I had a blast reading The Diviners. Libba Bray has taken a fun setting–the Roaring 20s–and combined it with an interesting school of thought–The SpiriI had a blast reading The Diviners. Libba Bray has taken a fun setting–the Roaring 20s–and combined it with an interesting school of thought–The Spiritualist Movement. As if that weren’t enough, there are plenty of really interesting and compelling characters, lots of humor, and a thrilling murder mystery. The Diviners is the cat’s pajamas, the berries, the bee’s knees, and exactly the kind of book I always want to read but so seldom find done well.
At the center of the plot is Evie O’Neill, newly moved to New York after a scandal made her leave boring old Ohio. Evie is spunky, impulsive, and always looking to have a good time. However, she has plenty of street-smarts, and is also hiding a secret: she is able to read objects. She finds that she fits right in helping her uncle, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. Uncle Will is an expert in dark matters, so when a body turns up with mystical symbols covering it, he and Evie are called to the scene. Along the way, readers meet a larger cast, each with backstories complicated by their unique gifts. We learn that these people are called Diviners, and are told that there is a storm coming and every Diviner will be needed if mankind is to make it through.
Like in her previous books, Bray’s writing is incredibly fun to read. The vocabulary and historical setting feels really true to the era, lending authenticity to an otherwise supernatural story. The characters trade one-liners and banter, and the plot has the perfect balance of lightheartedness and darkness. Bray also leaves enough open-ended questions that readers will be longing for the next book in this series....more
There are some nights when you want to read a book with gratuitous violence. Having no Christopher Pike on hand, Gretchen McNeil's newest novel, Ten,There are some nights when you want to read a book with gratuitous violence. Having no Christopher Pike on hand, Gretchen McNeil's newest novel, Ten, really scratched that itch for me. Ten teens, convinced that they were traveling to a mansion on an island for a mega party, start turning up murdered, one by one. Slasher movie fans will probably enjoy this, just like I did. No, it isn't the greatest writing in the world, and the plot won't surprise you as much as you might wish, but Ten accomplishes just what it sets out to do: provide a creepy background, some contemptible secondary characters, a couple the reader can root for, and an ensuing bloodbath, all during a creepy storm. I read this at night before going to bed, and actually got scared to the point that I needed to put it down and think happy thoughts of puppies and kittens so I could sleep.
Ten weaseled its way into my mind, so that I really wanted to keep reading. The writing flows, so that the story moves along briskly. There was more drinking and sexual carousing than I felt comfortable with for high schoolers toward the beginning of the book, but that's probably why I never got invited to those kinds of parties in high school myself. I also had a hard time relating to most of the characters, but it's for the best since they get murdered anyway (spoiler alert, but not really, because you know it's coming, don't you!?). Overall, Ten was a fun read, although not one that touched me deeply emotionally or inspired me. It was simply a good scare....more
If Undead were a movie, it would probably star a cast of unknowns and have a cult following. This book reads like a B horror film. It’s action-packed,If Undead were a movie, it would probably star a cast of unknowns and have a cult following. This book reads like a B horror film. It’s action-packed, but also doesn’t really have much more going on under the surface. A group of high school kids goes on a ski trip, where the majority of the class are inexplicably turned into mindless zombies. Four of them must fight to survive and get back to civilization, all while trying to figure out what caused the change. McKay loves tossing away one-liners like zombies love brains, and there are more than a few groaners here, which is appropriate for the subject matter.
The book takes place in Scotland, and there’s a bit of British slang, which I found kind of charming. Each of the characters embodies a high school stereotype, which has caused some readers to remark that this reminded them of The Breakfast Club. However, unlike The Breakfast Club, I don’t think any of the characters have big revelations of how they’re all basically the same, going through the same teenage angst. Nope, they’re too busy running from zombies for that kind of self-reflection, which is fine. I’ve said before that I think the best genre fiction uses the conventions of the genre to make a larger statement, but sometimes you just want something that’s a bit mindless and rollicking. This book fits that bill.
As far as zombie books go, the terror here is pretty minimal. McKay leaves the reader with an obvious lead-in to a sequel, so if this book is your thing, you’ll undoubtedly look forward to that. As for me, I think I’ve had my fill with Undead. ...more