Title: Deadly Sweet Lies Series: The Dream War Saga, Book 2
Release: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
This arc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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…
The cover on the left was taken from Erica Cameron’s personal website that was published, and the second cover was taken off of Goodreads. I much prefer the cover from Goodreads, since it fits in with the theme of the first book. You can tell that this is a continuation on the story that was introduced in the Sing Sweet Nightingale (Dream Wars Saga #1). With the actual cover, I feel as if Alice is about to walk out the door and into Wonderland. I can see how this one fits though, since the Balasura typically opens a doorway to their world with a nature scene behind them to lure you in. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
On to the book, short synopsis:
Deadly Sweet Lies starts off about a week before Mari’s birthday. We get two points of view throughout the entire novel, just like in the first one, which I think is great. Julian is visited by Orane, just like Mari, he believes that Orane is the best friend he never had. Nadette on the other hand is different, instead of going into the dreamworld and being seduced by Paradise, she tells every single one of them no. But, instead of giving up and just letting her live her life, the Balasura hunt her and try to weaken her resolve. The main reason they want her is because they want to collect her gift of being able to tell when someone is lying. Which I think is a pretty cool skill to have, she would make a great police detective. So she then runs away to find a safe place.
I just read book 1 recently, so I remembered the events that took place on Mari’s birthday, which also had a big impact on Julian (since he was being used by Orane) and Nadette (I guess because she is special and we need to connect her somehow). It was interesting to see another perspective on the same event that happened 100’s of miles away! After Orane never shows back up, Julian is told that Orane was using him for his power of deception by another Balasura who claims to be on the side of good. For someone who is exceptionally well at lying, I thought he would be able to see the lies that the new Balasura in his life was telling. Especially after he was given a necklace that tells you when something isn’t what you think it is. I figured out the plot twist as soon as the new Balasura came in the picture.
Plot wise, this book moved a lot slower than the first one. It has the same basic plot from the previous but we had more world building in this one. Basically, we have a person with a strong skill go to sleep, get seduced by the Balasura to join their world, person agrees and falls into a coma. That is what the Balasura want, our hero/heroines on the other hand fight them off and gain some if not all of the powers of the Balasura they defeated or got away from. This book was the first one to a T, with a slight variety. A lot more down time, and more relationships are formed.
The main characters were great. I liked getting to know Nadette and Julian. Julian was a relatable character for the most part, maybe not the hustling in Vegas (at least for me), but the just trying to survive one day at a time is. I related more towards Nadette, family wise. You never know how great you have things, until you hear stories from other people who are worse off than you. The supporting characters were decent. I did not like Joanna and her self appointed title of boss. Maybe if we had more background on her and why she is the way she is instead of a bigot I would like her. But as of right now, I don’t. She is very quick to blame someone rather than try to solve the problem at hand.
I appreciated that there was not a normal love triangle, or boy and girl falls instantly in love type of situation. I never really like those stories (some love triangles work out, but most just don’t) and the way that Lexi and Nadette get together is just great. It seems as if every book these days have to have some type of love interest and I am glad that this one didn’t fall into the norm. Although, I think with Julian’s situation, it could have been handled a little bit differently. It just seemed a bit random that all of a sudden one person throws out psychology and he is labeling himself as asexual.
The ending left on a cliffhanger, I will read the third book (hopefully there is one) to find out what happens to Julian and Nadette!