**A massive thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for providing me a digital ARC of this novel**
I won’t bemoan the wait for this novel — though it has, indeed, be quite long — for one very simple reason: it was so, so worth it.
Pos-i-tute-ly worth it.
When I read THE DIVINERS in 2013, I noted that Ms. Bray has mastered the linguistic art of writing dialogue filled with historical vernacular while simultaneously keeping from feeling dated and stale. There’s something about her writing that immediately immerses the reader into the period — here, back to the world of 1920’s New York City — and, for lack of a better term, sparkles right off the page.
Yes, the dialogue — and the characters speaking it — are what drew me in, it was the creepy and at times downright terrifying mystery that kept me flipping pages…or, you know, fearing to flip them. Our episodic villain from DIVINERS, Naughty John, has been replaced with a different kind of antagonist here in LAIR OF DREAMS; and this one finds a way to destroy its victims with their own dreams.
Pause a moment: this scares me more than Naughty John.
I won’t deny that Naughty John was a chilling antagonist in THE DIVINERS. But someone who can destroy you inside what should be the safety of your own mind? Your own dreams? That, to me, is far more terrifying. It’s why NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is one of the few horror films that ever actually kept me up at night: someone taking you at your (literally) most vulnerable. The rest and respite of sleep suddenly turns on the sleeper and, so, you can imagine what happens when all of the Big Apple makes all efforts to avoid what they dub the “Sleeping Sickness.”
Tension. Lots and lots of tension. An exhausted mind is a more frayed mind…imagine a city entirely on edge.
Through it all, our characters fight to solve this small mystery while continuing to investigate the mystery of Project Buffalo. No spoilers but, yeah, that’s some of the best parts of the novel. That overarching plot goes further into whatever dark, twisted finale Ms. Bray has lined up for us — trust me when I say that I’m not so sure I sense a happy conclusion at the end of this tunnel.
Whatever the case, this isn’t just a great sophomore entry into a fantastic series, it’s just a damn good book. Chilling, glitzy, and, well, pretty divine.