Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Diviners review

The Diviners
Libba Bray
September 18th
 Atom Books

It's 1920s New York City. It's flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It's after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it's the opportunity to party like never before.

For Evie O'Neill, it's escape. She's never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she's shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she's always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.

But New York City isn't about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren't crimes of passion. They're gruesome. They're planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can't solve them alone.

Evie wasn't just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first.

Seeing as this book comes out in a month, I should probably be withholding this review for a while, but I just loved this book so much my love for it is pretty much spilling out from me. I know that some people won't like this book, or might find it slow or difficult to get into, but I feel like this book was basically written for me or something. I mean, I love the 1920's, I love books about crazy horrible murders, and I love books with a kind of supernatural vibe! And even though the length initially put me off, I knew from the moment I started I would be finished with it soon.

I really liked all of the characters (of which there were quite a few) and seeing how each of their stories intertwined, and I was really glad that the main romantic subplots took a while to take before and become one of the focuses of the book. Regardless, though, I was so sucked into the plot that I almost didn't want a romance because that would get in the way of finding out what was going to happen next! Seriously, I was completely gripped. I really just didn't want to put it down. Which, for a 600 page book, is quite an achievement!

I liked Evie a lot, and I'm not sure whether it was because her storyline was the one most entwined with the main plot, or just because I really liked her character and her personal development, but I found myself as I got further through the book that I was only really interested in the Evie parts. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the other characters and their side-plots, because that simply isn't true! And I'm definitely really excited to get to learn more about Sam, Jericho, Theta, Memphis and Will in the next book. Almost as excited as I am as finally finding out what the 'Storm' is and how it's going to relate to the Diviners! I also cannot wait for all of the characters stories to properly intertwine, because in this book some of the main characters only met each other once or twice, and I just want them all to meet each other and, like, sit in a trust circle and talk about their powers and be psychic best friends or something.

I must talk about Naughty John. As much as I love creepy books, I don't read nearly enough of them, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised by the kind of Supernatural Murder-Mystery plot in this book. I'd been told by other people who'd read it that it was creepy, but I hadn't really believed them. Well, they were right. This book is CREEPY. The fact that it's written in 3rd person and changes it's focus character quite a lot (think Cassie Clare) means that every now and again we get a chapter where one of the murders happens, and these were some of my favourites in the book. Especially because we never really find out what happened to the bodies until Evie sees them, or Memphis sees them in the next chapter. And for the first few murder chapters, I was a bit like What the Hell is Happening, Who Are These People, Why Are They Dying, but as we learn more about Naughty John and why he does these things, I found myself really looking forward to these chapters. That sounds kind of sick, I know, but they were really good! And as the book goes on, the stakes just get higher and higher as the people getting killed start to be people that we know in the book, and it's just so good! I won't tell you about why Naughty John is killing all these people, but I will tell you that it's a really interesting and disturbed reason.

I loved learning about all of the main characters powers, and getting to see some of their backstory that we wouldn't have gotten if the whole book had been written from Evie's point of view. And I actually really liked Evie's power! I was so glad that she wasn't given the Most Special-ist Power In All The Universe, because that is something that kind of annoys me, and I was really glad that she put her power to such good use. At the beginning of the book, I was worried I wouldn't like Evie all that much because she could seem a bit selfish and I felt quite disconnected from her, but she turned out to be a really brave and determined girl, even if she did make some foolish decisions. She always (or usually) tried to do what was right, despite how she maybe wanted to be perceived, and she still was a bit selfish, but I was really glad to see her friendships so important to her.

If you couldn't already tell by the kind of ruched, nonsensical, rambly review, and the repeated use of exclamation marks at fairly inappropriate places, I completely loved this book. And I want to make everyone read it, even if they don't love it (though they so SHOULD.) I really need to read more of Libba Bray's books now, don't I? Because I have no idea how long I'm going to have to wait for the mysterious Second Book. 


  1. 600 PAGES?! Whoa. We are really looking forward to this book, but we may have to work out in preparation for holding it... :P

    "I was so glad that she wasn't given the Most Special-ist Power In All The Universe, because that is something that kind of annoys me, and I was really glad that she put her power to such good use."

    Yes! That sounds like two big check pluses to us!

    Also, creepy mysteries = win.

    Thanks for letting us know what to expect. Your excitement is contagious!

  2. AHHH! So jealous that you've already read this! I need it desperately.

    Great review though :)

  3. I can't wait to read this, I knew from twitter that you loved it but love the rambly review too! ;)

  4. Lovely review, I can't wait to read The Diviners. Love the 1920's revival in YA too.
    Katja @ YA's the Word


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