Friday, October 4, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Evie O'Neill is making the move from small-town Ohio to New York City.  Her unusual gift (and her mouth) has forced her family to send her to live with her uncle until things blow over.  Uncle Will runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (or The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies as it's known around town), with the help of his assistant Jericho.  As Evie begins her stay in 1920's NYC, she has dreams of fabulous parties and adventures to last a lifetime.  What she doesn't count on is a supernatural stirring that is taking over the city.  When a series of grusome murders seems tied to some sort of cult, Will is asked to help (and Evie, not to be left out, tags along).   She soon realizes that the gift that got her exiled from Ohio could actually help catch a dangerous and evil murderer.

With an incredible cast of characters, The Diviners gives readers a mystery and so much more!

I read this book for book club, so if it wasn't for that I probably never would have picked it up.  It's so far outside of my comfort zone that I just don't seeing it ever getting on my radar.  I mean it's Historical Fiction AND Supernatural... two genres I generally never read.  Maybe because this was so different from my usual, or maybe just because the writing was so awesome, I found myself loving it right away!!

I have never read a Libba Bray book before, but I can pretty much guarantee this won't be the last.  I didn't read much of the synopsis before I started, so I went in pretty much blind.  I read one page and I was like "oh this is in the 20's??" and I wanted to quit.  There's just something about Historical Fiction that just turns me off.  But I pushed through... oh woah, I am so glad I did.  It got SO interesting and even though the book is huge (578 pages), I flew through them because I was hooked.

My favorite part of this book was all the characters.  Normally a book with so many main and side characters would have me confused.  Somehow that didn't happen at all here.  Every character had a story and a purpose.  And they were all so memorable.  You have troublemaker Sam, flapper/Ziegfeld girl Theta, sensible Mabel, strong and silent Jericho, sensitive Memphis, thick-headed Isaiah, set-in-his-ways Will,  blind homeless Bill, good guy Henry... and of course head-strong Evie and so many more.  And I loved them all!  (Ok Jericho was kind of a yawn for me, but still...)  My favorite was Memphis, but I don't think I'm alone in this.  Hello!!  Smart, sensitive guy who writes poetry and can heal people??  What more do you want?  Evie, however, was something else.  I enjoyed having her as the main character, but it's hard not to have a love-hate feeling towards her.  She was such a smart-ass!!  Especially for the time period!  But at the same time I respected her courage and related to her inability to hold her emotions in.  Her immaturity could definitely turn some people off, but she had enough redeeming qualities that I think people will be able to like her eventually.

I could tell this novel was the product of a ton of research.  The way the era and city was painstakingly described was definitely a high point of this book for me.  The atmosphere totally captured my imagination and has me wanting to read more about the history of New York.  Some of the dialogue seemed a little forced and irked me at times, but all the "and how"'s, "giggle water"'s, and "pos-i-tute-ly"'s had me grinning most of the time.

If I could point out an observation about this book it would be that it seemed very adult.  It's not the subject-matter or anything like that, it's just.... something.  A feeling that I have that it's written more for adults who read YA than it is teen readers.  I could be totally off base, but even my book club mentioned it, so it's not just me who's feeling it.  Maybe it's because most of the characters are either adults or teens who live adult lives or maybe it's just the vibe I got, but something about it gave me the teens-won't-like-this-as-much feeling.

Bottom line: I can't wait to read the sequel!  I look forward to seeing if/when these Diviners team up to defeat evil!!!

OVERALL: WOW!  Definitely a favorite for me.  I never read Historical Fiction, but this one made me want to try out more of them.  It's one part mystery, one part paranormal, and one part historical.... and all parts creepy and addicting!  Definitely a recommended read from me.

This Book Contains:

  • Ghosts, cults, and supernatural abilities
  • A creepy mansion lair
  • A creepy museum
  • All things 20's!!!!
  • Flappers
  • Underground dance clubs
  • An African graveyard
  • 1920's lingo

My Rating:


How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 9/18/2012


  1. Never heard of this book before, thank you for the tip :) Looks like a good book, this I have to check out sometime :)

  2. I've walked past this book a million times without picking it up; something about the cover turned me off. I think I'll have to add it to my to read list though because it sounds fantastic. I'm slightly obsessed with both the supernatural and historical fiction so I can't wait to give it a try.

  3. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR list. I recommended it to my students as good Halloween reading, but I've yet to read it myself. Thanks for helping with my decision!

  4. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR list. I recommended it to my students as good Halloween reading, but I've yet to read it myself. Thanks for helping with my decision!

  5. I literally just finished reading this book this morning and have a lot of the same feelings as you! I ended up only giving it three stars, but there were a lot of things about it that I really loved...namely the characters, the writing, and the setting. I also totally agree with you about the adult nature of this book, and said something about that it my (not published yet) review as well.

  6. Wow! Thanks for the review! Ill add to this to my tbr list.Looks a good pick up book.

  7. I love Libba Bray..... unfortunately I haven't yet read this one, but won a ARC awhile back. Your review only entices me more! Thanks!

  8. I enjoyed this book when I finally picked it up this past winter. I got it at BEA in the summer of 2012. Hoping maybe they'll have part 2 ready for giving away at BEA this summer. Great review!