Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 2012
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Setting: New York City in the 1920s
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, 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 unfurled 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.
Talk about immersive. Libba Bray is a fantastic storyteller. She knows how to create a world in which the reader effortlessly loses him or herself. From the streets of New York, to the speakeasies, to the museum, this novel is full of atmosphere. And the language! I often caught myself using the 1920s slang in conversation, lol. The reader has no choice but to be completely drawn into this story and the lives of the characters.
Evie, our protagonist, is all too ready to lose herself in the swinging 1920s of New York. She looks before she leaps and can be selfish and oblivious to others. But she has spirit and an irresistible quality to her that makes her likeable despite her obvious flaws. The one thing that kind of annoyed me about this book was that it was impossible to remember that Evie and all the other Diviners in the book are all 17 years old. They act, talk, and exude adult. Am I alone here? I think the only character that exhibited typical teenager-type behavior is Evie’s friend, Mabel. I’ll admit that I am far from being an expert on this time period. Maybe all 17 year olds in the 20s acted like they were 30.
My favorite parts of the book are the vignettes between scenes. Bray writes these atmospheric-setting episodes that are told from the point of view of the moonlight (just as an example) or from a character that we only see in these asides or from the inner thoughts of the main characters. They’re brilliant and set the eerie mood of this series. A very brief excerpt, “And as the walls began to whisper, he lost his footing on the precipice of reason and began the terrible fall into a hell beyond imagining.” Wow. Bray’s prose is so evocative.
I rated this book 4 out of 5 hearts simply because of the way in which the “kids” behave didn’t seem in line with their actual age and the fact that, at times, the book could be slow. However, these things certainly didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this novel and I highly recommend.