Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  September 18th, 2012

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 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."

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Libba Bray has done it again!  I cannot say enough good things about this book!  It's not a huge secret or anything- I adore her!  She has only written one book that I didn't LOVE, and even with that one, I liked it.  (In case you're wondering which book that is, it's Going Bovine, which funny-enough, is the one that won awards...)  I loved her Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing), and Beauty Queens was my 2nd favorite book of 2011.  When I heard Libba had a new Historical/Paranormal series coming out, I was thrilled, but also a bit nervous about whether or not she could top the Gemma Doyle books (they are also Historical/Paranormal).  Well, let me tell you, she has WELL outdone herself, because The Diviners was AMAZING!

First off, the timing of the release of this book was fantastic.  It is such a creepy, nail-biter of a story, that reading it around Halloween is just perfect!  I found myself reading late into the night, jumping at every little noise, and sleeping with the lights on.  I wasn't expecting the creep-factor to be as high as it was, but it did so much for the story.  And the story!  It was so well executed, and so expertly paced, that it never seemed like it was the 592 page monstrosity that it was.  It read as quickly as a book half its length.  The plot was amazing, very original, and one that kept me guessing the entire time.  I still have loads of questions, which ensures that I will be reading the second installment the moment I can get my hands on it.  Honestly, though, the plot wasn't even the best part of this book...

Libba Bray is a very, VERY gifted writer, and her two biggest strengths are world building and character development.  The Diviners was written from more than ten different points of view, and every single one was done extremely well.  Developing that many different characters is hard enough, but to actually manage to write their POVs, without confusing the reader?  Before I read this book, I would have said that it was impossible, but not only did Libba do it, she did it so that I really felt a connection to every one.  There were characters I loved (Evie, Theta, Sam, Memphis), and then here were characters I loved to hate (Naughty John, Bill, The House), but there was not a single character that I didn't have an opinion of, and that is rare for me.  The other thing Libba masterfully accomplished in this book was her depiction of the era and setting.  Just WOW!  She really did her research, capturing the essence of the Harlem Renaissance, the Prohibition Era, and NYC as a living, breathing thing.  I think one of the reasons I as able to read this book so quickly was that I felt like I was dropped into the story; I didn't feel like the reader of a story, but rather a participant, and that feeling had everything to do with Libba's world building.

Overall, I have to say that this is one of my favorite books this year; Libba takes the number two spot again! (Sorry, Libba, but nothing is going to touch David Levithan's beautiful, Every Day. Read my review HERE.)  If you haven't already decided that you need to read The Diviners, let me be the one to tell you that you must! It is pos-i-tute-ly amazing!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book is pretty scary, and there are some intensely graphic murders.  Also, there is loads of drinking, as several scenes take place in speakeasies.  No sex to speak of, and really not much language.  I would say this is appropriate for 5th grade and up, as long as the reader isn't too easily spooked, and isn't intimidated by the length of the book. (ages 10+)

** Don't miss my GIVEAWAY of this book as part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!  Click HERE for details!  International.  Ends 11/01/2012 **


  1. I haven't read (or heard) of anything by Libba Bray until The Diviners showed up on my radar last month so I'm really curious about this book. The plot sounds intriguing and I do love a book with fabulous world building and character development. I'm constantly on the hunt for spooky books too! :)

  2. Better than the Gemma Doyle trilogy? I'll definitely have to read this one!

  3. so psyched to read this. I got about 80 pages in when it was due back to the library. i'd love a copy!

  4. i'm so excited to read this book. I'd love a copy!

  5. Yes. YES. All of this. What else can I add? :)

  6. I've never read anything by this author. I'm a new follower via Book Blogs! I'm currently having a giveaway over at my blog if you'd like to enter! I'd absolutely love for you to stop by and visit. :)

    MaMa's Book Corner Giveaway


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