was very real and I appreciated that. I think he’s set up to be a very strong character in the third book.

I think all the characters were relatable in some way. Henry had an emotional spell, which we all do. Evie is depressed but won’t talk about it and is drowning herself in fame and alcohol. Maybe I haven’t been there, but I can understand wanting to escape. Memphis and Theta had a serious rough patch and I think every relationship has been there. With a wide variety of characters, this book had a lot of relatable moments.

Libba Bray
Image via Barnes & Noble

Ling’s story was my favorite. She had a very rough life even though her family loved her and she was smart. She was dealing with her disability and the loss of her friend at the same time, not easy to do. She’s also in a weird place being half Irish and half Chinese. She doesn’t feel like she fits into either world but everyone sees her as Chinese. I can see how she’d be very lost and angry so thus defensive. I thought she was really well fleshed out.

The ending was too rushed. I would have liked to see our heroes hurt a little more as a result of defeating the ghost, but they seem ready and able to take on the next book and challenge. It just seemed like the ghost in this book was almost an afterthought.

The audiobook was narrated by January LaVoy and she was wonderful. She gave a unique voice to each character and nothing felt dumbed down or rude. She was also great at building tension through scary parts. I didn’t want to listen to this while I was running in the dark because it freaked me out!

These characters were often dealt bad hands. They’ve found each other to work through them. This is a non-traditional family of characters, especially Theta and Henry. Both had to leave home in a hurry and both are afraid to lose each other. I thought the reliance on each other and family was really sweet.

Writer’s Takeaway: It stuck out to me that Bray did a lot of head hopping. In a single scene, we’d know what Henry was thinking and what Ling was thinking. Both Sam and Evie would share their intentions and ambitions. Normally, it’s distracting. But, honestly, Bray killed it. I bought every world and loved it all. This is a great example of what an experienced writer can do that amateurs shouldn’t try.

A great build-up but a disappointing end. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1920-1939 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Talk- Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray | Musings of a Book Nerd
Review: Lair of Dreams | Gun in Act One
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray Review 5/5 | Blogs of a Bookaholic
Book Review: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray | The Owl and the Reader


4 Responses to “Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (4/5)”

  1. jabrush1213 June 25, 2019 at 4:05 PM #

    Great review! I love how you add in your own views from a writers point of view.


    • Sam June 25, 2019 at 7:46 PM #

      Thanks! I try to learn about writing from every book I read. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person


  1. Challenge Update, June 2019 | Taking on a World of Words - July 1, 2019

    […] Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy (4/5) Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (4/5) Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens […]


  2. Book Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (5/5) | Taking On a World of Words - August 10, 2020

    […] Diviners (Diviners #1) Lair of Dreams (Diviners […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: