Monday, March 11, 2013

Review - The Diviners (The Diviners, Book 1) by Libba Bray (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 592 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 18, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316126113
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Diviners series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the first book in the Diviners series by Bray. I have read all of Bray’s previous books and really enjoyed them. I am unsure how many books are planned for this series, but the 2nd one is scheduled for a 2014 release. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty series. This book is masterfully written and was just an absolute pleasure to read.

Evie O’Neill has been shipped off from her hometown to New York City to stay with her uncle because of some secrets she revealed that hurt the reputation of one of the powerful families in Ohio. Evie is so excited to be in New York even if her Uncle does run the strange museum known affectionately as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Then strange occult murders start happening and Evie’s uncle gets called in to consult. Evie gets drawn in as she starts to use her own special powers to help her uncle with the case.

I loved the setting for this book, the whole thing is set in the 1920’s flapper era. Bray obviously did her homework here. The slang she uses throughout as well as the descriptions of surroundings, fashions, and events make this world and era come alive in a way that is sparkling and fascinating.

The story is mainly told from Evie’s POV, but we also hear from a number of other character POVs. We hear from Theta (a chorus girl), Mabel (Evie’s best friend), Malcolm (a man with his own mysterious powers), and Sam (a pickpocket of sorts that Evie has a run in with early in the story). We also hear from the murder victims as they meet their demise.

Evie was a super fun heroine. She is brash and just a little too much for those around, she’s adventurous and loyal. She definitely has her flaws; she can be a bit too self-absorbed and a bit too in-your-face. These flaws just serve to make her more interesting and engaging.

The characters surrounding Evie have backgrounds that are just as complex and interesting as Evie’s. There are a number of characters in here with supernatural or paranormal powers. The maelstrom of these interesting characters starts to come together as the story progresses.

The book touches on a number of controversial issues as well (at least controversial for that time). There is discussion about inter-racial relationships and quite a bit of discussion about same sex relationships as well. None of this is the feature of the story but all of it goes on in the background, making the story more complex and even more engaging.

More than anything this book is a supernatural mystery. Basically Evie and team have to solve this series of grisly occult murders before one of them ends up as a victim. There are parts of this book that are extremely creepy where you feel like screaming at the characters “No! No! Don’t go down into the creepy basement cellar.” At points it was bad enough that I was torn between hiding behind a blanket so I didn’t have to see what was going to happen and reading it as fast as possible so I could finally know what was going to happen!

The story ties up very nicely, although there are still things left undone for future books. I am intrigued to see how all of these interesting characters with supernatural powers come together in future installments.

Overall an absolutely fantastic novel. The setting is realistic and absolutely comes alive; I loved reading about the roaring 20’s. The plot is mysterious and creepy with strong supernatural elements. The characters are quirky, mysterious, and super fun to read about. Highly recommended to those who love a good mystery with supernatural elements. I really, really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Reading Challenge
- GHOSTS: Paranormal Reading Challenge
- Young Adult Reading Challenge

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