Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: The Diviners

The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Page Count: 592
Source: Gifted ARC 
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy/Paranormal

I have long been a fan of Libba Bray, but this novel is an amazing creation that will enthrall and terrify readers. The Diviners is hands down my favorite Bray book. I am in awe at the amazing ways in which Bray combines historical fiction, murder mystery elements, and a heavy dose of the paranormal to craft a compelling story and such amazing characters. There is so much going on - this is a mammoth read at almost 600 pages - but I enjoyed every single second. This is one of those novels that you don't want to end - I found myself limiting how many pages I read each day so that I could savor this one for a bit longer. I am already mourning its ending and longing for the next edition. If you enjoy the Roaring 20's and paranormal tales, this is a must read.

One of the best things about this novel is the characters. I loved them all! Bray's characters are so complex; I find it fascinating that she can make me love them in spite of their flaws. Evie, the high spirited flapper, will keep you in stitches and on the edge of your seat. That girl has more courage than sense at times. She rushes headlong into danger and a special ability that allows her to know your secrets. I found a new literary kindred spirit in Evie and I can't wait to spend more time with her in the future. I loved the others as well: Theta, Henry, Memphis, Jericho, Sam. I could write multiple paragraphs on their abilities and purpose in the novel, but I think I'll let you experience them for yourself.

The plot of this one is amazing and dark. I loved the blend of 1920's culture with the paranormal. Bray flawlessly weaves together fact and fiction. The result is a novel you won't be able to put down as your adrenaline pumps and your brain frantically tries to piece together the clues. I did have some trouble getting through some of the murder scenes - they were so well written they gave me the chills - but they were essential for moving the plot forward. Prepare yourself for some gruesome and creepy moments as you read. There were moments while reading this at night that I had to stop to turn on all the lights. My imagination coupled with Bray's writing created a potent mixture of fright.

In addition, I also enjoyed that the book focuses on some important social justice issues such as racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and class warfare. Bray does not sugar coat the time period - she tells it like it is. As a historian, I appreciate the authenticity; it makes the fiction even more compelling. 

This is a tremendous feat that Bray pulls off beautifully. Every book she writes just gets better and better. It has been quite some time since I have been this immersed and excited about a novel. The moment I finished I immediately began texting people to add this to their "TBR Lists".


One Last Gripe: I wanted to see Evie and Memphis interact more. I have a hunch I'll get my wish in a future book.

My Favorite Thing About The Book: I loved everything - the writing, the characters, the setting, the plot - I can't isolate just one favorite element.

First Sentence: In the town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.

Favorite Character: Evie

Least Favorite Character: Jacob 



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.



12 comments:

  1. The only thing by Libby Bray that I have read is a few short stories from some anthologies and I loved her writing. I'm thinking that this will be the novel I grab first, it sounds so good.
    Great review.

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    1. In my opinion, this is Bray's best novel. It would be a great one to begin your Bray reading adventure. I hope you love it as much as I did.

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  2. This is on my shelf to read from the library and I just haven't gotten to it because of its length. I hope to read it over break! I don't think I've seen a bad review of it yet. Thanks for your thoughts!

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    1. This one is quite the beast. I couldn't put it down and devoured it in three days, but I can see why the length would put some readers off. It's a large time investment.

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  3. I've read real mixed reviews for this one. I've had a hard time getting into Bray's writing style. I have it, so I'll read it, but probably not soon.

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    1. Bray certainly does have a style that isn't for every reader. I have loved all of her more recent books. I couldn't get into the Terrible Beauty books though. I love that books can speak to people in different ways.

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  4. Just placed an order for this- it's been on my want-to-read list for ages. Hopefully I like it as much as you did :)

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    1. *fingers crossed* I hope you love it too!

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  5. You are right about this being a mammoth read. And you are right about another fact. Every moment of it is enjoyable. I loved this book. I don't read a lot of historical novels. There are few that make me happy. This made me happy. The roaring 20's is one of the periods that I love. The Diviners is a beautiful story. Gorgeous in every way. The characters are so incredibly well fleshed out they jump right off of the page. The plot is strong and it builds and builds from page one. The creepiness sneaks up on you, showing itself once you try to turn out the lights. I love it. I can't wait to check out book 2. No doubt it will be mammothly epic!

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    1. So nice to meet another fan of this book. I have always been intrigued by the 1920's, but I never took the time to study it much during my time as a history major. Other time periods always clamored for my attention and won. It's nice to immerse myself in the 1920's via fiction. It's such an interesting time period. I also loved that this novel combined two of my passions - history and paranormal.

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  6. Its nice to see a book set in the 20s--I have always thought that this was a great time period...especially for the paranormal. thanks for the review.

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  7. I haven't read much surrounding the 20's so I'm really inteseted in this one, plus it's Libba Bray! Thanks for the review, this sounds like a great read!

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