Friday, September 7, 2012

Becky's View: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray
♦publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
♦released: September 18th, 2012
♦hardcover, 608 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ALA

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-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

Review:  This was admittedly one of those books that I went to ALA in hopes of getting my hands on---as soon as I heard it involved divination, ghosts, and that fabulously glitzy 20s era, it had me wrapped around it's little finger.  And I was not disappointed.  Libba Bray's writing is phenomenal, I don't think I've read a book where I felt more fully engulfed by a setting.  The amount of research that must have gone into completely immersing her readers in all the glamour, the music and dance, the indulgence, the events,..the whole feel of the 1920s---just astounds me. But at it's heart, The Diviners is a serial murder thriller, with a very creepy paranormal twist to it.  

The story introduces us to so many really great characters living around New York City who will each be touched by the grisly murders in one way or another: Evie, a young, mouthy, and slightly wild flapper girl who is new to the big city; Memphis and little Isaiah, two brothers who've lost their mama and been abandoned to their aunt's care by their father: Theta, an ambitious dancer in the Zeigfield follies, living her with "brother" Henry; Sam, a sharp-witted pickpocket in search of his mother; so many more...Jericho, Mabel, Uncle Will, Gabriel.  All of their stories kept me fascinated as they unfolded. Most of their lives begin to intertwine as the story weaves on, but all of them are holding tight to mysterious secrets about powers that none have quite gotten a grasp on yet themselves.  There is also the killer himself, who is as dark as they come, shaped by the sick beliefs of a religious cult and returned from the dead to finish what was set in motion 50 years ago.  The murders are gut-wrenchingly horrific, so brace yourself.

My one small complaint is that more of the amazingly brought-to-life characters that we grow to root for and love were not an integral part of the big fight and resolution of this book. I actually went into this book not realizing that despite its whopping 600+ pages, it was planned as a series and there would be no solid ending for many of the storylines were built up.  When I finally realized it, sure, it made it more acceptable that the other characters would probably each have there time to shine somewhere in the next books, but somehow it didn't change how I felt in wanting them more involved in the ending of this one. Still, the ending that we do get is exciting, explosive, and a great finish.

The Diviners is a fantastically told story, with nearly as many laughs at the wild flapper antics and witty comebacks as there are bone-chilling moments as each murder victim gets claimed. Full of mystery, wonder, humor, horror, and even a little bit of romance---I can't wait for more of this series.

Visit Libba Bray: Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase The Diviners at:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •   Indiebound


  1. Sounds gooood. I've been contemplating this one. But I'm not going to lie, it's size is daunting.

  2. It definitely is, Juju..and I haven't seen the finished copy, but the ARC did not have the larger type and the bigger line spacing that you usually see in YA. But it was gooood!

  3. I really enjoyed this book and felt mostly the same way you did. For such a huge book, we didn't really get that much closure. I still really enjoyed it though and the setting was fabulous. Oh, and that may be one of my most favorite book trailers...EVER. Great review.

  4. I enjoyed you review! I can't wait for September 18. :D


  5. I can't wait to get stuck into this - I love the 20s. Thanks for the review!

  6. Glad you liked this one - I've heard all good things! I have to wait until I have a free day or two to read this one as I have a hardback and it's so big and heavy that I can't carry it around with me!

  7. I'm still not sure about this, and it really threw me off when you said it was 600 pages.
    Although I am intrigued and love historical fiction and murder mysteries, so I might give it a try. :)

  8. I've always said that Bray's period pieces are where she really stands out. Nobody can write about the roaring 's or Victorian England and make it as fast paced and immersive as she can. She's great at description and at plot so I can't wait to see what she does with this book. So glad you enjoyed it!