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Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners (The Diviners #1)Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners, #1
Pages: 592
Publisher: ATOM
Date of Publication: 18th September 2012
Source: Borrowed from Cicely*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It's 1920s New York City. It's flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It's after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it's the opportunity to party like never before.

For Evie O'Neill, it's escape. She's never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she's shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she's always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.

But New York City isn't about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren't crimes of passion. They're gruesome. They're planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can't solve them alone.

Evie wasn't just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first.

My Thoughts:
This is going to be gushy, just warning you now!


Sorry, sorry, had to get that off my chest... *deep breath*

Libba Bray is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I absolutely adored her Gemma Doyle trilogy, but I hate to admit that I haven't actually read Going Bovine or Beauty Queens, but I've heard they're awesome... She can still be one of my favourites if I've not read all her books, right? I will have soon, hopefully :P Anyyywayy...

I love the 1920s. I think it's my favourite period in history to read about - every book I've read that's set then I've loved. I don't what it is about it, but I just love it so much. I guess I love the idea of Flappers, and how girls are finally getting to let down their hair (or bob it) and aren't confined to the very strict society rules they've been expected to keep up before then, if that makes sense. It's exciting, glamorous and adventurous, and it just makes for really good reading. I love imagining the dresses and the hair styles, the speakeasies they all secretly attend, the music they dance to, and all of that. It just sounds so fun (though I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out for it)! Aghh, I love it anyway :)

I also loved that while a lot of it was the care-free partying that you'd expect from a book set in 1920s New York, it also had a much darker and rather creepy undertone, which was brilliant. There's a mysterious murderer on the loose, and Evie and her uncle, the curator of The Museum of Creepy Crawlies (that deals with all things supernatural) are roped in to help when the police realise they can't do it alone. I loved following the clues they find and trying to figure out the mystery with them. Libba Bray is an expert storyteller  - she effortlessly weaves hints and clues into the storyline as well as multiple subplots and other narratives, and it all comes together perfectly at the end.

It's not just fabulously thought out, but it's also really rather creepy. The gruesome murders are the stuff of nightmares, and more than once I had to put the book down because I was reading in the dark, late at night, in bed when I should have been sleeping, and being the wimp that I am I couldn't deal with it in those conditions... So yeah, keep your light on when you're reading :P I know it's not real and (I really hope) that it's not based on real rituals or cults or what have you (you should know what I mean if you've read it) but it really felt like it could have been, while I was reading!

Libba Bray is also brilliant at creating well fleshed out characters that you quickly come to love (or love to hate!). Evie was great, and I loved reading her story. She's funny, sarcastic and stubborn, and though she made some really stupid moves when she wasn't really thinking, she was determined to get to the bottom of the murders and save anyone who might have been in danger. Also, the banter between her and Sam was fantastic! They really did sound like real people, with their quick quips and comebacks... And then there was the whole cast of supporting characters, who were amazing too. Theta, Memphis, Mabel, Unc, T.S., Jericho... I have much love for all of them (well, nearly all of them, anyway). They all had their own story lines, and they weren't just wishy washy characters that just seem to be there to fill up space in the story. They were perfect.

The Diviners really is an amazing read. Despite it being nearly 600 pages, I flew through it in just a few days and if it weren't for school and revision, I could quite happily have sat and read it in just a couple of sittings. The writing's awesome, the characters are unforgettable, and the story is creepy and exciting and pos-i-tute-ly fabulous. If you just read one book this year, make it this one. It's been my favourite, and I really hope it'll be yours too!

*HUGE thanks to Cicely for lending this to me! 


  1. I am so glad you loved it! I agree with everything you said, it was just so good, right?! *fangirls* Awesome review :D


  3. This is quite a book. While I wasn't able to enjoy her Gemma Doyle series, I waited upon bated (baited?) breath for Diviners. I have read some conflicting reviews but mostly positive anyway. I really need to read my copy. Grrr.

  4. I keep hearing the most amazing things about this book and I'm really looking forward to try this one out. I like the time setting and the creepiness! Great review :D


  5. You had me at "flappers"! I want this book so badly that I might actually have to pay for a copy. Unheard of! lol

    1. Do it! It's worth the money, I promise :D

  6. I really want to read this! The cover is TO DIE FOR!
    Maybe in the new year...

  7. Nice blog, came here By Darren Shan twitter recommendation. Would you be interested in a "my bloglist swap"? You put me on your blogroll, and I'll you you on mine..... Leave a comment on my blog if your'e interested. (you can delete this comment once read)

  8. It's been on my TBR list for some time - too many books, too many slices, not enough time (even tho I'm mostly retired)! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Marlene Detierro (Ad Wizards)


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