ARC Review: Lair of Dreams-Libba Bray

lair-of-dreamsGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copyAfter 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?

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re hungering for diversity. Lair of Dreams lights on class issues, politics, disability, abuse (trafficking), racial issues, eugenics, and LGBT relationships. 
  • You love historical fiction or history in general. There are so many important issues raised that you quickly become engrossed in the colloquialisms, manners, expectations. Everything is made of speakeasy lingo and the old time euphoria of the early 1900s. 
  • You’re looking for something creepy crawly and horrific. The mixture of multicultural folklore, ghosts, and governmental coverups will make your skin crawl. 
  • You adore Libba Bray. Each book is a new, wonderful surprise with multidimensional and unique characters set in intriguing places rife with crime and mystery. 

PROS:

  • Diversity galore. Early 1900s beliefs and politics couple with each character. They all have something to overcome and work through. Historical truths like the Chinese Exclusion Act, the rise of the KKK, and raids on underground LGBT clubs all find their place in this unique story. Not only do we get to see conflicts that are relevant and the United States struggles with to this day but you get the different perspectives. From the extremely religious, from the Chinese restaurant owner, from a young gay lover who wants to find his place, and a woman who is hiding from an abusive past. There’s a little bit of everything and you’ll feel for every single character. 
  • Mysteries that started to develop in book one are even more prominent. The clues are everywhere. Everything is connected. The layering is astounding. 
  • The ghosts are out of this world horrifying and totally ghastly, a cross between malicious poltergeist and zombie, between their hunger, the chilling sounds, the music box song, and the general way they skitter and widen their jaws to eat people alive, have fun trying to sleep with the lights off!
  • Evie is far from the focal point. Each character has his or her part. I loved the mix of culture and drama. Romance is on the horizon for each character. It’s messy, complicated, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, another twist is thrown in. 
  • The dreamwalker world is intensely detailed and vibrant. You can picture everything and here, the emotions are larger. Desire meets desperation and happiness goes from total ecstasy to utter devastation. It’s a rocky, bittersweet, and often scary place. 
  • Ling and Henry quickly became my favorite characters. Their situations are fueled by haunting encounters, desire, and a strong thirst for freedom from the oppressive gaze of society. Ling is unexpected. A young girl with a disability that she won’t let rule her, she pushes past the bullies and the bigots, she uses her brain and things of science, working on becoming a future famous inventor. Henry’s past is intoxicating. His life on the bayou, his romance, the strict upbringing all took me by surprise. 
  • Sam. You can never really know a person. Just when you thought that Sam was an insufferable flirt with fast hands and a tendency to rob people blind, always looking for the next con, the past comes out like a slap to the face. Suddenly Sam has all this hidden depth that you don’t quite know what to do with. His hurt, confusion, and determination all center on his missing mother. He’s got feelings, true, brutal emotions that lurk just under the surface of his carefree attitude. 

CONS:

  • There are even more character POV swaps than the last book. Though all engrossing stories with their own contributions to the plot, it can be a little overwhelming, especially in a book 600-odd pages. The constantly flip-flopping back and forth actually left way more questions than answers. 
  • It took ages for the clues to build up to the point of uncovering the truth. For a novel that is set during a time span of less than a month, it felt much longer. 

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2140278420934582The-EmpathJPG e-book Awoken by Sarah Noffke

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Review: The Diviners- Libba Bray

3.5/5 Stars

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)- Libba Bray

diviners

“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…”

Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?”

“No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.”

“I weep for the future.”

“There’s where the martinis come in.”

“There is no greater power on this earth than story.” Will paced the length of the room. “People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense-words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions-words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.”

“There’s nothing more terrible than absoluteness of one who believes he’s right.”

Plot: Set in a time of prohibition and prejudice, The Diviners is full of mobsters, flappers, illegal substances, glamour, and magic. Evie O’Neill is a spoiled girl who lives for giggle juice, dancing, and living life to its fullest. Evie has a gift, she can see images when she holds on to an item, sometimes they’re just fleeting flashes, others there’s a whirlwind of emotions, images, and secrets. In order to escape a scandal in her Ohio hometown, Evie is shipped off to Manhattan with her estranged uncle Will. Evie thinks that Manhattan is the perfect place for her, a place where everyday is a marvelous party full of fun and excitement. She never expects that in Manhattan she’d be faced with a series of brutal murders or that she’d be forced to help out in her uncle’s museum of Creepy Crawlies. Throughout the serial killings, Evie begins to learn a little more about herself, about a group of people with powers to save the world known as Diviners. Evie is convinced that she can help solve the murder mystery but when the killer gets wind of her involvement things start to spiral out of control. An uprising of religious fanatics known as the Brethren grows as the horrific murders increase. The Brethren worship the second coming of the beast or devil and believe that 11 offerings must be made to the cause. The 11 offerings are the grisly murders themselves and each has an equally sinister line of scripture attached to it. With the upcoming reappearance of Solomon’s comet, Evie and her band of friends must come together and solve the murders before the beast rises from the dead to his full power and hell reigns on earth.

PROS:

  • All of the characters are fully developed and unique with their own back stories.
  • Deliciously creepy. If you enjoy scary movies like Paranormal Activity or Insidioius you will probably love the small elements of just downright bizarre and terrifying details. Like haunting whistling, black crows, and shifting doors.
  • The murders are described in all their gory glory, each as gruesome and bloody as the next.
  • The Russian element is fascinating, how the Bolsheviks and proletariat are included nicely parallels the political changes with the social changes of the early 1900s.
  • Sam, Jericho, and Memphis. If you are looking for a new heart throb to fall in love with search no further. There’s variety galore. Memphis is a starry-eyed poet, who is also compassionate, thoughtful, gorgeous, and goes out of his way to help other. He is also a healer. Sam is a Russian, handsome, mysterious, hilarious, a swindler, and just an all around swoon worthy bad boy. Jericho is a nerdy, tall, strong, attractive man with some startling secrets. He loves to read and is constantly broody and researching. 🙂
  • Theta. Theta’s story is one of the most complex and most heartbreaking in the book. She is a survivor above all else and powerful beyond belief. For someone who is not the protagonist or heroine she is definitely worthy of such a spot on her own.
  • Told from several perspectives.

CONS:

  • This book was so LONG. At nearly 600 pages it could have easily been cut in two. The whole read was daunting, time-consuming, and a little tiresome. This is not because reading lengthy books is problematic for me, War and Peace is one of my favorites as is The Brothers Karamazov. While the story is both engaging and well written, plot-wise, it would have been stronger if it had been cut into two books.
  • If you dislike period pieces and are apprehensive about colloquialisms then this book is not for you. However, once you get the hang of the old catechisms, it has an authentic, fun, flair that draws you in to the 1920s.
  • Evie. As the main protagonist Evie is hard to like, she’s extremely selfish and doesn’t really have a lot of depth or goals but by the end she is definitely redeemable. Give her a chance, she gets better.

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Tragic news guys, my MAC charged broke! Thankfully it is under warranty so hopefully these reviews will be more regular. Once again, I’m sorry! Things have been so hectic and I am so far behind on reviews.

-BB