Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: The Diviners (Diviners, #1)

The DivinersAuthor: Libba Bray
Series: Diviners
Publication: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Atom
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!


  1. I just bought this one a few days ago, it looks spectacular! Like you I bought it because just the setting sounds amazing.

  2. I've been hearing so many good things about this one, but it's soooooo long! Sounds like it is going to be worth it though, so I might as well take a deep breath and dive in. Lovely review, Maja!

  3. Yay! So thrilled that you liked this too Maja. I thought Libba did a fabulous job depicting the '20s too. The humor had me laughing out loud many times, and yet the story was very spooky as well. Great review. :)

  4. I don't know if this book is for me, but I've heard really really good things about it. To be honest, the size of the book scares me! :P
    I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it too although you had some issues with the main character at times. It does seem that the book is worth reading though!
    Lovely review, Maja! :)

    Sorry for not visiting you so often anymore. School is killing me!

  5. LOL! Love the quotes ! Sometimes I needtoknow what happens next badly too!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  6. Yep, we are book twins. I think my review mirrors yours, I did not like Evie at first since she is so self centered, bratty and immature, but she really grew on me. Loved the setting and capturing all the flavor of the roaring 20s this was exceptionally well done. And the depraved killer scenes were dark! I struggled with all the POVs and especially since some of them didn't go anywhere in the story I know that she is laying down lines for the next book but it was a little much. I know I will forget a lot of it by the time book two comes out. You should check out her Beauty Queens that book is a trip!

  7. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this, Maja! I ADORED the setting and Libba Bray really has a way with words, I could definitely feel the atmosphere and it was like I was thrown back in time! I wasn't a fan of the third person, multiple perspective narrative either: it was just too much and I couldn't connect with any of the characters. Although Evie's wittiness was totally awesome and introduced a lighter tone to the overall book.

    Fab review, Maja <3 Hope you'll check out my review tomorrow!

  8. I'm really so excited to read this! I've actually read all of Libba Bray's books up till now, but there's always been something holding me back from really loving them. I'm excited to see if THIS could be the one. Both the setting and the story sound phenomenal, but I'll admit I'm leery of the perspectives. Also I hope I can connect with Evie better than I was able to Gemma in her Gemma Doyle series who was also very self-centered and tended to make stupid decisions. We shall see!

  9. MAJA, STOP WRITING SUCH AWESOME REVIEWS! I have a HUGE pile of ARCs I need to get through, hence the reading I'm putting this one off, which is KILLING me as I am a HUGE Libba Bray fan and I WANT TO READ THIS! I was just about to resign myself to my fate and BAM! You go and write this! =.= Now I'm going to HAVE to pick this one up soon and when all those publishers start hating me for not reading their books, I shall direct them to this wonderful review instead! ;)

    I am so glad you enjoyed this one though, Maja. I think you'll love Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy and I urge you to pick it up since it's remarkably well-written. I can see how this would have its flaws, especially considering its size, but it seems to be remarkable and I can't wait to start it now! I might even put off The Casual Vacancy for this! (No, we're going to pretend I didn't say that because then I will lose my spot as The Number One Harry Potter Fan EVER!) ;) Wonderful review, dear!(:

  10. I am reading this right now! I am also with Heidi up there - I've read all (well, mostly) of Libba Bray's books and I haven't really loved any of them. Something keeps drawing me back to her though. So far I am feeling so-so about this one as well but I'm going to hang in there because a lot of you guys are saying that it gets better. Isn't it swell when you discover a new favorite author? And how!

  11. I'm super excited to read this one! I haven't read anything by Libba Bray in years, but I remember being absolutely spellbound by her writing. And, on its own, The Diviners just sounds so cool. Like you, I'm not the biggest fan of multiple 3rd person POV, but it's something I can live with.

    Ah, I'm even more excited now!

  12. I got so impatient of waiting for this book from my library that I ordered my own copy of the book. Libba Bray's humor is priceless and so spot on. If you get a chance, definitely check out her book Beauty Queens on audiobook. It is a riot!

  13. Oh my goodness, this book sounds hella good! Your review definitely captured the essence that seems to appear in THE DIVINERS--I can't wait to read the book! I'm surprised you liked the book enough even with a character like Evie! Lovely review. :))

  14. New York Prohibition era sounds awesome! That is what drew me into wanting to give this book a shot. I love mysteries and I love multiple POVs but I hate third person. Still unsure if I should give this a shot.

  15. I’m very organized and responsible and people who just breeze through life tend to annoy me.

    Me too, Maja, me too. ;) I think I'm almost certain I won't like Evie (not to start off with anyway), but I'm really looking forward to reading this book. I'm quite curious about Naughty John, especially. This is up next for me - as soon as I finish Darkness Falls. :) Brilliant review, my dear!

  16. Awesome review Maja. I've been seeing this one around the blogosphere a lot lately. Books set in the past always seem to put me off though, and with 600 pages of it lol. Maybe someday :) Glad you loved it hun.

  17. When I first heard about this book I really thought it wasn't for me, but with all these great reviews trickling in, I'm convinced that I need to read it soon! The length and third person pov I do find quite unsettling, also my patience with books isn't as great as it used to be. But don't fear, I will try and give it a shot. Thank you for the insightful and yet again another honest review! :)

  18. Maja! Because you liked this one and that it soudns so good I must read this soon as I can! I've been seeing this book around and heard great things but now its official I am going to read it! :) Great great review Maja x


  19. I haven't read anything by Libba Bray yet. But this book sounds amazing! I mean Roaring Twenties and a ghost serial killer? But to be honest The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult would be enough for me to read this book. Great review! :)

  20. I LOVE Libba Bray and I love the sound of this book so much, hence I can't wait to read it next week. :) Wonderful review Maja, and I'm so pleased that you were a fan! Promise you'll read A Great and Terrible Beauty now? Pretty please? ;)

    And oh my god, that last quote! I'm still chuckling at that one. Miss Bray's humour and wit is incomparable. :)

  21. Great review, Maja. This definitely sounds worth the read even though it sounds really long, the setting alone is enough to make me want to get into this book!

  22. I'm trusting you on this one b/c honestly, the 600 pages has been scaring me off. But you picked some AWESOME quotes that have me really wanting to dive in the deep end (sorry, I'm feeling kind of "cheesy" today). Great review!!! Can I ask.. how long did it take you to read it?

  23. I laughed so hard; the last quote is so funny. Besides the hard parts and the fact that Evie isn't very likable at the beginning, I can't wait to read this book. I love the sound of the setting and the whole idea of this book. Wonderful review, you make me want to pick it up right away :D


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