Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga #2) by Erica Cameron (2015)
YA Fiction | Paranormal Fantasy
“Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.
Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.
Julian Teagan is a master of deception.
To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.
Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…” -Goodreads
Expected Kindle Publication Date: December 8, 2015
pooled ink Review:
Deadly Sweet Lies is told from two new POVs, Julian and Nadette, both characters only ever briefly mentioned in Sing Sweet Nightingale (Dream Wars #1) but whom take center stage in the sequel.
Julian is Mariella’s cousin and at the end of the previous book we find out that this cousin of hers has run away. He’s been no more than a name brought up maybe twice until this book. His gift? Manipulations and deceptions, but don’t freak out because he’s a good guy. But yeah, he has the uncanny ability to shape people’s perceptions bending them to his will.
Nadette is Horace’s granddaughter whom at the end of the previous book we find out that she has also run away. Almost never brought up until Horace flees to go find her we now get to step right into her life. Her gift? An unnaturally strong ability to tell when someone is lying to the extent that even she can’t lie without choking on it.
Two runaways. Two stories. One safe haven.
The war that began (for us anyway) in Dream Wars #1 snakes out to Julian in Nevada and Nadette in Florida chasing them together in an attempt to survive the wrath of the dream world demons. Chasing them until their stories collide briefly with Mariella’s and Hudon’s towards the end syncing them together.
This book picks up a bit before where the last one left off (using Mariella’s 18th birthday as a reference point) but it does so with a new pair of eyes. The book introduces you to Julian, whose life sucks, and to Nadette, whose life is a toss-up between sucking and being pretty great, before merging the timelines of Mari, Julian, and Nadette with the destruction of Orane on Mari’s 18th birthday. Something great about this sequel is that you meet more of Orane’s victims, meet other demons, and you finally get that glimmer of hope that not all Balasura are evil because they’re not. In this book you finally meet some of the good guys in the dream world. (Which is a relief because, I’m gonna be honest, I highly doubt a few teens could take down an entire demon world so it’s good they’ve got some powerful help on the other side especially when you find out that Mari and Hudson are rarities in the power spectrum).
Story-wise the plot thickens. We meet more survivors, learn more about the Balasura, and we finally explore this supposed safe haven Dawn discovered located in Alaster, New York via the almighty internet.
One thing that I felt was a bit random was by the middle of the book everyone’s sexual awakening comes up. Like, what? Nadette and Lexi finally hook up and then Beth goes all psychologist tossing out the idea that Julian may be asexual. I get including all of this with the purpose of continually developing characters and Cameron managed to write it in somewhat seamlessly but it still seemed like an incredibly random detour and was almost irrelevant to the plot. I mean demons are hunting you down to kill you. Have your sex talks later, people. Also in all reality (and particularly considering their circumstances) what teenage boy is going to order a stack of books online about sexuality and then it’s even more unlikely that he’ll ever read them. Dude, imagine that awkward conversation if Vasha or anyone walked in on him. Look, I’m not hating on the author’s choice to expand the sexual orientations of her characters, I just wish that if she must make a big deal about it that she would have somehow made it more natural to the plot. It just comes across more like a “hey I really want my characters to be different and contemporary and complex and I want my readers’ minds to blast open so sit and listen while I insert a whole slew about it.” I’m just more interested in demon-hunting personally. Much more exciting.
(Small note to those of you who have actually already read this book: the whole Lawson family visit seems rather unrealistic/unlikely. I mean honestly, they’re not running just some summer camp.)
Oh and I called the chaos at the end of the book from chapters away picking up on all the subtle clues about green. Muahahaha! (I know this is vague but when you read it you’ll get it).
Otherwise yeah, the plot was solid and the story was pretty good. So despite a few nicks and tid-bits here and there, dang, I still found this book entertaining, fast-paced, and a bundle of great paranormal fiction. If you read the first book and enjoyed it then you’re gonna love this one and it ends with a big cliff-hanger that will keep you panting until Cameron writes what will happen next. But in my personal opinion I think you’d have to be a definite paranormal fiction fan to really get into this book or this series at all.
Seriously, if you’re a paranormal fan then check out this series. The Dream Wars Saga is interesting, always changing, keeping you on your toes, filled with crazy demons and magic crystals, the works. Deadly Sweet Lies is a solid sequel in the Dream Wars Saga.
Purchase here: Deadly Sweet Lies
Check out the rest of the Saga: Sing Sweet Nightingale (The Dream War Saga #1)