Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Diviners ~ Review

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Source: Library (but I am going to buy it!)  

Goodreads Summary:

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-toot-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.

 My thoughts:

This book was the bees knees, the elephants eyebrow, I pos-i-tute-ly loved it!  It was the perfect blending of two of my favorite things to read about: flappers and the supernatural. I have to admit, when I first heard that Bray was mixing these two, I was unsure and skeptical. I wasn’t sure I could read it, and if I did, if I would like it. Well, Bray definitely stomped all over those worries while doing the Charleston.  (Which, incidentally, I learned my friend Kelly can do really well.  We believe we were flappers together in a past life.)

Evie O’Neil is flighty, a good time girl, who doesn’t take anything seriously except finding the gin and getting dolled up to go out dancing.  She also has a secret- she is a medium, and if she has an object of yours, can see the past.  She uses this as a party trick but divulges the wrong secret,  and is sent to live in New York City with her uncle.  I have no idea why her parents thought that would be a punishment, but there you go. Evie is of course thrilled, but keeping her feelings on the down low.  Anyway, the real story begins once she is in New York.
Evie moves in with her uncle, into the Bennington.  She meets her Uncle Will’s museum assistant Jericho, and thinks he is a bit of a bore but she doesn’t dislike him, since her best friend Mabel, who lives in the Bennington, has had a huge crush on him for three years. Evie plans to get them together. She also meets Theta and Henry, who live in the building as well – Theta is a flapper who performs in the Ziegfield Follies, and Henry is a piano player. The final member of Evie’s circle is Sam, a pickpocket and thief who robbed her in the first hour she was in New York.   The backstory for these characters is really one of the best parts of this book. I think each character is so well developed and interesting in their own right, that you want to know about all of them, not just Evie, who is not as superficial as she seems sometimes.  

There is of course the central mystery- a serial killer that the group is trying to stop.  This part of the story was actually kind of scary and creepy. Kudos to Bray for giving me the heebie-jeebies, that is not always easy. There were a few things I would have liked wrapped up a little bit neater, but all in all it was very well done. An ancient evil, a book, a riddle, death – yikes!

Yet this time was not all shiny and bright, scuffed dancing shoes, bathtub gin and bubbly.  And Bray did not shirk away from including the prejudices of the era. She touched on the Ku Klux Klan, the relationships such as interracial and homosexual that were not allowed and hidden, and eugenics.  I had no idea that State Fairs had tents set up with great big signs with neon lights extolling the virtues of eugenics. Of the health contests, where people could earn bronze medals inscribed with “Yea, I be of goodly heritage” for having the desired (at the time) background. How disgusting and sickening, to think we could breed a better race of people. To me, this was the scariest part of the book, made more frightening as it was true.
I really enjoyed this book – when I finished it I just wanted to read it all over again. I even got past all the slang, which annoyed me in the beginning.  I was entertained, I was scared, I was cheering Evie on.  And most importantly, I learned a few things.


  1. You've convinced me to give this one a try ;) Since I'm not requesting books until I get my piles under control I'm putting it on my Books to be Requested After my Library Ban is Over list :)

    1. I hope you like it as much as I did! :) I need to ban myself from the library as well - I made a list of books I want to read in November and that I was going to request, but then I realized it was way more than I could possibly finish in a month. :(


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