The Diviners, Libba Bray (The Diviners #1)
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Chicago Public Library
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-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
This was my first Libba Bray book but it pos-i-tute-ly will not be my last. Yes, it did take me a bit to get used to the Roaring Twenties language here, but I really enjoyed this book in the end. Evie O’Neill is easy to adore. Our Evie is sent in disgrace from her hometown in Ohio to live with her Uncle Will in New York City. Will runs the “Museum of the Creepy Crawlies” and is an expert on the occult. Thank goodness he is, because the ultimate in dark creepy crawlies is murdering New Yorkers and trying to take over the world. Evie has a secret gift, but up until this time she’s really only used it for entertainment. Will, his assistant Jericho, and her friend Mabel make Evie realize she can do some good in the world and still play the part of a New York City socialite.
This book is loooong – but in the end it felt definitely worth the time reading because Bray has it packed with characters running all over New York. Aside from Jericho and Mabel, Evie falls in with a Ziegfeld dancer, Theta and her roommate Henry; Memphis, a Harlem numbers runner; and Sam – who begins by pickpocketing Evie and ends up working at the Museum with a hidden agenda of his own. Evie is definitely the star of the show – and as I said she is a fantastic character. She grows up as the book goes on, but never loses her sense of adventure and eagerness to experience the world. She’s much more than the good time girl she appears to be.
I loved the completely different sides of New York City that Bray takes the reader to. I really felt I was there in the 20’s – in a speakeasy, on the docks, in Grand Central Station. The Diviners will scare you – not just with the murders, but with the talk of eugenics – I was completely creeped out at times. Then there are the Diviners themselves! I loved how every character that we meet with a magical talent is different. How will they work together? Or will they not work together at all? I cannot wait to see where this series goes!
So we have murder, we have magic, we have romance and we have the Roaring 20’s – all in one book. If any of these appeal to you get to reading!
Next on my list is to review the sequel Lair of Dreams which is out tomorrow!
I think I have a copy of this to read somewhere. If not, I know it was something I wanted to read at one point in time. I will have to check to see where I stand with that…
I understand that! Too many books to keep track of them all. Why I’d be lost without goodreads!
I think the library has it
Always the best way
Sounds good…but I’m not sure if I’m crazy about the cover though
I don’t disagree – but it makes sense with the book so that helps!
I found it really interesting to read your thoughts on this book – I read it last year and while I found the premise fascinating, there were things that didn’t work for me too. I struggled a bit with how long it was and with the setting/lingo – it didn’t quite work for me. But I’ll be interested to see what you make of the sequel, as I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll give it a go!
It took me a bit to deal with the lingo for sure – and if you weren’t into it -this was LONG. But I am trying to review #2 right now – I’d say give it a try!
Yay! This is my favorite of Bray’s novels that I have read (I haven’t done her contemporary ones yet) and I just finished book 2 which is equally fantastic! It’s funny because this one has a lot of fantasy elements but it is also my go-to recommendation for readers who want a solid historical fiction title.
I really liked Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy and I also plan on reading more of her books 🙂