Author: Libba Bray
Publication: September 18th 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
The Diviners is my first book by Libba Bray, but I can tell you right now that it won’t be my last. I’m thrilled to have discovered another YA author of such talent and prominence. I would have given her a chance even before now, especially considering all the raving reviews written by my most trusted friends, but I simply never got around to it. Fortunately, she left me no choice with The Diviners. New York in the 1920s was impossible to resist.
I’ll start with my favorite part – the setting. Libba Bray did an extraordinary job in taking her readers to New York during the Prohibition era. I could hear the music and the laughter, smell the forbidden alcohol, and it made me want to put on a flapper hat and dance my feet right off. I could spend an eternity reading about the Roaring Twenties, and the ghost of a serial killer only made it that much more interesting.
Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones. Sells ‘em off for a coupla stones…
Yup, you read that right: there’s a ghost of a vicious serial killer on the loose, and the only ones with any chance of stopping him are an 18-year-old psychic girl and a group of people that share the same dream. Even Evie’s uncle Will, who runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult, also known as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies, is powerless against this murderous ghost. And if that isn’t enough to freak you out, there are religious fanatics involved as well, and seriously, nothing is creepier than that.
To be quite honest, there were parts of this book that were a bit hard to get through. I’m not a fan of 3rd person, multiple points of view narrative to begin with, and The Diviners offered far too many perspectives for my taste. It’s so hard to connect with the characters that way, and Evie was the only one I really felt close too.
To top that off, Evie was a hard character to like. She was occasionally self-centered and a little too care-free. (I’m very organized and responsible and people who just breeze through life tend to annoy me.) But there were times when I felt I truly understood why she behaved in such a way, and I could connect with her regardless of her frustrating actions. The loss of a family hero, Evie’s older brother, damaged her family irreparably, and acting out was her way to cope.
But don’t let my ranting or those 600 pages scare you off. The Diviners is a book worth reading, although it will force you to read slowly and carefully – something I’m not quite used to. Bray’s talent for creating an eerie atmosphere is matched only by her intelligent humor. At times, I had to fight the urge to hide under my bed, only to burst out laughing five minutes later at something witty Evie said.
Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?”
“No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.”
“I weep for the future.”
“That’s where the martinis come in.”
Make no mistake, The Diviners is a demanding book. It requires your full attention, but whatever it takes, it gives back tenfold. If I were you I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up. As for me, I’ll just sit right here, very patiently and without making a sound, and wait for Libba Bray to finish the sequel. Some things were left unsaid and I need to know, need to know, needtoknoneedtoknowneedtoknow… Oh, shut up, brain!