by Libba Bray
Read: October 2 - 8, 2013
Published: September 18, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Historical fiction, Supernatural, Horror, YA
Series: The Diviners book 1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
1) I waited over a year from when it was first published, to read The Diviners. My reason for this is that I am a shallow girl who likes HEAs and I've clued into the fact that Libba Bray does not often grant them - at least in the way I want them to happen. I was afraid of investing in a series and being destroyed at the end of it. I'm still slightly fearful of this. But I don't regret reading The Diviners.
2) It took me an entire week to read this book, which may not sound like a big deal, but it's a long time for me. Not only is The Diviners nearly 600 pages long, but it is richly steeped historical fiction, spine tingling horror, as well as a large and complex cast of characters. I loved every minute of it.
This book made me feel
Transported to New York City in the 1920s.
The Diviners is incredibly well researched, from the sights and sounds of New York in the mid 1920s to the dialect and popular phrases - giggle juice, cloche hats, bobbed hair, flapper dresses, Ziegfeld follies. All of it was a feast for my senses and brought this story to life. I am astounded by the amount of careful crafting that went into creating the context for this story. Not only is The Diviners accurate historical fiction, but it also captures the spirit of the roaring twenties. The rush of excitement in this time period, the focus on the spiritual, but also more sober areas of tension and unrest.
Afraid of what lies in the darkness.
This book freaked me out, which is one reason that it took me so long to get through it. The Diviners is not for the faint of heart. A serial killer is on the loose in New York, enacting strange cult like murders, and no one can find our catch him. Probably because it's clear from the beginning that the killer is already dead. How is that possible? Some of the things that happen are pretty dark, and I could only handle so much of it at a time, before I had to put it down and remember it's just a book. However, this was the perfect spooky story to usher in October - and the perfect review with which to say good by to the month.
Mesmerized me with their complexity.
The Diviners has a large cast of characters, and details about them are revealed deliciously slowly. Most of them have yet to be unraveled completely, but I've already fallen for so many of them. I enjoyed finding out the different ways they were connected to each other in the past, speculating how they'll connect in the future, and especially trying to figure out their special talents and secrets. First impressions aren't always reliable, and friends or enemies can be lurking around any corner. I wrote out a detailed list of more than ten characters with the hopes of working them into my review, but then decided that it got to be too much information, and it's more fun to discover them all for yourself, anyway.
One character demands that I talk about her.
You might say the star of the show is Evie O'Neil, or at least she'd want you to think that. When the book begins, Evie lives in small town Ohio. One night she goes to a party, gets drunk and wants to impress her friends. You see, she has the ability to touch an object that belongs to someone else and read their secrets in it. But the truth she reveals about another person gets her into trouble. As punishment Evie is sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York. To Evie, this is much more of an opportunity than a punishment. Little does she know that everything about her life is about to change.
If I'm honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of Evie in the beginning of this story. She seemed a little too silly and shallow for my tastes - more interested in herself and having a good time than anything else. But one of my favorite things about this book is how much I fell for her throughout the course of it. Evie doesn't really change tremendously within this book. But I got to know her better, realized that there was much more to this girl and ended up falling for her flaws and all. My impressions of Evie were mirrored by another character in this story, whom I will not name but also fell for.
Now I can't wait for Lair of Dreams to find out what Bray has in store for us next. I don't doubt it will be brilliant.
Love Triangle Factor: So hard to rate in a book with this many characters and POVS. But I'll say MILD for now. There's one potential love triangle brewing, though I hope it doesn't turn into anything too strong. I'm also not convinced it will actually be one.
Cliffhanger Scale: Low