The Diviners by Libba Bray
Release Date – September 18, 2012
Publisher Website – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 608 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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."Prior to The Diviners, I had not picked up a Libbra Bray novel. I can safely say it will not by my last. An atmospheric, creepy, and dark read that brings a surprising depth to it’s murder/mystery plot.
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.
This novel is quite hefty and yet reads much quicker than it’s page length. The world building is mind blowing and each of these pages progresses either the world, or it‘s characters. Libba Bray’s writing conjures up her 1920’s setting, but it’s her occult/paranormal world building that had me begging for more. The research she did is reflected not only in the detailed accuracy of the glitzy 1920’s setting, but her research into the occult also shines. This novel is filled with elements that set up the next instalments and left me wondering how interwoven certain plot points are going to be once the series is created.
Each of the characters are developed and complex. The cast of characters is quite large, and time is taken to introduce the reader to each of them. You can not help but be drawn to them, flaws and all. Evie, the feisty, and adventure seeking flapper. Theta, the beautiful, and damaged Ziegfield girl. Jericho, the quiet, studious assistant to Evie’s uncle. Memphis, a numbers runner and poet with charm to spare,. Mabel the good girl daughter of hardcore activists. The characters have secrets and we slowly unravel them. Libba Bray allows the characters to show us their motivations, rather than tell us. Each character grows and changes throughout the novel in believable and organic ways.
There were a few scenes where my heart was pounding out of fear for these characters I had become attached to. The large cast allows for a heightened level of worry and fear. Each of the characters is given a lot of attention which result in an equality that makes them feel vulnerable in the story. As a reader, having this unpredictability was refreshing.
The killer is everything you want them to be in a story like this. He is, smartly, grounded in real evils from the time era and mixed chillingly with the occult. The religious cult aspect to the story lends a creepy feel to many scenes. Scary, formidable and relentless are just some of the words I would use to describe him. The fact that he is just as complex, and developed as the other characters makes for an intriguing character.
The ending sets up the next stage of the story and The Diviners is just getting started. Once the meaning behind the novel’s title is revealed you will be left with baited breathe waiting for the next instalment. A gripping, character driven murder mystery that will transport you back to the 1920’s effortlessly.