Lair of Dreams Review

I had been looking forward to the sequel to The Diviners by Libba Bray ever since I first read the mystical historical fiction novel. The writing and characters were refreshing and I couldn’t wait to see how Bray would follow it up— little did I know I’d have to wait years to find that out.


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? – summary

Now the question is, did Lair of Dreams live up to the expectations placed on it by the original? YES! Lair of Dreams was refreshing in a way that I haven’t read in a while! The writing is enchanting and pulls you into this magical world of New York, Diviners, and ghosts! The characters are full of, well CHARACTER! It’s great because they really are the driving force of the story. There aren’t many character driven YA novels so it’s nice to take a break and read one every now and then!

The two things that set Lair of Dreams apart from most other YA novels is the historical aspect and the way the plot is handled. I wish I saw more historical YA novels but ever since The Hunger Games Young Adult has been on a SCI-FI kick and, while it is starting to fade, it is still noticeable. Bray’s writing really shines in the way she describes the changing New York landscape and how the character’s lives are affected by it. Bray fleshes out each and every character with their own personal backstory and personality; by the end of both The Diviners and Lair of Dreams readers truly feel like they KNOW these characters. This developing of characters is brilliant because not only does it make the reader invested in someone when the action starts going down, but it allows Bray to structure her novels with a more character driven arc rather than plot driven. Since you get so invested in these characters you find yourself interested in seemingly mundane things such as their everyday life and how they are going to meet the demand of life, which truly sets Lair of Dreams apart.

Sadly Lair of Dreams had a few elements that did tend to be a little hit or miss— Evie and Sam’s relationship being the main one, but also certain subplots felt more like a tease for a later book and didn’t really go anywhere here. At times I was onboard with the Sam and Evie thing but other times it got annoying and in the way. I’m in no means against it but if the relationship continues, which it probably will, I hope it is toned down. The subplot that I am referring to is the one about Sam trying to find his mother. Yes, there were discovers about his mother made in this book but they were brushed over in the story what did it ultimately lead up to? A set up for a third book.

Overall I did really enjoy Lair of Dreams and I can see myself rereading it! The character driven narrative style and the historical setting really set the novel apart from most Young Adult novels that have been coming out lately. Definitely check it out if the synopsis sounded interesting or if you just want a new and interesting take on the kids with superpowers trend. But don’t forget to check out the Diviners before reading Lair of Dreams!

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