Monday, September 28, 2015

[Review] Lair of Dreams (#2) by Libba Bray

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 26/08/2015
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 613
Source: For review
Genre: YA - Historical (14+)

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
My Rating: 

Captivating - what a thrilling read!

My thoughts

OMG, 'LAIR OF DREAMS' WAS SO GOOD! This is an example of a really good sequel to a series! It has its own storyline and plot, and the characters are developed well, in that the author didn't depend on the first book to serve as their only characterisation. The overarching plot of the series has vastly widened, opening up towards grander things in books to come!

The characters are such a delight. 

They all have their own demons they need to face. I don't think I've encountered any other author who has a talent of writing many different characters, able to give life and substance to them as individuals. I'm as always sensitive to the inner turmoils and mini tragedies that people undergo, which all these characters face in their own ways. Sam- of actually being seen for who he is and letting anyone else in, Mabel- identity and unrequited love, Jericho- being seen for who he is, unrequited love, freedom, powerlessness, etc,etc.

I found myself reading this book every free moment I had. 

I even brought this book to work! (I only ever bring a book to read on night shifts because we're normally too busy otherwise.) I just could not pull my eyes away, it was a masterfully strung together plot existing within 600+ pages. The description did get a little excessive at times, but it never detracted from the plot and character building long enough for me to want to put it down for long.

I loved the attention to historical detail.

 The segregation and racism towards Chinese people... This is the first time I've seen it addressed in a YA novel. Ling really grew on me. I think it's an important angle of American history and hope it is explored further in the next book. The slang and places and fashion and descriptions were little touches that went a long way. A good historical fiction novel is achieved when you know the author has done their research and they place you seemingly without effort in that historical point in time.

The romance was just... How do I even begin to tackle this topic? 

There are so many bittersweet feelings attached here, and as always I found myself being swept away by it all. Henry's pursuit for his long-lost lover Louis just tugged on my heartstrings and would not let go. And of course, the love triangle, or rectangle--point is, it's still a bit of a mess. We saw traces of it in 'The Diviners', but in its sequel we see more of it being played out. I'm all for Jericho and Evie. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the stoic man with a heart of gold, though I do feel for Mabel. I know how unrequited love feels, and I can only imagine how much harder it is when you see the one you really like be enamoured by your best friend instead of you. To want the best for those you care for, whilst also secretly resenting everything and feeling the unfairness of it all. But all in all, I'm interested to see how these relationships develop in the next book. I can't help but feel invested; there's just something about these characters that I can't get out of my mind, and along with that attachment is my desire to know how they all get on.

I loved the exploration of dreams in this book, and dream walking sounds like a power both glorious and terrifying.

I like how, in true Bray fashion, the concepts related to dream walking and the dream world and the sleeping sickness, etc, were revealed gradually. Bray writes tension and suspense to perfection and I remember distinctly that I had that rare experience of completely losing myself in a world within a book.

I'm eager to see how everything ties in.. What is the bigger picture here? Why do these people have extraordinary powers? What is Project Buffalo and how did it originate? And so on. I'm just full of questions, but I have no doubt Bray will reveal the answers in her own time.

Until then, we are left to speculate in the dark.


First line: Every city is a ghost.


"'If I could dream of any place, I'd dream of a cabin on the bayou,' Louis had said at the time. 'A little cabin. Fishing boat. A newspaper fulla crawfish ready to eat.'
'Would I be there?' Henry asked quietly.
'Wouldn't be a good dream if you weren't.'
And just like that, Henry knew what it was to be in love. (115)

 "'Perhaps there are things that exist only because we make them so, because we must.' (318)

 "Evie sat up, glaring. 'I did not come to this party to hear a lecture from you, Sam Lloyd. You steal people's wallets. Don't act like you're better than I am.'
'Me? Sure, I'm a thief and a con. But not you, kid. Unfortunately, you care. I know you.'
'No you don't,' Evie said, lying back again. 'You just think you do [...] But nobody really knows anybody. We're all just a bunch of Pears soap ads walking around clean and neat, ready to wash away to slivers.' (403)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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