Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Me on Lair of Dreams

Title: Lair of Dreams
Author: Libba Bray
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

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." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities... Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Lair of Dreams is as mysterious as the first, as lengthy and involved as the first, and hints at so much more just as much as the first did. Secrets abound in this series, secrets often left unspoken until it's almost too late. Until it is too late.

There's a cast of connected characters so large here, sometimes it's hard to keep up with who knows who and who hasn't met yet. Evie. Sam. Jericho. Theta. Henry. Memphis. Isaiah. Ling. Evie's uncle Will. The two men in the brown car. The woman in the veil. The man with the tall hat. What is clear is that Evie's not as in the driver's seat this time around as she was previously. She's too busy settling into her new role as famous radio darling and Sweetheart Seer. Instead, the mysteries of the sleeping sickness are left more to Henry and Ling, the Chinese girl with the green eyes, to uncover.

As with the first book, there's a heavy dose of racism, sexism, bigotry, and class warfare running through New York. Rich white people looking down on poor black people. The Irish and the Italian crime families. Chinese immigrants hoping to keep working in order to send money back home to their families. Men with more control and social mobility than women. Young men and women having to hide that they're not attracted to members of the opposite sex for fear of being branded unnatural. People working long hours every day in order to keep something that resembles a roof over their heads. It's depressing and heartbreaking, how familiar it all sounds. The words that glorify America while at the same time shames it for its racism and economic inequalities. In the moments where America is talked about, where the voice of the story reaches out across the country, there's hope. Hope for the future. But knowing what happens between then and now, knowing what wars and hatred followed, makes it bittersweet.

It's hard to write a review of this book. There's so much that happens to so many different people, so many secrets they keep. So many different agendas, some good, some not so good. Because of all these agendas, information is rarely shared. They will all have to come together if they want to survive the night. If they want to survive their dreams. If they want to face who is on their way to them. The King of Crows.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Hachette Book Group through NetGalley.)

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