by Libba Bray
Review by KM
In all honesty, I didn’t have a love for Libba Bray’s characters before reading The Diviners. While many of my friends gushed over her books for a long time, I couldn’t get through A Great and Terrible Beauty. I kept hearing things about some of her other books, but my to-read pile was growing taller and I just didn’t fit them on top. That is, until two of my friends sent me The Diviners. I thought it would be rude to ignore it and, really, Libba deserved a second chance from me.
I am so happy that I cracked open The Diviners earlier this summer. It’s a brilliant read that engulfs you into a world of creepy-enchantment and spunky characters.
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.*
Evie was definitely the first thing that pulled me into this book. She’s clever, pretty, and reminds me a bit of Buffy Summers with a dash of Roxie Hart mixed in. Others in the story don’t get as much spotlight, like Evie’s Uncle Will or Theta, but there’s hope that they’ll have their own action in the next book of the series. Along with that cast of charismatic characters running around New York, Evie fits in perfectly.
Now, it’s been quite a few years since I was hugely into historical fiction. I grew up on the American Girls series, but really haven’t read much of the genre since junior high. The Diviners is set in the 1920s, but filled with the supernatural. This book has definitely rekindled my love for the genre. All of the periodical slang, fashion, and lifestyle details left me smiling and wanting to grab the nearest TARDIS and head back in time.
The plot was fast-paced and intense. In the moments I had to put it down, for silly things such as work and family-time, I was craving to pick it up again. I usually find books are either character-focused or plot-focused. One of them is brilliant and the other lags a bit behind, earning the silver medal. The Diviners broke this trend with both the plot and characters tying for gold.
Going along with the plot, the setting was fantastic. Talking about speakeasies and The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies gave a definite eeriness to the book, which I adored. A lot of freedom was given to the characters, more than one could manage to do now in the days of digital technology. The city of New York shone brighter to me through this book than in any of the books I’m forced to read as a history minor. Although not every detail may be factual, it certainly is more enjoyable.
I’m so happy that I gave this author another chance. The Diviners is the start of a series that I’m bound to read over and over again. I just want more of Evie, the 1920’s, and the witty dialogue. Until those come out, I’ll have to go back and read some of Bray’s other books that I’ve missed out on!
*Taken from Amazon.com