review; the diviners

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Pub. Date: September, 2012
Summary: 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.
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy

You know how there are certain authors who are practically deified their fans worship them so much? I’m not one to give in to hype – I’ve definitely been let down in the past. That said, guys. I wish someone would have given me a thorough shaking and forced Libba Bray upon me earlier. The Diviners was my first introduction to Ms. Bray and I can assure you it will not be the last.

Naughty John has come home. And he has work to do.

With an eerie childhood-lullaby-gone-wrong, John Hobbes announces his presence. It has been over fifty years since he was last among the living and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

Meanwhile, in a tiny Ohio town, Evie O’Neill is eager to sprout wings and fly away. Her thoroughly modern ways are too much for the town and after a parlor trick exposes secrets, Evie finds herself on a train bound for New York to live with her uncle. Not that she minds of course. New York is far more her scene. She has big dreams and she certainly won’t reach them back home in Zenith.

However, life isn’t all fun and games for Evie and her friends. A string of gruesome murders happens and Evie’s uncle finds himself in the midst of it all.

It’s no secret I’m a HUGE fan of the 20s. The blog’s name, after all, pays tribute to Gatsby! The Diviners sounded absolutely fantastic and it exceeded all expectations. The writing is flawless, the imagery and slang make you feel like you’re actually there, and the horrors can feel all too real in the middle of the night.

“If you feel strongly about it-”
“I do.”
“Then you may do what scholars do when they feel passionately about a subject.”
“What’s that?”
“You may visit the library,” Will said.

There were a lot of characters in this book. Normally this leads to cardboard cutout, stock personalities. I’m overjoyed to say that is not the case with this book. Each character is beautifully fleshed out, from Evie and her Uncle Will all the way down to the minor characters who only show up for a few chapters. I really have to hand it to Ms. Bray: she knows what she’s doing.

I was incredibly impressed with the explanation for how a dead man was able to return to life and continue his mission. A lesser author would have fallen flat on that one, but Libba Bray had an entirely believable story.

All the little shout-outs to things happening in the world at that time were great. The Fox sisters, the sudden popularity of Ouija boards, the Scopes Trial. Small things like that not only made me smile, but also showed Ms. Bray really did her research.

“Prohibition? I drink to its health whenever I can!”

The only thing about this book that bothered me was just how much Evie liked to drink. At times it seemed she was bordering on addiction. She accepts bribes of alcohol, and multiple times she goes on about how desperate she is for a drink. By the end of the story it seemed that this slowed a bit, but for that first half it felt as though all Evie thought about was gin.

I’m still a bit unsure of my feelings for Jericho’s secret. The story behind it was fantastic, but I sort of feel as though the book strayed into steampunk territory. That said, he’s still a wonderful character and I was left speechless at the end of the book.

Clocking in at nearly 600 pages, The Diviners is a lengthy book for any genre, let alone Young Adult, but I was captivated the entire time. I actually felt I read it a little too fast! This book could have been a few hundred more pages and I would have gladly gobbled it up.

If you still haven’t yet read The Diviners, I urge you to do so. I absolutely loved this book and that cliffhanger of an ending will make the wait for the second book absolute torture.


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