Book Review: Lair of Dreams (Libba Bray)

lair of dreamsI always love Libba Bray’s writing and Lair of Dreams, the second installment in the Diviners series, doesn’t disappoint. The first book was one of the best speculative fiction novels I’ve read in a long time for younger and older readers alike. What Bray does so well is mix together genres and characters in unique and interesting ways and somehow makes the whole thing work as a cohesive and moving narrative. This series blends historical fiction with steampunk with mythology, and contains a large and wide array of sympathetic and intriguing characters. As with most series, I enjoyed the first book more than the second partly for the novelty value and partly because second books often drag in terms of pacing as the author sets things up for the final installment. I felt that way a little bit about Lair of Dreams. It’s a huge book and I tore through it but it didn’t have the same impact on me as the first largely because I already knew the characters and setting and the first book was simply a hard act to follow. That said, Bray made the smart choice of introducing new characters and situations in this book and expanding the readers’ insight into her paranormally fantastical version of the Roaring 20s. It’s one of the best time periods to choose for setting up a bright and bubbly narrative over the top of some purely evil and dangerous threats. The themes of the story match the decade perfectly. The love stories continue to unfold beautifully and I enjoyed the fact that the Diviners are now out in the open and the public is having to deal with people with supernatural powers. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series. I would recommend this series for young and older readers alike. Don’t be put off by the length. Even with the slightly slower pacing of the second book, it’s still a fast and highly engaging read.