“The people are afraid now. Too much history rises from the graves. Ghosts take shape in the cornfields. Behind the factories. Along the rivers. At the creeping edges of the cities and towns. They burn brightly like a secret revealed. The night is illuminated by truth so sharp it scrapes breath from the lungs of those who finally see. The people are anxious for vague reassurances.
But this is the history: blood.”
(Before the Devil Breaks You 314-315)
1920’s New York City has a new major problem that only Evie and the Diviners can solve: an infestation of ghosts. Evie and company essentially become Ghostbusters while trying to solve the mystery of her brother’s death and Project Buffalo.
The stories of our protagonists continue—Evie, Theta, Mabel, Ling, Jericho, Sam, and Memphis all undergo major changes in the latest Diviners installment.
I have to say that while I immensely loved this book, I was a little disappointed in yet another cliffhanger ending. I suppose this means the series will continue, which is good, but some parts seem to drag on. I thought the pacing of this particular installment was a bit off—I felt the same way about the third book in Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series (The Sweet Far Thing). However, that being said, Bray’s writing continues to be hauntingly beautiful, laugh-out-loud funny, and downright terrifying by turns and I will pretty much read anything this lady publishes (grocery lists included).
I recommend every novel she has published, but if you haven’t yet read Beauty Queens, I suggest you hie thee to a library and check it out. Just don’t read it in public unless you want people staring at you while you break down into fits of hyena-worthy laughter.
Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel beam, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or a filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new facade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was once a battleground, which became a saloon and is now is a park. ~Lair of Dreams
Lair of Dreams is the sequel to Libba Bray’s Diviners. It features much of the same cast (Evie, Jericho, Theta, Memphis, Mabel, and Sam), except the focus has shifted to the dream walkers–Ling Chan (who only had a brief cameo in the first) and Henry DuBois. Ling Chan is a resident of Chinatown, which is under threat from a mysterious sleeping illness. If anyone should be able to get to the bottom of the sleeping sickness, it should be the dream walkers, right? But Henry and Ling are pulled into the enchanting Lair of Dreams–where they not only walk in, but can shape dreams. And it will eventually be up to all the diviners to help Ling and Henry banish the ravenous ghosts of the past.
I was definitely NOT disappointed by this sequel to the amazing Diviners. In fact, the writing and the characters were just as solid as in the first. Evie is quickly becoming a live-for-the-now, constantly partying, flapper girl. Sam is becoming more desperate to find his mother and Project Buffalo. And Memphis and Theta’s relationship grows ever more complicated under the weight of both of their secrets. I love the diviners, each and every one. Libba Bray has crafted some insanely lovable characters and in this sequel, we get to learn even more about Ling, Henry, Sam, and Theta.
I recommend the Diviners series to anyone who loves a good historical and fantasy fiction blend. Or, basically, I recommend this series to anyone who loves to read anything amazing!
This book begins with a plane crash. We do not want you to worry about this. According to the U.S. Department of Unnecessary Statistics, your chances of dying in a plane crash are one in half a million. Whereas your chances of losing your bathing suit bottoms to a strong tide are two to one. So, all in all, it’s safer to fly than to go to the beach.
~Beauty Queens, Libba Bray
Beauty Queens is action-packed, hilarious satire that can somewhat be described as Lord of the Flies with teenage beauty pageant contestants. However, this book is so much more than that simple description. Yes, the girls crash land on what seems to be a deserted island and at first are in shock over what has happened and try to maintain their beauty pageant rituals. But soon they realize that they must come together in order to survive. As the girls learn from each other, stick together against giant snakes and smooth-tongued, “bodacious” pirates, they become strong enough to be able to take down their true enemies.
This is a bad-ass, hilarious, and heartwarming novel, which I recommend to all and any girls: even those of us who are beyond our teens.
Below are just some thoughts I have on the novel, but these include some mild spoiling!
The Diviners is set in the roaring 1920’s in New York City. Seventeen-year-old Evangeline (Evie) thinks she has finally escaped hard times when she is sent to live with her uncle Will in Manhattan, where he runs the Museum of Creepy Crawlies. Evie is full of flapper spirit and life but also has a secret: by touching the objects of others she can divine their secrets and memories from their past. She and her uncle and her uncle’s stoic and mysterious ward Jericho work to solve a string of strange murders that may have to do with a fanatical, occult/religious group and a diabolical spirit come back from the dead.
For such a large, daunting story, Bray does a wonderful job of juggling it all and keeping it interesting and suspenseful. Although this book is close to six hundred pages in length, I couldn’t put it down, and so it read very quickly. Equal parts creepy and beautifully written, this is one haunting read that anyone interested in supernatural fantasy or historical fiction cannot pass up!