Woohoo, I finally finished The Diviners. This thrills me both because it's insanely original and good, and because it's so incredibly long and took meWoohoo, I finally finished The Diviners. This thrills me both because it's insanely original and good, and because it's so incredibly long and took me forever. Partially, this was because it was my secondary book, but still...oof. Libba Bray has firmly cemented herself in my mind as an Awesome Author, both for her hilarious personality and her talented writing. Though I didn't like A Great and Terrible Beauty when I first read it ages ago, I loved Beauty Queens and now this one. Libba Bray is one of those authors with the remarkable ability to do something entirely new and astounding every time.
Though The Diviners was pretty slow-going for me, I really did pos-i-tute-ly love it. The storytelling style Bray uses appealed to me entirely. She tells the story in third person, but with a sort of magical realism flair to it, sometimes following a character and sometimes trailing the wind. This fit the story like a glove, and really set up the precise tone needed to pull this tale off.
On the downside, I wasn't entirely sold on Bray's use of multiple perspectives. I love them usually, whether third or first person, but it felt forced here. Basically, most of the book was Evie, with a smattering of chapters from Memphis' perspective, and then random bits of chapters following other characters/things. For the most part, the narration that didn't follow Evie found my mind wandering off course just a bit. I just feel like Memphis didn't do enough to justify his having such a large chunk of narrative relative to his importance.
The paranormal plot line, though clearly not yet fully-fledged, still opening up like a bud to become a bloom, delighted me too. Diviners have abilities, sort of like X-Men, which you know is totally one of my favorite things. Evie can see a bit of the past when touching objects. Memphis can heal. The powers are different for each individual and all fascinating. As I said, this was not as big a part of the book as you might expect yet, but will clearly be more central to the next installment.
Another aspect that Libba Bray gets just right is the creep factor. If you're someone who's scared by books, she will no doubt have you cowering into your blankets. Thankfully, I'm not bothered by horror in books (though I can't stomach it in the slightest in films), so it didn't scare me. I could still admire, however, her ability to create suspense and an eerie scene. I suspect that the story is told the way that it is precisely so we can pop over to the victims' points of view.
On top of that, I loved Evie. She starts out as this shallow, selfish girl, who I definitely still loved, but grows into this even more loveable girl throughout. I say that, but her core doesn't really change at all. She lets more of her good qualities shine through, but she's not magically a good girl or something; she still loves to party, to drink, to manipulate people and to be the center of attention. Evie is straight up hilarious, and I like that, much as she's a party girl, she really doesn't seem all that bothered about boys. Romance doesn't seem to matter to her all that much, except in the matchmaking sense, determined to help her straight-laced friend Mabel land her crush.
I never quite felt the same liking for any of the other characters that I did for Evie. Jericho and Will I like, but I don't know enough about them to be super invested. Memphis really does seem like a marvelously nice guy, but he just bored me, and I'm really creeped out by pretty much every other character in his story line. My least favorite character, though, by far was Sam. Intellectually, I know he's sort of the more messed-up, male version of Evie, but, for whatever reason, I just cannot stand him. Maybe I just can't get over the fact that he stole from Evie when he first met or how freaking cocky he is.
While The Diviners was not a perfect read, I still declare myself awash in admiration for Libba Bray's talent. This book is so unlike anything else I've read and the writing is superb. For those with a bit of patience, you will not want to miss this one, as it is remarkable....more
Going into Landry Park, I was a bit worried, honestly. The premise of Downton Abbey meets The Selection was at once off-putting and as irresistible toGoing into Landry Park, I was a bit worried, honestly. The premise of Downton Abbey meets The Selection was at once off-putting and as irresistible to me as a flame is to a moth. I’ve been badly burned by YA pseudo-dystopian novels many times before, and I have almost entirely sworn off the genre at this point. However, I couldn’t resist obviously. While very much of a type with the other popular YA dystopian romances, I quite enjoyed Landry Park, particularly because of the audiobook format.