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The Diviners

The Diviners

Book rating: 04 Hardback Diviners

By (author) Libba Bray

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Hardback | 578 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 51mm | 862g
  • Publication date: 18 September 2012
  • ISBN 10: 031612611X
  • ISBN 13: 9780316126113
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 20,186

Product description

"Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?" 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, Ziegfield 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.... Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray opens a brand-new historical series with "The Diviners," where the glittering surface of the Roaring Twenties hides a mystical horror creeping across the country.

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Author information

Libba Bray is the author of the "New York Time"s bestseller "Beauty Queens," the 2010 Printz Award-winning "Going Bovine," and the acclaimed Gemma Doyle trilogy. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at www.libbabray.com.

Customer reviews

By Kate @ Fictional Thoughts 05 May 2014 4

Banished from Zenith, Ohio for a party trick gone wrong, Evie O'Neill intends to enjoy her punishment in New York. Staying with her Uncle Will, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult (known to by most as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies), and his assistant Jericho, Evie manages to find trouble wherever she goes. At times that trouble might be tracking down the closest speak-easy in the middle of prohibition, and others it could be stumbling upon a gruesome murder where only Evie has the unique talents to solve.

Evie is feisty, cheeky and her own particular brand of trouble. Her gift of psychometrics gives her the ability of holding an object near and dear to someone and knowing their deepest and darkest secrets. And there are the dreams. Two years ago they started bringing a sense of fear and death. But Evie isn't the only one who started dreaming and having unexplainable powers. Memphis Campbell, Sam Lloyd, Henry DuBois and others are all somehow connected but the how and why is still a little murky.

I liked Evie. She's full of spark and trouble and at the beginning she is the kind of person who just wants a bit of fun. There are times when she shows just how bad a friend she is to people like Mabel and her disregard for anything but having a good time makes me wonder why her parents didn't ship her off sooner. But she's energetic and the kind of personality that makes you want the best for her despite the fact that she doesn't seem to want it for herself.

The supporting cast is well crafted and interesting to read. Memphis and his knowledge of the clubs and gangsters in Harlem, Sam Lloyd's street smarts, Jericho's support and secrets and Theta's glitzy life as one of the Ziegfeld girls. They all bring something exciting and different to the novel giving it a rather diverse nature.

The Diviners is a story about the supernatural, a mystery and murder and they work perfectly together. There is an occult killer on the loose, choosing his victims according to some kind of religious text. It's gory and as creepy and Uncle Will's museum - and the gruesome murders are somehow linked to Naughty John, a monster who was captured and killed fifty years ago. This is a book which feels well researched and relevant to the time in which it was set. I don't know a lot about the 1920's but from the vernacular to the outfits and geography of the times - it felt authentic.

I loved the mystery and how it played out at the end. There is a lot which is still to be discovered and I'm eager for the next book to see just what happens next for The Diviners. If you are looking for an interesting book, set in a decade full of mystery and glamour along with a brilliant cast of characters and a villain who has to be read to be believed - this book is for you. Try not to be intimidated by the size because if you are anything like me - once you start reading you won't want the story to end. Lair of Dreams, the second book in the Diviners series, is expected to be published in 2015.

By Brenna Staats 02 May 2014 4

Libba Bray is a master of Young Adult paranormal (in my opinion) and The Diviners is perfect proof of that claim. The Diviners is a creepy, bold tale that will leave your heart pounding in anticipation.

Reasons to Read:

1. An eerie, macabre storyline:

I'm the kind of person that likes to be scared... but just a little bit. And The Diviners struck a perfect balance between some of its more disturbing scenes and humour/mystery to ensure my nightmares weren't horrific.

2. Part murder mystery, part ghost story:

There's a difference between reading true crime and ghost stories, but somehow the lines end up blurred here. The evolution from one to the other is flawless with its gradual development and slow reveal of the mystery. And I liked the inclusion of both aspects, which are similar yet distinct, because it appealed to both my curious nature and my imagination.

3. A real Roaring Twenties atmosphere:

This is positively brilliant on Libba's part. I have rarely read a book with such a strong sense of atmosphere which completely consumed me, and without losing my interest. The incorporation of appropriate slang, attention to detail in the descriptions, and the setting itself all reflected the time period and it really stood out to me.

I had some mixed thoughts on the characters, however. I didn't love Evie but I didn't hate her, either. She's clearly a flawed character and far from perfect - I don't mind that at all and think that's a rather accurate reflection of a teenage girl. I don't want perfect characters. But I never felt like I truly connected with her, and I think that can partially be attributed to the sheer number of characters introduced and the switching points of view. For this reason, it also seemed to take a while for the plot to build, and overall that's where the book suffered.

Importantly, there were a few too many subplots which were briefly introduced yet without any follow up. It's clearly a set up for future books in the series, but I wasn't a big fan of the simple introduction without any development whatsoever.

This story is so unlike other books I've read that even with its weaknesses, I adored it! It's an exceptional YA book, and Libba Bray has impressed me yet again with her talent for weaving a story and immersing me in the reading experience.

Review copy received from Hachette Book Group Canada for review; no other compensation was received.

Review quote

* "The book is big and wants to be the kind of thing you can lose yourself in. Does it succeed? It's jake, baby." ""Booklist ("starred review)""