It’s been almost two years since I read The Diviners by Libba Bray, and as much as I wanted to read the sequel, my TBR has gotten way out of hand lately and it was looking as though I would never find the time to continue the series 🙁
Fortunately, I follow Book Riot on Goodreads. Someone on their team recently listened to the audiobook of The Diviners and that gave me an idea: if it’s a good audiobook, I could listen to the sequel on audio!
It’s a pretty good audiobook. The narrator annoyed me with a few minor mispronunciations, and the voices of the male characters (especially the minor male characters) sounded a lot alike. But overall she did a good job – most of the main characters had their own distinctive voices and she did a great job of making creepy, gravelly voices for the ghosts.
By the way, although I don’t think this book was quite as scary as the first, I did find myself jumping every time a door creaked. I made sure not to listen to it after dark or in a secluded cabin, so overall I was much less spooked by this one.
I loved getting together with these characters again. Evie is suffering some PTSD as a result of her ordeal with the murderous ghost in Book 1. To try and forget, she’s drinking and partying even more than usual, which has created some distance between her and the rest of the gang. Theta is still hanging out with her, but her uncle doesn’t want to have anything to do with her since she sold out by becoming “The Sweetheart Seer” on a local radio station (btw that’s one of the things that annoyed me about this book. Bray makes a few comments about radio shows being heard all over the country, when the fact is radio is very local and Bray has likely been listening to too many podcasts).
Because he’s still working for her uncle, Jericho hasn’t seen much of Evie lately either, though he clearly still has feelings for her and she for him. But she told him in no uncertain terms that Mabel is her best friend and Mabel also has feelings for Jericho, which means Evie can’t betray her by doing anything with Jericho. Jericho responds by going on a date with Mabel, but she sees right through him.
Meanwhile, Evie and Sam start up a fake engagement in order to boost her ratings, but it starts to hit a little too close to home. I loved it because I think Sam and Evie would make a much better couple than Jericho and Evie.
I had largely forgotten about Henry, Theta’s roommate, but he gets a much larger role to play in this book, along with Ling Chan, a brand new character who can also walk through dreams, just like Henry, although she doesn’t appear to have Henry’s ability to suggest dreamers change their nightmares to something more pleasant.
A New Character
Henry and Ling might be in more danger than the rest of NYC at the moment – or they might be the only ones who can save the city. There’s something called a “sleeping sickness” that started in Chinatown, but has been spreading to other parts of the city. Basically, people fall asleep and no one can wake them. Burns start appearing all over their body, but the doctors can’t do anything for them, can’t find out what’s causing them, and eventually they die in their sleep.
It’s not nearly the peaceful death it sounds like because these people start dreaming their most pleasant dreams, but then they’re tricked into promising a ghost that they’ll “dream with her.” As soon as they promise, they get sucked into their worst nightmare and they’re stuck there until she drains them of their life force to help fuel the rest of her dream.
In addition to her dreamwalking, Ling has the ability to find and communicate with ghosts, so long as she has something that once belonged to them. She uses this ability to deliver messages for people in her neighborhood, a service for which she charges in order to fill her college fund. Ling is committed to the study of science and is not deterred by her ability to talk to the dead while walking in dreams. On the contrary, she’s determined to find a scientific explanation for what she’s doing.
After Henry and Ling accidentally run into each other while dreamwalking, Henry tracks Ling down in the real world and convinces her to help him find his lover, Louis. Henry has a hat of Louis’s to help Ling find him, despite the fact that Ling warns Henry she has only ever been able to find the dead.
But Ling finds him and Henry promptly begins dreamwalking with her every night so he can be with Louis and Gaspar (Louis’s dog who died shortly after Henry and Louis met). Ling’s warning and Gaspar’s presence should have been clue enough, but Henry still doesn’t see it. He thinks the Louis he’s spending his nights with is real and even sends him a train ticket so Louis can come join him in NYC.
Meanwhile, Ling makes a new friend named Wai Mei, yet another dreamwalker on her way to the U.S. from China. Her uncle apparently set up a marriage for her to a wealthy man in NYC through a matchmaking firm. Of course, neither Wai Mei nor her uncle have actually met her husband-to-be, which is exactly as sketchy as it sounds.
Henry really should have listened to Ling when she said she could only find the dead because of course Louis has been dead since shortly after Henry left, and Wai Mei has been dead even longer.
Wai Mei turns out to be the ghost who has been killing people to keep her dream going, since her dream is so much more pleasant than her life was. Once she got to NYC (about 50 years ago) and had spent some time as a prostitute for the firm that paid for her passage over from China, she murdered her abductors and ran into an abandoned subway station, which was bricked over while she slept.
Ling manages to defeat Wai Mei, but not before her friend, George, succumbs to the sleeping sickness.
Meanwhile, Theta and Memphis continue their relationship. There are restrictions based on their different races, but the tension in their relationship is mostly from the fact that Theta burned her husband and is probably still legally married to him. As a result, she’s terrified of her gift, seeing it as a weapon that can be used against her as much as against anyone else, and she’d rather be rid of it, if at all possible. She refuses to tell Memphis any of this, which doesn’t help matters.
At the very end of the book, Theta receives a single red rose with a note, addressing her by given name, Betty, and saying “Found you.”
I cannot WAIT to see what happens after that!
What did you guys read/listen to this week? Any other exciting sequels you probably wouldn’t have had time for otherwise?