Lair of Dreams: Worth the Wait? [Review]

And how!!

First off, if you're one of those people over 40 who have been thinking about trying to read one of those e-books the kids are all taking about these days, then this (and The Diviners) would be the best choice... along with a wifi connection.

Why? Because Libba Bray immerses you so fully in 1927 New York, that it's very helpful to be able to click on a name, or a phrase, or a location, and have Wikipedia/ the internet tell you a little somethin' about Louise Brooks, or The 5 Points, or what a cloche is. (And that's what e-books can DO for you! Otherwise you have to reach over, grab your phone, and TYPE something. Which is actually cumbersome if you want to stay in 1927. Wow... how spoiled are we in 2015?!)

So, dear blog readers, this is my first actual book that I "R2R" (Read to Review) officially for my blog. And what a ride! I was writing on stickies, making notes, asking questions, making connections, referring back to The Diviners, and having a gay ol' time.

Overall, I love that Libba Bray doesn't openly connect the dots for you. She can write a lovely passage about how many people come to New York with different dreams, and in my head I think: oh YA! "New York: City of Dreams"!!! There are other connections to be made throughout the novel, and, while I feel I was a little slow to "get there" sometimes, it still made me feel good that I was solving the mystery alongside The Diviners. Not to mention appreciating Libba Bray connecting the issues of 1927 America with the issues of present-day America.

I think some readers could find The Diviners, and Lair of Dreams a little daunting or intimidating because of all of the contemporary references (to that time period) and slang used throughout the novels. (Hence my advice to read it electronically, or have some sort of internet handy.) It is SO worth looking up certain movie stars, or reading a smidge of the history represented in a single word or street name. With just a few pictures, one gets lost in the world of flappers, prohibition, and promise that was New York City in 1927.

In Lair of Dreams  some of the secondary characters in The Diviners are brought forward to play a larger roll. We learn about Henry, his past, who the mysterious Louis is, and where his passions lie. We meet Ling Chang (briefly in The Diviners), who has a lovely and intriguing back-story. Blind Bill is fleshed out more, as is Sam Lloyd and his quest to find his mother. Evie of course is still the star, but her storyline is nicely balanced with these newer ones.

Lair of Dreams' publication date was pushed back over a year. A. Year. I am sure I was not alone in my disappointment... dismay... alarm... anxiety, etc. I would say that it was well worth the wait. I have compared my ordering Lair of Dreams with the excitement of getting the newest Harry Potter novel. Keeping along those lines, J.K. Rowling rushed the publication of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and as a result it was a weaker book. Libba Bray, I believe, had a vision of what she wanted her novel to be, and made sure it got there. (So back off!!)

Having said that; please oh please, Ms. Bray not another 3 years for the next one!! (But no pressure.)

So my rating is obviously 5/5 stars: 

Quotable from: Lair of Dreams

 (Sam about Evie): He wanted nothing more than to come up with ways to keep her smiling.

As an added bonus, I have looked up some movie stars and art from that time period to "cast" the characters. I know many book clubs will do this, and I'm assuming Chris Hemsworth would be the choice for Jericho, etc. However, using actual people from that time period makes me feel like Evie and friends could actually have existed back then...

So, here are my pics for The Diviners, 1927.

Click on this pic to go to hear some good ol' flapper music!
Possible Evie? Click on this image to hear some flapper tunes!

Retro Flapper
Theta Knight
Theta (Clara Bow - a huge fashion influence)

Ling Chan 
(Anna May Wong: First Chinese American Movie Star)

Henry (Charlie Chaplin)
Henry, Louis & Gaspard, perhaps?
Jericho (Hugh Allen - actor)
Jericho (William Haines actor)
Sam Lloyd (Douglas Fairbanks)

Uncle Will (John Barrymore)

Memphis( Lincoln Perry - actor 1920's)
Memphis (Sidney Poitier - technically BORN in 1927)
Mabel (Lillian Gish)
Jake Marlowe (John Gilbert)   
Picture of F. Scott and Zelda Fitgerald, the "It" couple that Evie and Sam replaced for a time

A painting of 5 Points, New York in 1827 (A good movie based on this time period in New York is Martin Scorses's Gangs of New York [2002])

How did I do? Do you have any other ideas (past or present) for casting? Any recommendations for historical fiction in the 1920's?

Thank you for reading my blog! Leave a comment below!
- Spinning Jenny

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