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The Diviners #1

The Diviners

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1920s New York. A teen clairvoyant. An old evil. It has begun...

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old home town and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled! New York is the city of speak-easies, rent parties, shopping and movie palaces, and soon enough Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that 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 it. Even Evie's new pals - hoofers, numbers runners and activists, but all swell kids - are drawn into 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...

578 pages, Paperback

First published September 18, 2012

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About the author

Libba Bray

45 books15k followers
What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It's not exactly like I'm going to say "I was born in Alabama…" and somebody's going to jump up and snarl, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" At least I hope not.

I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. I could tell you the facts–I lived in Texas for most of my life; I live in New York City with my husband and six-year-old son now; I have freckles and a lopsided smile; I'm allergic to penicillin.

But that doesn't really give you much insight into me. That doesn't tell you that I stuck a bead up my nose while watching TV when I was four and thought I'd have to go to the ER and have it cut out. Or that I once sang a punk version of "Que Sera Sera" onstage in New York City. Or that I made everyone call me "Bert" in ninth grade for no reason that I can think of. See what I mean?

God is in the details. So with that in mind, here is my bio. Sort of.


TEN THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME by Libba Bray

1. I lived in Texas until I was 26 years old, then I moved to New York City with $600.00 in my shoe ('cause muggers won't take it out of your shoe, y'know . . . riiiiight . . .) and a punchbowl (my grandmother's gift) under my arm. I ended up using the punchbowl box as an end table for two years.

2. My dad was a Presbyterian minister. Yes, I am one of those dreaded P.K.s–Preacher's Kids. Be afraid. Be very afraid . . .

3. The first story I ever wrote, in Mrs. McBee's 6th grade English class, was about a girl whose family is kidnapped and held hostage by a murderous lot of bank robbers who intend to kill the whole family–including the dog–until the 12-year-old heroine foils the plot and saves the day. It included colored pencil illustrations of manly-looking, bearded criminals smoking, and, oblivious to the fact that The Beatles had already sort of laid claim to the title, I called my novel, HELP. My mom still has a copy. And when I do something she doesn't like, she threatens to find it.

4. My favorite word is "redemption." I like both its meaning and the sound. My least favorite word is "maybe." "Maybe" is almost always a "no" drawn out in cruel fashion.

5. My three worst habits are overeating, self-doubt, and the frequent use of the "f" word.

6. The three things I like best about myself are my sense of humor, my ability to listen, and my imagination.

7. I have an artificial left eye. I lost my real eye in a car accident when I was eighteen. In fact, I had to have my entire face rebuilt because I smashed it up pretty good. It took six years and thirteen surgeries. However, I did have the pleasure of freezing a plastic eyeball in an ice cube, putting it in a friend's drink, ("Eyeball in your highball?") and watching him freak completely. Okay, so maybe that's not going down on my good karma record. But it sure was fun.

8. In 7th grade, my three best friends and I dressed up as KISS and walked around our neighborhood on Halloween. Man, we were such dorks.

9. I once spent New Year's Eve in a wetsuit. I'd gone to the party in a black dress that was a little too tight (too many holiday cookies) and when I went to sit down, the dress ripped up the back completely. Can we all say, mortified? The problem was, my friends were moving out of their house–everything was packed and on a truck–and there was nothing I could put on . . . but a wetsuit that they still had tacked to the wall. I spent the rest of the party maneuvering through throngs of people feeling like a giant squid.

10. I got married in Florence, Italy. My husband and I were in love but totally broke, so we eloped and got married in Italy, where he was going on a business trip. We had to pull a guy off the street to be our witness. It was incredibly romantic.

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5 stars
31,648 (33%)
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3 stars
17,786 (18%)
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1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 13,768 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews150k followers
August 11, 2022
The Diviners made me so unbearably nostalgic for life in 1920s New York. Mind you, I'm eight decades away from being alive in the 1920s, and I've never even stepped foot inside New York. So I'm calling foul on this book for making me miss it.

That said, after having read The Diviners, I'm hard-put to think of a time period that better captures the eeriness and thrill of a roaring mystery than 1920s New York. The stark contrast between the stately stasis of a respectable house and the desperate wildness of the speakeasy and the Ziegfeld girls is the perfect stage on which to turn a story on its head. It’s evident that the author went through painstaking work to make her world feel real, using period-specific language and detail to deftly create the sense of real places inhabited by vividly rendered people—all while liberally sprinkling all things magic and monsters and the unaccountable. And it works, wonderfully so.

The Diviners, however, is much more than just about solving murder mysteries. It’s also about exploring the lives on their peripheries. Tangled character histories and perspectives is what orbit the plot, and the narration, which is told through alternating voices, lingers in each character's life and memories.

Evie is both magnetic and obnoxious and there’s a bull-in-china-shop quality to her character. In one vital way, though, she is different than your typical introverted, meek and martyrish lady lead. It's a bit amazing, encountering a female protagonist who's allowed to be loud, self-absorbed and says exactly what she’s thinking, without a lick of tact to make it go down easier. Strange as it sounds, I was grateful for her haughtiness and recklessness even as I sometimes wrinkled my nose at her. I think it works because Evie is also very self-aware, and the narrative acknowledges all of her flaws instead of just taking for granted that Evie’s brashness is an uncontested virtue. It’s also not hard to see that most of the facades Evie puts out are a lie, a ghost, a stage role performed for a very select private audience. Underneath is a frightened, fragile girl, still mourning the death of her big brother and wishing she could be enough for her parents.

Of course this world wouldn’t be as fascinating if it was just Evie soaking up the spotlight. One of this book’s strengths is making every character come alive, step whole and entire onto the page, even if only for the length of a scene or two, including: Memphis Campbell, a young handsome black poet; Sam Lloyd, a rakish Russian pickpocket; Theta Knight, a mysterious dancer running from the ghosts of her pasts and Henry DeBois, her gay musician roommate; alongside, Jericho, Will’s strange assistant. Each of these kids is damaged, trauma lingering in the creases or out in the open, and each of them has a long journey ahead—one that I’m excited to see unfold in the next installments.

It was therefore kind of unfortunate to discover that the last quarter of the book does not quite live up to the high water mark set by the rest of the novel: some characters just conveniently disappear and don’t reappear to influence the narrative at certain points, and others turn up relatively late but play critical roles. Also, the budding of a romance took me off guard and felt unprecedented by everything that has come before.

At the end of the day, though, these are two very small quibbles barely marring an immensely enjoyable tale—one that I hugely recommend.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
October 14, 2019
Original Review 2018: This was pos-i-tute-ly the perfect spooky Halloween read! Supernatural powers! Murder! 1920s New York! A creepy song that will haunt me for the rest of my life! I can keep going.
There were times when I was genuinely scared (usually when I was reading right before bed). Let's just say I'll never be able to use the word "naughty" ever again without giving myself nightmares.
This book also had a huge cast of characters that we are just getting to know - and I love each and every one! I know most people hated Evie in the beginning, but for some reason unlikable party girls are one of my favorite types of characters. Throw in that she was a "thoroughly modern flapper," and I was sold. Memphis and Theta were my two favorites, though, despite not getting nearly enough time with either. I trust this will change in the next books. I mean, it better or else I will be writing my own fanfiction.
I only have a few cons: the length and the amount of 1920s lingo thrown in. Though I usually am down to read a long book, that's if the pacing is quick enough to make me never want to stop reading. That was not the case. The pacing was slow pretty much all the way through except for the few scenes with the villain. This did help give us a more in-depth view of each character, but it also made it easy to put down the book and pick up a new one only 100 pages from the end.
As for the lingo, I thought it was the cat's pajamas at first! You know I'm adding a few of these words to my vocabulary. But having a new slang word on almost every page got a tad much. It actually threw me out of the 1920s atmosphere instead of helping me sink in further.
Despite my gripes, I had a heck of a fun time reading this! I already got my hands on the next two installments and am trying to make myself wait to read them as the fourth doesn't yet have a release date. If you're in need of something spooky that takes a step into downright scary, this book is for you!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
February 9, 2020
Update 12/2/2019 - Raising my rating to 5 stars! The Diviner's is absolutely one of my favorite series of all time. I am so excited to continue rereading the series in anticipation for the finale with the #DivinersClub readalong!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
January 27, 2019
There is love. Oh, there is so much love that I am having for this book and Ms Bray right now. Even taking the length into account, this novel took me longer than usual to read because I had to read everything more than once and swoon for a little bit before I could move on. I am thrilled to hear that there will be a sequel.

If I were to write a novel, I wouldn't want to hear claims like "this is the next Hunger Games (or Twilight or Harry Potter)" but I think one of the greatest compliments must be "this is like nothing I've ever read before... and it's awesome". Yeah, if I was to write a book, I would want to create something as beautiful, clever, magical and unique as this. I cannot guess how current Libba Bray fans will respond to this story which is a million miles away from
A Great and Terrible Beauty and Beauty Queens and - though I haven't read it - I'd bet money that it's nothing like Going Bovine either.

There are so many different elements brought into this story, but they are all well-balanced and manage to complement each other, rather than being scrambled together in a random mish mash. It's such a hard novel to categorise-- part historical fiction, part supernatural, part murder mystery, with just the slightest touch of romance.

Evie O'Neill is a fabulous character who experiences a lot of development throughout. When the story starts she is silly and naive, but as time progresses we see her face bigger challenges and begin to change and develop massively. Also, I understand why some people would find the 1920s slang irritating, but I was so charmed by the characters and story that I really didn't mind. One of my favourite elements of the novel is the way in which Bray portrays and develops Evie's relationships with the other characters. I loved the relationship between her and her Uncle Will. Evie and Sam's relationship was perhaps the funniest; their dialogue is superb and at times they reminded me of a Bonnie and Clyde-style criminal duo. Similarly, Evie and Mabel's friendship gave me quite a few giggles.

And one word that kept popping into my head throughout the entire reading experience is: atmospheric. I was right there in 1920s New York, after the War and before the depression, in a whirlwind of jazz and flappers and speakeasies. Libba Bray breathes magic into this city at the height of its glory whilst also showing the darker side of America at this time with the KKK and xenophobia. The amount of research that must have gone into this book is astounding. There is so much history and mythology and even a touch of politics. I was wowed. In fact, I am still wowed.

I must also talk about our murderer. I really want to applaud Ms Bray for doing so many different things and getting them all right. Because this book is magical and it is funny and it is clever and it is... really freakin' scary. Books and movies do not scare me often. I avoid horror because I'm mostly immune to it. But this... Naughty John with his creepy whistling and reciting of his freaky little rhyme as he stalks his victims... I slept with the light on. Seriously. Don't laugh.

I think, though, what I most want to say is that Libba Bray brings all of these things together into one. Her novel uses history and mythology and humour to create one hell of a story. The characters are vivid and detailed; you can almost feel the city air as you read. Maybe there are faults to be found but they certainly didn't bother me, and even the length was completely worth it. I am just blabbing and gushing now so I'm going to stop before I start drooling, but this book is one I highly recommend.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,151 reviews97.7k followers
September 12, 2019
“The Diviners must stand, or all shall fall.”

The Diviners is a historical, paranormal fantasy set in 1920s New York City! And in this alternative history, there are people called Diviners who have magical abilities that are hidden from the world. And these powers will come in handy as a demon like being who was summoned from a Ouija board starts ritualistically killing people, while also bringing upon the apocalypse.

Evie O’Neill - Sent to NY to stay with her uncle after causing too much of a scene back home. And she has the magical ability to read objects.

Memphis Campell - Black, extremely charming and good looking, taking care of his little brother with his aunt after the loss of his mother, and in the past he had a healing ability.

Sam Lloyd - Rakish Russian Pickpocket who can make it so others do not notice him, but he is looking for answers about what happened to his mother and the project she was working on.

Theta Knight - A Dancer who ran away from a terrible past and is trying to make a new life for herself were she is in charge of her own fate.

Henry DeBois - Theta’s roommate, queer, and a musician. Henry has the magical ability to dream walk, but you do not learn a lot about it in this book.

Mabel Rose - Evie’s best friend and pen pal, who has the biggest of all crushes.

Jericho Jones - Works for Evie’s uncle Will, but may be keeping a big secret of his own.

Naughty John - Does his work with the apron on. I’ll see myself out, bye.

But we follow all of these characters, while they are slowing pieces together the clues about Naughty John’s killing, while also trying to figure everything out before it is too late. And friends? I’m going to be straight up with you, this book was pretty scary. Full disclosure, I am a big baby, but I legit read this book with the light on, during the daytime, every single day. But following along and trying to figure out what is happening, while also trying to learn about these characters and what they are able to do? It surely made for a fun reading experience.

I really loved the cast completely. All of them, truly. But Memphis really won me over very early on. First off, I am such a sucker for anything with healing powers, so he and his mystery just stole my heart. Also, he is such a good brother, and seeing him protect Isaiah really was everything to me. Also, Isaiah having the wildest powers of them all? Yeah, that’s a thing. Also, I really loved his development with Theta. We stan a power couple in this house, always and forever.

Besides the characters, I think the thing I liked most about reading The Diviners, as sad and heartbreaking as it is to say, is that we are almost in the year 2020 and not a lot has changed. From racism, and people hiding their hateful ideas behind the cover of God, to sexism, and the idea that a silent woman is the only women worth hearing, to being pure, and the pedestal that white men are willing to put their bloodline on, this is all very much a thing in 2020, even if it is not as loud. I think Libba Bray really did something so impressive with this story, and even though this book is almost a decade old and the parallels are still rampant, I still really respect her putting so much into this book.

Overall, this really did blow me away. I had my doubts going in that I wouldn’t like it, or that it wouldn’t hold up, but it truly did, and it truly made for an amazing reading experience. I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store, and I can’t wait to meet a character named Ling Chan that everyone promises me I’m going to fall in love with.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: brief animal cruelty and death, talk of domestic abuse and sexual assault in the past, abortion, loss of a loved one in the past, drugging, grief depiction, abandonment, talk of slavery, racism (always in a negative light), slaughter house setting/scene, death, murder, and ritualistic killings.



Buddy read with Madalyn, Jane, & Chelsea! ❤
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews109k followers
March 7, 2020
From a personal enjoyment level it's 2.5 stars, unfortunately. I was bored throughout the 600 pages of this story and kept waiting for it to be over. The pacing suffered with a lot of the characters ambling around and could have been shortened to at least 300. This read more like an overly drawn-out setup rather than a concise narrative. The characters felt very surface-level; I could clearly tell the archetypes that each person was, but they didn't have much depth. Villains were also pretty nondescript. I question if you strip away the 1920s schtick if the story would still hold up on its own without leaning completely on the setting.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.3k followers
October 14, 2015
THIS WAS SO DAMN GOOD!
Listening on audiobook was such a great experience. I loved the writing and the story, oh so chilling! GIMME MORE :)
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews602 followers
September 6, 2016
I don’t know how else to describe The Diviners except to say it’s pretty clear when reading this that Libba Bray set out to write a quintessentially American novel, and - good and bad - she’s succeeded. She may insist no historians were harmed in the writing of her book, but I just don’t see how she’s mastered such command of American history, not just through the facts, but through the way she captures the American experience, that she didn’t torture it out of someone. But just like America, this is a book full of contradictions, it has some of the most complex, evocative writing I’ve ever seen for historical fiction, yet at the same time relies on some oversimplistic, almost stereotypical characters - I’m seriously conflicted.

There’s no nice way to phrase this, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it - I’m sorry, but Evie O’Neill is a ditz. And that really puzzles me, why, despite the strength of her writing, Bray has to try so hard to fit everything into some 1920s stereotype. Maybe it’s just me, but after reading the superb writing that really showcases how much Bray gets the Roaring Twenties, I want to see some smart characters that does that excellent writing justice, not some shallow socialite obsessed with ‘dizzy water’ and partying at speakeasies, who thinks everything is ‘the cat’s meow’ or ‘the duck’s quack’. Who talks like that? It doesn’t even work the first time, much less the hundredth, by which time the dialogue seriously grated on my nerves. I kept expecting more from Evie’s character, kept wondering if she really is that shallow, and my unfortunate conclusion is, well, yes, she is that shallow, there really isn’t anything more to her, despite Bray’s attempts to incorporate some emotion and mystery with her dead brother and an antagonist in the villainous Naughty John. She just never behaves like a relatable character, or is anything more for me than a 20s stereotype who keeps spouting annoying catchphrases and obsessing over the New York social scene.

Evie’s by far my biggest problem with the story, but she definitely isn’t my only problem. To fill out the flat characters department, look no further than presumptive love interest Sam Lloyd, who fills the cad … er fella (another word that’s reduced to a 20s sound bite) role to a tee, his only interesting bit of character development being more of a hint of what’s to come in the sequel. Or other presumptive love interest Jericho Jones, the wooden, straight shooter with, predictably, a mysterious secret that bizarrely isn’t of the paranormal variety but somehow sends this series careening down a steampunk path? I guess it’s really a weird mix of science and mysticism. Oh, and lest I forget, Evie spends most of the book trying to set Jericho up with her best friend Mabel Rose (Evie’s own relationship with Jericho is pretty much platonic almost the entire way through) until Mabel happens to bump into someone else and, well the rest is easy to guess. The Roaring Twenties may have been one glamorous and exciting period, but these characters just didn't do it for me. Well, I like Mabel’s interesting and surprisingly emotional communist parents side plot that really captures a big issue of the day, I’ll give the book that.

But all these side plots, that really is another problem with The Diviners. So many times, I’m following what Evie is doing, or another creepy scene with Naughty John, and the book would all of a sudden cut off to something else, whatever alternative main character Memphis Campbell and his own special powers related problems are or some other background story. It’s really a symptom of a larger problem, Bray’s blatantly setting up The Diviners as the first in a series, and she’s sacrificing the flow of this book in order to spend too much time developing a character, Memphis, that I really didn’t feel was all that integral to the plot at all. The entire time, the story’s telling me that the Diviners as a group is what’s important and planting all these hints and reminders that something big, bigger even than Naughty John, is coming, and the entire group will be needed to stop it, but what that actually did was just really distracted me from enjoying the actual story of this book. Because it turns out, Memphis really has almost nothing to do with the Naughty John story at all, Sam and Evie’s other friend Theta very little, and as The Diviners is already a fairly long read, following the stories of these secondary characters when it turns out their stories have almost no bearing on the actual plot feels like a chore.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel the way I do if certain sections of the book weren’t just so darn good that I just couldn’t get enough of certain chapters. It’s hard to describe, but I really feel Bray has captured the soul of America, as Evie explores Naughty John’s mysterious past, Bray’s exploring American history from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to the Gilded Age, capturing the hopes and dreams and ideals that make America tick, whether it’s the mix of cultures and religions or the Second Great Awakening or racial attitudes towards African Americans from the Civil War up to the Roaring Twenties, it’s all here, in this book, seamlessly incorporated in the plot. And Bray excels at iconography, there’s a character named Gabriel who’s an excellent trumpet player and the way she works him into the religious motifs was just shockingly inspired. And whether it was the wind carrying its warnings or Naughty John’s haunted mansion working its evils or Evie and Mabel’s neighbors Miss Lillian and Miss Addie offering their creepy insights on the goings on, the story could get so dark and spooky and the imagery so spot on that I absolutely hate how the flat characters and sequel setting detours Bray forces on me sort of ruin that effect.

I have a hard time rating The Diviners because half the book is utterly amazing and the other half is just meh. Parts of the book are creatively on fire, but they’re sandwiched between sections that are utterly tedious stereotypes. I don’t know what my overall opinions of this book are, I really don’t.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
August 14, 2019
Re-read 8/8/19: This was my first time reading this since the third book came out and Libba Bray is a foreshadowing MASTER. I love this story and these characters so damn much and I cannot wait to re-read Lair of Dreams next month! This was a buddy read for the #DivinersReadalong with Melanie, Jane, & Madalyn! The liveshow discussion will be on my channel on Friday, August 16th at 6pm PST / 9pm EST and we hope to see you there!

Re-read 10/3/17: Finished this re-read in one day because I AM OBSESSED OMG. I love this book so damn much. I forgot how much of a crush I have on Theta. So excited to re-read Lair of Dreams now and THEN THE THIRD BOOK IS FINALLY OUT AKZJUSAJBDUAJS

Re-read 8/26/15: WOW. I listened to this on audiobook as a reread in preparation for Lair of Dreams and my review has shot up from a 4 to a 5 out of 5 stars. THIS WAS SO GOOD. I can't wait to read Lair of Dreams now. Oh man.

Original review 10/14/14: I am pos-i-tute-ly spooked! This book was so creepy. I loved it.
Profile Image for carol..
1,502 reviews7,556 followers
May 16, 2013

"Ms. Bray, I have an idea for your next book."
"Yes?"
"Well, the researcher who worked on The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York left some notes lying in the library, and someone I know swiped 'em."
"Perfect! What should we make it about?"
"Hmm, not sure. Let's workshop it."
"Okay. Target audience?"
"Well, you have some cred in Young Adult, and the field is on fire. If we make it about a 17 year-old and her friends, we can draw in the pre-teens and the twenty-somethings, no problem."
"Excellent. We'll need a romance. Women love romance."
"I guess we can do that two-guys-competing for the same woman situation that was so popular in The Hunger Games. If we make it into a series, we can draw out the romantic tension over a couple of books."
"Sounds perfect. Plot?"
"Well, that Harry Potter book was a huge hit and made a ton of dough. Superheros are the rage. What if we say the group of friends has special powers?"
"I don't know, that sounds like a lot of work. Just how special do they have to be?"
"We can just make it mysterious and say they are learning about it, so it doesn't have to be anything really thought out. I can put one of the interns on it for the second book."
"Cool. And the antagonist?"
"Stick with that H.P. thing and say there's this really, really evil guy trying to come back to life, and they are trying to stop him from bringing about the end of the world. That'll probably draw in horror fans too."
"Perfect. Draft it out and let me know when you are done."


****************************************
Try as I might--summer afternoon, comfy deck chair, an open-ended day just made for endless reading--I was unable to enjoy The Diviners. Libba Bray did a tremendous amount of research on the roaring 20s in New York. The trouble is, she wanted to share all of it. This is a elaborate setting badly in need of characters and plot. Someone took their cardboard cut-outs from the "Young Adult Paper Doll Book" and inserted into the pretty-flapper-Great Gatsby-land. There's the Ingenue who thinks she's experienced. The square but supportive friend. The emotionally reserved uncle (includes one bonus secret past). The charming, rakish thief. Young quiet intellectual male hiding secret affection. The earnest detective. The possibly-scary elderly ladies living next door. The religious black woman.. About the only one of interest is the Poet-cum-Numbers runner.

Plot is straight out of "innocent-investigates-murder" only it took until page 80 to get the first murder. Up until then we're treated to extensive description of our heroine drinking, partying and sassing. Gee, I wonder if her experiences will help her grow up? By the time we find a dead body, I had been up and down out of my chair about eight times, looking for other things to entertain me. When I got to the second young man romancing our heroine (oh, it's not a spoiler--this is a modern young adult book), I was ready to stab myself.

I tend to read for three things: plot, character and language. Usually at least one can sustain me through a book, but that just didn't happen today. Characters here lack subtlety, dimensionality and interest. Plot was so routine that absolutely nothing about it surprised me. Language that is mostly defined by 20s vernacular and only devoted to creating the setting. There's not even a wider philosophical ideas here to create the illusion of a thoughtful approach. Belief creates reality, yada yada, except when it doesn't. Bray breaks narrative character in a couple sections to lecture the reader on 1920s racism. How educational!

Redeeming factors: ability to create a sense of place in time in America. Mostly. Mostly the movie perception of it, actually, of flappers and haircuts and kids on the corner selling newspapers and sneaking alcohol everywhere. Okay, so it mostly succeeds at writing Great Gatsby scenes.

One and a half stars--it completely missed me, even though it should have been a three star at least, given the sassy female, the fantastical elements, the description of period New York--all ingredients that usually appeal to me.




Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,013 reviews46.1k followers
August 8, 2021
liked this more than the first time i read it and can totally understand why people love this, it was just a touch too slow for my liking.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
599 reviews86.9k followers
August 28, 2019
This book right here, was amazing.
It was spooky, fun, intriguing, really just everything I was hoping for.

Setting
First off, the setting was awesome. It's set in 1926 New York, a city bustling with flappers, speakeasies and the challenges of prohibition. Adding the spooky element of the occult and the mystery of murders to an already fun setting just made for set the whole thing up for success.

Characters
Set against this background, we have a plethora of characters.
First, we have the protagonist Evie O'neill, a spunky girl from rural Ohio. Evie was such a fun and interesting character. She was just so intriguing because while she was the image of a typical high-spirited flapper, we also got glimpses of her sensitive side and saw that she was actually a very intelligent, yet afflicted girl.

We also have Memphis Campbell, a charming boy who just happens to be black, not an easy thing to be at the time. He really offered a view of the harsher parts of New York as opposed to Evie's environment of upstate New York.

Then we have the various secondary characters of Sam, a lovable wise ass pickpocket, Mabel, Evie's careful best friend, Theta, the troubled picture of beauty, Uncle Will, a wise man obsessed with the occult, and finally Jericho, the 'gentle giant.'

Storyline
The plot of this book was so fantastical and intriguing however, I felt like I couldn't enjoy it as much because I was slightly, unintentionally so, spoiled on a major plot twist. But, even with that spoiling, I still was able to enjoy the story immensely. Part of what makes it so good is the fact that the atmosphere Libba Bray creates is just so immersive. I felt so engaged in the story, as if I was also a flapper in 1920s New York trying to find a murderer.

Writing Style
Libba Bray's writing was just wow. With so many characters, you would think it would get confusing. But no, each character had such a distinct voice that I could have told you who's who with my eyes closed. She also did an amazing job of at first, telling each of their stories separately, but then intricately weaving them together.

Her use of perspective completely blew me away. That is really what captured me from the prologue. This book isn't limited to one singular perspective, but rather a ton of different ones. And these perspectives aren't just from our human characters, but also from random objects, like a spider and the wind. It was crazy how well she utilized perspective to really solidify the atmosphere she was creating. It added an extra creep factor.

Negatives
Now I do always make an effort to mention some things I didn't like so then I can give everyone a thorough idea of how I felt about this, and for this book, finding negatives was pretty hard, but every book has its flaws.

The ending was a bit meh in some aspects (but wow in others). I felt like there was the action and then quite a bit of lull time.

The love story was kind of confusing and a little bit lacking. I did like how the focus wasn't on romance but rather on the mystery, however, I thought that when a little bit of romance was introduced, it was a bit confusing and not very well worked out.

OVERALL
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was so engaging, immersive, crazy, fun, intriguing, mysterious, creepy... I could use so many adjectives to describe it (positive ones of course).
The writing was A+, I'll definitely be reading more Libba Bray!

So to sum up:
YES I would recommend it to a friend
YES I will be continuing on with the series
YES I would reread this
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,079 reviews17.2k followers
June 28, 2021
She was tired of being told how it was by this generation, who’d botched things so badly. They’d sold their children a pack of lies: God and country. Love your parents. All is fair. And then they’d sent those boys, her brother, off to fight a great monster of a war that maimed and killed and destroyed whatever was inside them. Still they lied, expecting her to mouth the words and play along. Well, she wouldn’t. She knew now that the world was a long way from fair. She knew the monsters were real.

I thought once books surpassed 500 pages, they just couldn’t be that exhilarating anymore. I have been proven very, very wrong. Though it's marketed as historical paranormal, I'd classify The Diviners more as a nonstop, action-packed suspense novel. One thing's for sure: this book is nothing like any I've read before. With gorgeous writing, compelling characters, and a creepy plot, The Diviners was so much fun.
The people made idols and tore them down again, baptizing them in ticker tape parades, blessing them in long tears of profit and loss, throwaway tributes tossed with abandon from tall windows, a celebration of the good times that seem as if they will never stop, the land a fatted calf.

What stands out to me when I think about The Diviners is the atmosphere. It's hard to build an unputdownable book out of 570 pages, but this book is so completely engaging.

Despite the marketing, The Diviners is not a single pov novel - it follows a cast of characters, all with points of view. There's Evie, a flapper learning to grow up in New York City. Mabel, a loyal friend and source of future character development. Memphis, a black teen trying to deal with his own guilt over his past and protect his brother Isaac. Theta, a kickass and brazen dancer. Henry, her kind piano player roommate and definitely not her boyfriend. Sam, a fuckboy and thief. And Jericho, a very grumpy and very guarded angel.

And with all these characters comes a great deal of theme work. With an exploration of racism, generational splits, feminism, and religion, this book is so meaningful.
“There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he's right.”

I am also, as is usual with first series books, super excited about this story's potential. I'm excited for the found family potential and for all the baited character development. A ton of characters, like Evie and Mabel, are clearly being set up for extensive character arcs. Depending on how I feel about Lair of Dreams, this might very well turn out to be one of my most recommended books.

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Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,819 followers
October 1, 2015
9/25/15:

Finished re-reading this and it was even better the second time! Now I am finally reading the sequel and I'm very excited. :D

----------

Original Review (10/10/12):

OH GOD OH MAN OH GOD OH MAN.

So yeah, basically this book left me like this:



I've been a die-hard Libba Bray fan ever since the fabulous Gemma Doyle books. I also loved the insane, bizarre adventure of Going Bovine. And Beauty Queens was hilarious––although I thought it was a bit lacking in the usual strong storytelling element that Bray's other books have. However, that element is back again in The Diviners.

I just about died of happiness when I first heard of this book. I adore Libba Bray, and I adore the 20's era (and sadly, there aren't a lot of YA books about it). The combination sounded just ... awesome.

And oh lord, it was. Just imagine the 20's––the roaring 20's, with the speakeasies and the flappers and all that wonderfulness. Now imagine it with scary-ass demons and ghosts and murders and psychics and everything mixed in.





It's like ... all my favorite things in one book.

Okay okay, so a slightly more in-depth look at all the things I love about this book.

The plot:

I think I've already made this pretty clear, but obviously I loved the plot. I love the mystery of it, the suspense, the horror. Libba Bray masterfully blends the realism of the historical era with the horror/fantasy elements––just as she did with the Gemma Doyle books and the Victorian era. The story in itself is intriguing on its own, and the historical element also adds a lot to the atmosphere of it. There were a lot of twists in the story that I didn't see coming; and yeah, some of them were a little bizarre, but I was willing to go along with them. Over all, the story was too exciting for me to put the book down.

The setting:

Obviously, a lot of thought and research went into building the world in this novel. Libba Bray effectively creates the dark, intriguing, gritty atmosphere of the 20's, of all the secret parties and the corruption everywhere. It makes a terrific setup for the fantasy plot. In fact, it made me wonder why there aren't more fantasy books that take place in the 20's. (Seriously, if anyone knows of any, let me know.)

The characters:

I think the only small issue I had with the characters in this book was that some of them felt a bit reminiscent of Gemma Doyle characters; for instance, Theta reminded me of Felicity and Mabel reminded me of Anne. (Forgive me if I'm mixing up character's names, it's been a while since I read this or Gemma Doyle.) But even so, I found the characters to be well-developed.

I found Evie to be a very likable main character. It's refreshing to have a YA female protagonist who is quite imperfect; Evie is far from a pure Mary Sue. She has a lot of flaws and a lot of sass, but she is easy to sympathize with and she noticeably develops throughout the story (without it seeming too rushed or unrealistic).

The other characters were also terrific ... and sorry, I'm a little foggy on all their names because I read this months ago. But anyway. There were a lot of characters, but I found they were all properly fleshed-out and had detailed backstories that made them understandable and believable. They each had a role to play, which was important considering there were so many of them.

The romance:

What I really liked about the romance in this book was that it took me by surprise. Let's just say, for those of you who don't want to read the spoiler ... It didn't go in the direction that I would expect most YA books to go, and instead went in a direction I found more likable and realistic.

For those of you who have read it (or don't care about spoilers):

Well okay, I'm still trying to get through all the reviews I have to do (I FINALLY HAVE LESS THAN 10 TO DO, IT'S A MIRACLE), and I think that about sums up my adoration of this book. It may have been my favorite Libba Bray book yet, and it was definitely one of my favorite books of the year. It was exciting, gripping, atmospheric, and full of intriguing characters. Two thumbs up from me, and I can't wait for the second book. :)

Pre-review crap under the spoiler:

Profile Image for Nat.
542 reviews3,171 followers
August 11, 2018
“The time is now. They are coming,” Isaiah said, drifting back into dreams, his last word barely a whisper: “Diviners.”

This was exactly my kind of book - with talk about the occult, magical-realism, and even a little horror (that I could handle for once) - I couldn’t help but fall for The Diviners. To quote Maggie Stiefvater, good magic is a little horrific, and good horror is always a little magical. And Libba Bray brought just that to the table with this chilling and wondrous book.

This follows the tale of seventeen-year-old Evangeline (Evie) O’Neill, who gets send to New York for a few months to stay with her uncle Will after an unfortunate incident involving a louse and a lothario named Harold Brodie. An incident she, rightfully, is not willing to apoligze for because that would mean explaining what happened.

You see, Evie has special powers— she can tell your secrets simply by holding an object dear to you and concentrating on it. But the aftereffects of her object reading can leave her feeling woozy and sick.

“In New York, she could reinvent herself. She could be somebody.”

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This review contains *spoilers*.

When Evie arrives in New York after having lived in boring old Zenith, Ohio— it’s certainly a step-up for her. It’s thrilling, unnerving, and enlightening.

Speaking of unnerving, Sam Lloyd was introduced when Evie stepped of the train, and I was completely swept off my feet. I mean, I had stars in my eyes and everything…

To be frank, I went into this knowing I’d be completely smitten with Sam Lloyd because I saw some beautiful fanart (by one of my favorite artists)— and I was certainly not disappointed with his first appearance in the book.

“You can’t blame a fella for kissing the prettiest girl in New York, can you, sister?” Sam’s grin was anything but apologetic.
Evie brought up her knee quickly and decisively, and he dropped to the floor like a grain sack. “You can’t blame a girl for her quick reflexes now, can you, pal?”


And I still can’t believe he pick-pocketed her. I mean, I knew he was trouble when he opened his mouth, but I hadn’t guessed what sort of trouble.

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Source

“Thick, dark hair with a longer piece in front that refused to stay swept back. Amber eyes and dark brows. His smile could only be described as wolfish.”
(She just captured his smile perfectly. Sam Lloyd was painted by the brushstrokes of angels.)

And by then Evie finally arrives at the good old Bennington with her friend Mabel Rose, where they both encounter Theta Knight—a glamorous Ziegfeld girl.

“Evie decided she liked Theta. It was hard not to be taken by her glamour. She’d never known anyone in Ohio who lived on her own terms, wore silk men’s pajamas into a public lobby, and could toss a dozen roses like they were a cup of Automat coffee.”

It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that living with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult means having to risk her supernatural secret being discovered.

I actually found Will's obsession with the mystical so damn interesting. His lectures never felt boring or tedious because they informed me of so much.

“Will smiled as the boys chuckled. “And yet, there are mysteries. How does one explain the stories of people who exhibit unusual powers?”
Evie felt a tingle down her spine.
“Powers?” a boy repeated in a skeptical tone bordering on contempt.
“People who claim to be able to speak to the dead, such as psychics or spiritual mediums. People who say they have been healed by the laying on of hands. Who can see glimpses of the future or know a card before it is played. The early records of the Americas talk of Indian spirit walkers. The Puritans knew of cunning folk. And during the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin wrote of prophetic dreams that influenced the course of the war and shaped the nation. What do you say to that?”


But when the police find a murdered girl (Ruta Badowski) branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

“Ruta was only nineteen years old, and what she knew most was want—a constant longing for the good life she saw all around her.”

Getting into Ruta's head while this unspeakably horrendous act happened at the hands of John 'Naughty John' Hobbes, broke a piece of my heart.

“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.”

Mr. Hobbes and his cold blue eyes gave me nightmares. And like Evie and her uncle said:

“He’s a monster,” Evie said. “Isn’t he?”
Will reached into a bowl of bridge mix. He juggled the candies in his hand without eating them. “Indeed. But that’s a what, not a why. Nothing is done without purpose, however twisted that purpose may be.”


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As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps.
And we circle between the lives of a few quaint people:

A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds.

“I just need a change of luck is all.”
“Don’t we all,” Memphis said and moved on.”


A chorus girl named Theta who's running from her past.

“Theta.” Evie waved a finger in Theta’s general direction. “You didn’t let me tell your secrets.”
Theta wavered for a minute, but she was too drunk to say no. “Here ya go, Evil,” she said, passing over an onyx bracelet shaped like a jaguar. “My birthday is February twenty-third, and I had one of those limp sandwiches in the kitchen for dinner a million hours ago.”
Evie squeezed the bracelet and felt an overpowering sensation of sadness, and a trace of fear. She saw Theta running in the dead of night, her dress torn and her face a wreck. Theta was afraid, so very afraid.”


A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret.

“You asked me about how I came to live with your uncle Will. I didn’t answer you right away,” Jericho started. He pulled a heel of bread from his pocket and unwrapped it.
“No, you didn’t,” Evie said. Once, she’d been very curious about that. She couldn’t see that it mattered now, with her expulsion imminent. But she was grateful to Jericho for coming after her, for trying to comfort her in his way. She just wanted him to keep talking. “Will you tell me now?”

YES!! After he told Evie his secrets, so much of his past conversations made sense (particularly the one with Marlowe).

“I told myself a hundred lies. Children do that. It’s amazing the sorts of things you’ll make yourself believe.”

But I will admit that I was a little suspicious of Jericho because his childhood sounded a little similar to Naughty John's story:

“Naughty John, born John Hobbes, raised in Brooklyn, New York, at the Mother Nova Orphanage, where he was left at the age of nine. A troubled youth, he ran away twice, finally succeeding when he was fifteen.”
(They were both at the age of nine when they were left at an Orphanage.)

But as always, I was getting way over my head. And that's also the reason why I don't read that much mystery— I suck at solving it.

And my favorite, Sam Lloyd, juggling his ordeals to make it in New York as a self-made man.

“Sam, too, would make his fortune, and then he’d find the place in the postcard. He’d find her.”

He was one of the most interesting characters to read about. The mystery behind his actions made me anticipate his every move.

“This job at the museum had been a stroke of good luck, easier than hustling magic tricks on the streets of Times Square. All he had to do was hold on for a little while—long enough to find out who needed to pay for what had happened to his family. And they would pay.”

And that job at the museum was pretty great for my entertainment— his banter with Evie made my cheeks hurt from smiling so damn much.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Let’s put that phrase to the test, shall we? I’ll get your hat.”
“No can do. Your uncle needs my help. Look at all this stuff—who knew there were so many superstitious charms? Like this—love charm of the Hopi. Oh, I better not let you hold this, sister. You might get goofy for me.”
“That’ll be the day.”
“I’m counting on that day.”
“I hope you can count pretty high, then,” Evie said.”

I knew I was getting pretty goofy for him.

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Oh, and I also have to mention Evie's dreams because they were one of the most fascinating parts of this book.
Especially this next one she had while in the collections room:

“Shadow people. She’d turn her head just in time to see them retreat into the growing gloom. Whispering, “She’s one. She’s one of them. You can’t stop us. Nothing can stop us.”
Evie turned a corner and was surprised to see Henry also walking the streets, as if looking for someone. His eyes widened when he saw her. “Evie, what are you doing here? Don’t remember me,” he said, and when she looked again, he was gone. ”


It gave me chills because I was kind of terrified. And then Sam wakes her from her nightmare and manages to make me her laugh after seeing such horrors:

“This fella asked for your uncle, but I told him you were in charge, Your Highness.” Sam returned the bow.
Evie replied with an eye-roll. “Do you think you can manage to not steal anything while I’m gone?”
“The only thing I’m trying to steal is your heart, doll.” Sam smirked.
“You’re not that talented a thief, Sam Lloyd.”


Also, the love he had for his mother added like 10 extra points in my book:

“I thought you said she died.”
“That’s what they told us. Two years ago, I got this.” He pulled the worn postcard of trees and mountains from his pocket. Evie pretended it was the first time she’d seen it.
“Pretty. Where is this?”
“I don’t know. That phrase on the back, there. It’s Russian.”
Evie examined the soft handwriting, obviously feminine.
“It means ‘little fox.’ It was my mother’s nickname for me. She was the only one who ever called me that. That’s when I knew my mother was alive, and I was going to find her. So I took off. I joined up with the navy for a bit—till they found out I was only fifteen. Then I fell in with a circus.”

Like I said, Sam Lloyd has a piece of my heart.

Okay, so I was fully rooting for Sam and Evie to get together— but then Jericho realises somewhere along the road that he's into Evie? And I’m just… WHAT??

“Jericho didn’t know if he would function like a normal man. He only knew that he had all the feelings of one. He wanted Evie. He wanted her desperately. With his hands on hers, he imagined what it would be like to kiss her, to make love to her. She was a little spoiled and often selfish, a good-time girl with a surprising kind streak. She ran toward life full tilt while Jericho held back, not daring. She made him feel alive, and he wanted more of it.”

I was unsettled, too, by the feelings she had developed for him.

“Are you feeling all right, Jericho?” Evie asked a bit shyly. “Can I get you anything?”
“No, I’m… jake, thanks,” he said, trying out the word with a smile.
Sam watched the two of them from the sidelines. Something had happened up in Brethren beyond their finding the pendant and escaping from the new faithful. And Sam didn’t like it.”

Right there with you, Sam.

I’m not saying that Evie should be with Sam, just that her sudden infatuation with Jericho wasn't to my liking (especially when you put Mabel in the picture).

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But if you put that aside, just about everything was written so magically and with such a chilling atmosphere. There were so many moments that I loved, especially the ones where all the characters were in the same place.

I mean, when I got to see Memphis and Theta interact (among many other happenings), it made my heart soar.

“Poet, we’ve gotta scram!”
Memphis ran with Theta around a corner, where he pulled her into a telephone booth. She looked up through heavy lashes into Memphis’s handsome face. She’d seen plenty of handsome fellas before, but none who wrote poetry and shared the same strange nightmare.”


The fact that they shared the same nightmare was mind-boggling, I'm still in awe.

“Papa Charles isn’t gonna like this,” Memphis said. “He pays the cops enough not to raid his clubs. I hope your friends got out all right.”
“Me, too,” Theta said. She still held Evie’s handbag. “I suppose I’d better blow home and see if they did.”
Memphis felt his heart sink. He didn’t want the evening to end. “I could take you for a cup of coffee first, if you like. I know I could sure use one.”
Theta smiled. It was a sweet smile, almost shy. “Thanks, Poet. But I should get my beauty sleep.”
Memphis started to say something clever—“Why? You’re already the best-looking girl in town”—but didn’t. It would seem like charm, and he didn’t want to charm this girl. He wanted to know her. But the magic of their escape couldn’t extend everywhere.
“Maybe I’ll see you in my dreams tonight,” he said instead. “On that road.”
Theta’s smile faltered just a bit. “I suppose I’d feel less scared if you were there.”

My heart.

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Oh, and when they did get together, I got so many butterflies in my stomach (that kiss was everything and more):

“It was passionate, yet tender. A mutual agreement of desire. It was a kiss shared. He was kissing her. He was with her.
Memphis pulled away. “Everything jake?”
“No,” Theta said.
“What’s the matter?”
Theta looked up at him through thick, dark lashes. “You stopped.”


And not only was Memphis charming and sweet with Theta, he also held his little brother close to heart.

“Good old Memphis. Reliable Memphis. Charming, easygoing Memphis. Look-after-your-brother Memphis. Memphis had been the star once. The miracle man. And it had ended in sorrow. He wouldn’t ever risk that again. These days, he kept his feelings confined to the pages of his notebook.”

The way he watched out and worried about Isaiah pos-i-tute-ly melted my heart.

“Isaiah was all that was left of those happier times when their family was all together, when you only had to walk through the door to hear somebody laughing or calling out, “Who’s that knocking at my door?” and Memphis held tightly to his brother. If anything happened to Isaiah, he wasn’t sure he could survive it.”
You could tell that he loved his brother fiercely.

Ahh it's really hard trying to not write whole paragraphs on each character because I loved them all. They had moxie, peculiar powers, and charm. Simply put, they were an enigma that I was dying to solve.

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And not only were the characters some of the most memorable, but the mystery in the air had me on the edge for nearly the whole book. I also felt so excited whenever little plot points connected throughout the story.

And can we take a minute to appreciate Miss Lillian and Addie? Because they were such fascinating additions to the ongoing conundrum.

“Miss Addie reached out a finger and slid it over the surface of the half-dollar, paling as she did. “Such a terrible choice to have to make.”
“What do you mean?” Evie asked.
“Addie sees into the eternal soul,” Miss Lillian said.”


But there are still so many unanswered questions that I'm hoping will be revealed in the next book. Some of my most pressing ones being:

•The man in the stovepipe.
•Louis and Henry.
•Project Buffalo.
•James.
•The girl with the green eyes.

I feel fully invested in all the characters, and I cannot wait to start Lair of Dreams. Though, I am kind of hesitant because of Jericho and Evie— I'm really not feeling their relationship.

Oh, and I loved listening to this song while reading.

4.5 stars

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Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,388 reviews77.2k followers
January 26, 2018
I'm obviously late to the party, but I so enjoyed this one! The audiobook took the story to an entirely other level for me; the narrator was fabulous and did so many voices in a unique way without sounding cheesy or lame. Definitely excited to continue on with the series and look forward to answering some of the questions that were left open here.
March 9, 2013
The heroine was intolerably stupid, annoying, attention-seeking, and inconsiderate. She grated on my nerves so badly, I can barely bring myself to read on. I find Libba Bray's writing style for this book completely unreadable. I have a strong suspicion she read a reference guide to using slang during the Flapper era and made it her personal goal to use as much speakeasy language as possible in every single spoken sentence.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
March 2, 2018
The best way I can describe this book is The Great Gatsby meets Buzzfeed Unsolved.

Even though this audiobook was 16 hours long, it flew by. I listened to the prologue and had to stop it and take a break because I was already so creeped out, and there were definitely other parts that I read in the middle of the night that made me want to turn my lights on and check under my bed. This book definitely has a creepy vibe and is such an amazing, atmospheric listen. The setting of the 20s was so much fun, and I appreciate how Libba took advantage of writing such a diverse cast because NYC was such a melting pot of cultures at that time.

However, paranormal thriller just isn't my genre. I'm not well-versed in the thriller genre, but there just seemed to be far too much dramatic irony in this to suspend my attention. We knew more than the characters did, so watching them be like ~omg who did this??~ when we've known for 200 pages was a bit exhausting. Furthermore, knowing that most characters had powers but they were all too scared to tell each other also got pretty old.

I originally wanted this to be like Six of Crows where there's a group of people all fighting for one thing, but it was dangerous holding it to that esteem. I liked most of the characters, but they didn't seem quite fleshed out enough to my liking. Also, Evie, the main character, could get pretty tiresome. She had a lot of badass moments, but she could also be impulsive and petty when she was angry, and it made me want to bang my face against a wall. I adore Theta and Henry and Jericho and Sam and Memphis though.

I'm really excited to read the sequels but it's gonna have to wait until after Restore Me lol
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,522 followers
December 22, 2019
..finally released from ‘Starbucks’ before midnight, I was caught in last pages of The Diviners, and heavy rain Storm hit Alexandria that evening.
But as I get off the doors, Everything was different..

I was facing Alexandria's famous Sea Corniche, cafes' lights, wet streets no more..
There's speakeasy & theater lights instead, the yellow cabs turned into old models..
But the wet streets still there..and The Storm is yet to come..
Well,
L-E-T-S--S-T-A-R-T--F-R-O-M--T-H-E--B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N'


Let's see how this elegant Novel, mixed all my favorite Urban Fantasy “Harry Potter”, Paranormal investigation “The X-Files”, and Symbols and Cults ones “Robert Langdon”, Mutants abilities “X-Men”, Creepy Horror “American Horror Story” , New York “666 Park Avenue” and set ALL OF THAT in 1920s atmosphere that literally transferred me from Alexandria, Egypt 2013 to New York, USA 1926.
Day One p.59

What the Hell ?!! 1926 !!!???
The elegant novel I bought cause I liked its cover , I thought will be about Masons because of the Eye symbol.. it turned into social horror set in the 20s.

Breath..it may be just the beginning .. also don't deny it's interesting with this Ouija board and all, the Jazz music playing constantly in the ‘Starbucks’ cafe helping a bit living it .it'll be alright.

"few pages later"
WHAT THE F*#^..I MUST do FULL researches for books I'm buying next time..
It's all in the 20s, with the Slang that my dictionary won't get..I hate that ..
Jake, Swell, fella, Pos-i-tute-ly and Blue Noses...Well, BLUE MY SHORTS...-SKI :(
I spend nearly 4 Hours reading first 35 Pages, to get used to the language..

And this spoiled Evie, though she has an interesting supernatural talent, yet her attitude is very spoiled.
I was sooo angry ,too much of Florenz Ziegfeld and Fitzgerald and flapper and fellas ,Revue and Speakeasy (I know I mention the latter at the beginning of the review,but I didn't know this word before) and number runners and gigs!!..what's up with that?
I was exhausting with that much of vocabulary and too much similar strange names and slang..

On the other hand, There's very detailed beautiful drawing for NYC -adorned with the heavy vocabulary- and the atmosphere of the 20s.
The characters are very fine detailed too, it reminded me with J.K. Rowling's writing style which I adore...But is the 500+ pages of The Diviners worth this Exhausting Read ?


Day Three p.154
Well it is worth it indeed..with some search of New York pictures from the 20s -and recently watching Buz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby- the experience got much better..

I was already used to the slang and was glad that Mr. Will hates it like me :)
Speaking of Mr. Will Fitzgerald , Evie's Uncle ..He reminded me much of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon with all of his knowledge of Occult and Symbols..and the creepy rich supernatural history of US.

He is asked to help solving a mystery of creepy horrible murders...and Evie's special supernatural talent helping him..
That's a good story to catch my fully attention.

And it was getting darker, much complected..
It's really worth it..I'm enjoying it so far..

Day Six p.275

Half way through, It's not a novel..It's a 1920s NYC living experience...
I became actually, literally living in the 20s' New York.
Living in this creepy Bennington Building, going to theaters, watching the motion pictures starring Charlie Chaplin, going to clubs and illegal speakeasy for some shots of giggle water.

Political groups clashing with the government, wounds aching because the loved one lost to the Great meaningless War..
All while investigating horrible crimes with Uncle Will all the same time..
Looking for Solomon’s Comet and wondering what is this Coming Storm..

Nightmares and creepy feelings, Necromancy, Tarot Cards and special Gifts.. a real creepy mix..
With some Funny moments that light up the dark a bit…

Amazing Read.

Day Twelve p.463
“There are doorways between this world and the world of the supernatural. Ghosts. Demonic entities. The unexplained and undefined. The mysterious. I’ve whole books and archives dedicated to it.”

“There is no greater power on this earth than story.People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense—words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions—words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.
"This, and these..they’re a testament to the country’s rich supernatural history.”

It's amazing how big these small words between the Novel’s lines that makes it a real deeper meaning novel.

There's a great mix of Dark Fantasy and relate it to our Real World "Urban or Contemporary Fantasy”

Religious Movments
--------------
"Spirits are attracted to seismic energy shifts, chaos and political upheaval, religious movements, war and invention, industry and innovation. There were said to be a great many ghost sightings and unexplained phenomena reported during the American Revolution, and again during the Civil War. This country is founded on a certain tension.”

And that time, 1920s, with the Great War, the mind-blowing new inventions as electricity and wireless, the religious and politics movements.. All that was a great place to attract spirits.. Specially the Evil ones...
And talk about the great chaos we're facing in Egypt now..
And all of that, in a Nation that's built by different believes and religions that can make huger spirits chaos.

But that's not all,

The Comets
--------
"Comets are powerful portents! The ancients believed them to be times when the veil between this world and the next was thinnest."
Well that last one freaks me out since I was reading other Arabic novel about a theory similar to that, the relation between Comets and Evil Demons which is even mentioned at the Holy Qura'an.

Again, that's not all the creep you'd get here. The Novel is Getting Darker...
Full with Supernatural and Metaphysics, Amazingly describing the Nightmares and the creepy atmosphere of the time, like The two old creepy ladies at the building, the graveyards, the abounded house, Chinatown and the hostess girl in green eyes..the creepy festival..and so more..more real..

That Eugenics Test with the creepy enthusiastic nurse.

-and as I felt about it, THAT was real, the author said so at the notes, and google it, it's there


That reminded me with the best element of X-Men with all the diviners -mutants- investigations, the rejection and considering them "freaks".. all the like of Harry Potter as well.

Also the part with The Brethren place, their church and community reminded me with an episode of The X-Files that hunts me years before.

All that tangled with The REAL 1920s New York. in a way the author called ‘Narrative Tinkering
That reminds me of why I love that color of fantasy that I got in love with because of Harry Potter ... and this symbols biblical killer chase like Robert Langdon's adventures...and nice vast variety of sweet characters that you'd feel as if you're living with them, sometimes cracked me up with laughter,
“To Mabel! You could at least try to be polite.”
“I’m not interested in being polite. It’s false. Nietzsche says—”
“Leave Nietzsche out of this. He’s dead, and for all I know he died of rudeness.” Evie fumed.

I simply loved it..if you sum up you'll find it gets the best elements of EVERYTHING I love in fictions and Horror.."Harry Potter" , "The X-Files" , "Dan Brown's Robert Langdon" , "X-Men" , " 666 Park Avenue" even the great horror show "American Horror Story"

So I have to Thank you Libba Bray for the cinematic, living characters and places.. your describing the Evie's ‘Trance State’ when she holds something to read, is exactly like describing my actual state of reading...when I read a good novel I'm actually living and seeing it , the atmosphere and the cast I choose for the characters.

And here I am, 12 days living there...New York 1926


Day Fifteen "Last Day" p.578

With no spoilers..That's a very good climax, yet, I was shocked…it didn't end.
About 40% of the book and may be more is a base for the upcoming volume and not direct related to this one's mystery.

Is it bad surprise? Never It's still amazing and thrilled me, Now I want more volumes, even more than a trilogy, why not a 7 parts like Harry?
Want more stories of the characters I loved , the creepiest events And the Howling Storm that yet to come.
Libby made a great base that she can build a wonderful series that can get its place at the Biggest Fiction Series Ever Made.

The Ending Scene gave me a real Nightmare I add at the 2nd book Pre-Review :)

The God
---------
One important note before I wrap up..it may disturbed me a bit all the anti-God talks in the novel..
BUT at the same time I feel the series got something Good about God after all..I may can't put finger on it but it's there...I felt it in Memphis' pray for his brother by the end..
A Line by the end shows that usually our choices that get wrong..not all the wrong is just from God..
“Memphis John, you need to get beside me. We’re gonna pray for your brother now, pray the woman hasn’t brought the Devil to this house.”
Memphis dropped to his knees next to his aunt at Isaiah’s bedside, but he didn’t like it. Why? he thought. Why should I pray to God? What has he done for me or my family? He felt the anger coming up inside, pricking into tears.
“I won’t do it.” Octavia’s shock faded to a grim determination. “I promised your mama I would look after her boys, and I intend to do that. Now pray with me.”
Memphis exploded. “Why don’t you ask God why he took my mother? Why don’t you ask him when my father’s coming home? Why don’t you ask him what he has against my little brother?” He wanted to hit something or someone. He wanted to burn up the whole world, heal it, and burn it down again.
He expected Octavia to yell at him for blaspheming the Lord and throw him out of the house. Instead, she said softly, “Go on and get yourself some chicken from the icebox. I’ll do the praying, and we’ll talk after,” and it was almost worse. Octavia bowed her head. “Lord Jesus… please protect this boy. He didn’t know what he was doing. He’s a good boy, Jesus…”

But this part show may be a little hidden better idea.
“Thank you,” he said, though he didn’t know who he was saying it to, or why.

I don't know but I got a good felling about it after all..I loved also this part about how wrong the man can be.. that we who choose the wrong , every time..
Will wanted her to go inside. Then he would send her back to Ohio, where her parents would also tell her to go inside, in effect. She was tired of being told how it was by this generation, who’d botched things so badly. They’d sold their children a pack of lies: God and country. Love your parents. All is fair. And then they’d sent those boys, her brother, off to fight a great monster of a war that maimed and killed and destroyed whatever was inside them. Still they lied, expecting her to mouth the words and play along. Well, she wouldn’t. She knew now that the world was a long way from fair. She knew the monsters were real.


I closed the book...and went out off the Starbucks cafe, real rain storm hit Alexandria on the eve of 11/12/13...But I’m seeing it hitting Manhattan streets since I'm still in the trance of The Diviners..A Novel, An Experience that was beyond words and reviews...an amazing reading..A real Living story..exhausting, yes, but Pos-i-tute-ly wonderful one-ski..Swell Read :)

description


Mohammed Arabey
From 24th November 2013
To 11 December 2013


PS: The Facebook page really helpful with Pictures and advertising from the 20s ,even Naughty John's horrible tune..as well as the official website..It's really Swell :)

https://www.facebook.com/TheDivinersS...
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
666 reviews1,497 followers
October 13, 2021
New favorite obsession! It’s dark but classy...



...beautiful but swallowed in the feel of a haunting.



There are a lot of characters in this book. So, let’s do this list style:

Evie O'Neill
I positutely love Evie. She is such a unique heroine. Usually, the heroines these days are mysterious, introverted and quiet about how they are different. Evie is none of those things. She is a flapper (setting is in the 1920s), she is as extroverted and confident as they come, and she isn’t shy about what she can do.

If you give her an object, any old thing, she can tell you some things about yourself. Vague things like what you ate for breakfast or where you went that day, or she can learn the desires of your heart if she tries hard enough. She uses this as a party gag and plays it off like it’s a trick. Hiding in plain sight, you see. She’s brilliant.

Mabel Rose
When Evie gets sent to live with her Uncle in New York, she is happy to be reunited with one of her old pals Mabel. Mabel kind of does whatever Evie tells her to do, and she has helicopter parents, but she doesn’t mind the adventure that comes with being friends with Evie. Oh, and she has a major crush on the gentlemen who works with Evie’s uncle, Jericho.

Will Fitzgerald
This is Evie’s Uncle, or “Unc” as she calls him. He runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, or as locals call it, The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. He teaches classes to gentlemen here and there, but the museum itself is not doing too well. Evie is fixin’ to change that for him though. He has a lot of secrets that aren’t even fully revealed in this book, so I am eager to know more about his past.

Sam Lloyd / Sergei Lubovitch
He gets on Evie’s last nerve (he owes her twenty dollars!). He literally runs into Evie on her way to her Unc’s and pick-pocketed her. So, when she saw him again, she was all about ruining any chances he got to do it again and she just wants her money back. He is a very talented liar, thief and all-around smooth talker. He also has a few tricks up his sleeves…



Jericho Jones
Jericho is a big, strong young man who works with Will Fitzgerald at The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. He’s quiet but doesn’t let people walk on him. He has a big secret revealed towards the end that makes me feel as if this as some steam-punk sprinkled into the genre.

Memphis Campbell
Memphis used to have a power like Evie’s. He could heal people with the touch of his hands. But after a series of unfortunate event (I love that phrase), he no longer can channel that part of him. His story doesn’t really touch with the five above. In some parts he meets some of them, but he has his own story line going on. He’s African American, so you see a lot of the horrible ways people of the same race were treated back in the day. Memphis little brother, Isaiah Campbell, has a power of his own as well.

Theta Knight
She is a Ziegfeld girl and a friend of Evie’s. She actually becomes the chain between Memphis and the rest of the group. She meets him and they have a little, casual attraction between the two after they realize they are having the same dream. I am loving this checker-board love. I can see there is going to be a lot of problems with this in the future, but I absolutely am sailing this ship into the sunset.

Theta has a dark past. She, as well, has a little magic in her… but it gets her in all kinds of trouble and she has been on the run ever since.



Henry DuBois
We don’t know much about him other than he likes men, may have a trick up his sleeve, and a huge heart for his now-roommate Theta Knight. Without him, Theta would be in a whole other type of situation. I hear we get a lot more of him in the next book though, so I am anxious to read it.

Naughty John
This is our antagonist. Like I’m going to tell you anything about him besides he is messed up in the head and he needs the actual Lord and not the Lord he thinks he knows.

There are other characters that play a big part even though they aren’t mentioned as often, like Blind Bill Johnson who has a power of his own, The Proctor Sisters who seem to know a lot about magic and what is to come, a gentleman named Arthur who seems to be too interested in Mabel, a crow that keeps bothering Memphis, and a girl with green eyes.

SO WHAT IS THIS STORY ACTUALLY ABOUT?
Young adults finding out why they have some supernatural power and murders… lots and lots of murders… and ghost… and murders… murders…



This book is so well rounded and the setting is absolutely to die for. I love the twenties (cliché, I know); but, what I love more is creep. I love the creepiness of this book. Any book that makes my skin crawl is a book I am going to hold onto for the rest of my life.

Warning that there is an actual love-triangle forming and I have the ships that I am sailing and I will riot if I don’t get my way.

And sweetie, please listen to this book. I don’t care if you read along with the narrator or if you just listen to it while you drive. January LaVoy is one of the best narrators I have ever listened to. I will forever be on the lookout for books she narrates.

This is really where my review ends. Below is a rant, so proceed at your own risk.



I loved this book. I’m going to love the series. I love the Gemma Doyle series. I love this author. Libba Bray is who I aspire to be like. I need more people to read this so I can fan-girl with them.

---

This was positutely the best creepy yet classy and well rounded story I’ve read in my whole entire life. RTC.

- - -

More than half way through and not sure if I’m going to jump into the air with glee or start digging a 6 foot deep hole when I’m finished with it.

- - -

Um... this is amazing. It’s just the right amount of class and creep. Why isn’t this talked about more?
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
600 reviews711 followers
November 22, 2018
This was my third attempt at this book and... victory at last!

Once again it was a rather slow start that failed to grip me mind body and soul right from the get-go (that might’ve been too much to ask. Hence the third attempt) but once I passed that difficult stage, I found it enjoyable.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say extremely enjoyable but I was hooked nonetheless.

The plot was extremely well written and the history elements were amazingly researched and in-depth.
My initial reason to give this another try was because I needed a chilling read that’d give me goosebumps or something along that line and, again, that too was too much to ask, ‘cause although it was creepy and relatively disturbing, it didn’t end up being the bone-chilling read I suspected and was in desperate mood for.

The best part, after the history lesson, so to speak, were the refreshingly different characters that graced this novel.
It had a rich variety of individual characters who were (almost) all vividly depicted. Apart from one, that is. 🤦‍♀️

*Long Sigh*
That’s where our “lovely” heroine, Evie O’Neil comes in. The childish and “rebellious” MC with her painfully annoying slangs and over the top perkiness that I just found too too too annoying!!
She was selfish, desperate for attention, so desperate that even she was aware of it, though she wore it like a badge of honour, and so utterly exasperating to the point where I genuinely started dreading coming to her parts because I couldn’t take it anymore.
I hated the unnecessary excess charm and those slangs she used every time she spoke. Those slangs!!!
Mostly I was just like, for the love of all that is good, please do be quite and let the grownups talk! 🤦‍♀️ I found her too much to bear. I DID NOT LIKE HER. NOT ONE BIT.

All in all, it was a fun read that didn’t quite hit the mark but fun nonetheless. The 1920s Manhattan setting was great and the villain of the book, Naughty John definitely made this an overall entertaining read.

A part of me wants to get through this series and see where it goes but if I don’t, it’ll most probably be because of Evie.
I don’t think I can take anymore of her. Maybe if I take a long enough break in between, I’ll forget how infuriatingly irritating she is. Unlikely but... one hopes.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
653 reviews3,840 followers
March 22, 2018
“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ‘em off for a coupla stones.”


boy this shit was so good !! i die !!. Everyone kept telling me this series was the cats meow and I JUST DIDN'T LISTEN. And I should have, it's positutely swell !!

(okay enough lingo references) but the first thing I LOVED about this book was the setting. It's set in 1920s America and boy that is just such a fun setting to play around in. And Libba Bray definitely has fun with it. The slang and lingo used and references could have felt oversaturated but for me they didn't. I honestly just think they immersed me in the setting so much more. I also like that setting wise, how different policies and rules affected different groups was also explored and Libba Bray showed both sides of things like gang wars and prohibition.

probably my favourite this about this book was the characters oh my godd I literally love them all. ESPECIALLY MEMPHIS MY SON.

👻 Evie is so fun and extra and I love her. How dare everyone call her annoying she's fun and energetic and sweet I loved following her. She's not a typical YA heroine in that she's extroverted, loves partying, doesn't take things as seriously as she should and is a bit of an attention seeker but honestly? Kind of related to her and really liked her. She's hilarious and cool and I don't care what anyone else has to say

👻 Memphis was my favourite because he was so sweet and nice. I loved his chapters and the plots revolving around him and his brother Isaiah. There's so much potential growth for his character and development of his plot which really excites me. ALSO HE IS SO NICE TO HIS BROTHER I LIVE. I love my soft boy. He's also black !

👻 Thata and Henry are interesting and I wish they were in it more. I liked when they did appear though. I loved their living situation and how they were such good friends. Thata is disabled and Henry is gay and it was cool to see that rep. I really hope they're in book 2 more

👻 Mabel and Sam weren't in it much either. I don't really have strong opinions on Mabel and think she needs to grow on me more. Sam was set up for something really interesting at the end which is nice, but I wasn't feeling him for a good part of the book.

👻 Jericho is the hardest character for me to grasp I don't know how I feel. I wasn't 100% into the romance situation and I found him a bit bland and boring honestly.



I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book too. it was spooky and genuinely scary in parts. There was always a sense of tension and an undercurrent of scandal that I found kind of fun. You get the grimy parts of the underworld and streets contrasted with the exaggerated glamour of the partying and speakeasies which I found fun. And it did capture the same kind of aesthetic as The Great Gatsby which is one of my favourite books (especially aesthetically)

The audiobook narrator, January LaVoy also does a beyond incredible job at this. I can't even wrap my mind around how she made every single character sound so different and GOOD. Like, the narration is just astounding and I think it did add to my enjoyment of this book so much. I would never read this series any other way.

I am SO EXCITED to continue this series I just loved this opening book so much. It was spooky, with interesting characters placed in an awesome setting and i loved it.

“She was tired of being told how it was by this generation, who’d botched things so badly. They’d sold their children a pack of lies: God and country. Love your parents. All is fair. And then they’d sent those boys, her brother, off to fight a great monster of a war that maimed and killed and destroyed whatever was inside them. Still they lied, expecting her to mouth the words and play along. Well, she wouldn’t. She knew now that the world was a long way from fair. She knew the monsters were real.”
Profile Image for Warda.
1,090 reviews17.4k followers
Want to read
January 2, 2020
The plan wasn’t to start this series anytime soon, but I was looking for an audiobook to read and this seemed like the most obvious choice.
And now I’m hooked!

Thank you, Karima for the audiobook recommendation! 💛
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,366 reviews9,432 followers
December 30, 2019


Eff this book. I’m tired of books killing dogs, cats etc. How would you like your animal being gutted alive!? Like I said, eff this book and books like it because I’m tired of it all. AND DON’T MAKE NO SMART ASS COMMENTS ON MY REVIEW!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Unknown Reviews.
45 reviews116 followers
October 5, 2020
My first introduction to the glamour and extravagance of 1920’s America probably came in the form of The Great Gatsby (the movie, not the book, considering I too young at the time to get it). So, when I heard about a much-raved YA novel involving cult killings, magic powers, and Great Gatsby-esque parties, I knew I had to read it. And for once, a book, has suited my imagination perfectly.

Evie O’Neill is a mildly alcoholic, outgoing seventeen year-old, who is sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York, after she revealed a shameful affair back in her hometown of Ohio with a secret of her own: the secret being, Evie is psychometric - someone with the power to learn memories and information while holding an object. And when a string of occult murders start arising around the city, and her Uncle is enlisted to find out who the murderer is, Evie may be one of the only people who can really help.

To start, The book contains the best world-building I’ve ever seen. Libba Bray has concocted such a real, vibrant world in regards to 1920’s New York. It’s clear she’s extensively researched the subject, to the point everything was so easy to see – the grey plumes of smoke, the flashing lights of Broadway, the towering skyscrapers. I think Bray’s writing was just thoroughly beautiful throughout the book. It reminded me of the Raven Cycle with its spooky nature, as well as the ever-present autumnal vibes. I really don’t think I could’ve pick up a better book for October.

But besides the dazzling portrayal, you have no idea how long I’ve been searching for a book like this. Something about magic, and ritualistic killings with an intent to bring on the apocalypse just always gets added to my TBR list (I know, I’m weird). And I’ve never seen it as well portrayed as this book. The fun thing about this book is it can get very creepy. We get the perspective of the victims before the killings, and it does genuinely get scary. Bray just brings the atmosphere to life so well, that you’re twisted with a sense of dread as you enter each perspective, and she doesn’t play nice. Despite the YA label, Bray gets as grisly and imaginative as she wants. This reminded me of a Stephen King book in the best kind of way, and if any of you have children/teenagers who may not want to track through his territory yet, I think this would be a fantastic place to start, if they don’t mind the length.

Finally, I cannot laud enough about how Bray has shown the soul of America all in one book. Don’t just think this is a book about the fun extravagance of the twenties, Bray goes deeper into the foundations of America than I expected and thoroughly loved. In this book, Bray covers immigrants, the wars that America’s been built on, the stealing of land, the stealing of people, different cultures, religions, Communism, slavery, racism, the American Dream. I’m so impressed by how expansive this book feels. This possibly may be the weirdest comparison I’ve ever made between a book and pretty much anything, but it’s like, if you’ve played Grand Theft Auto 5, you start in the modernity and security of Los Santos, before exploring the world and countryside further to find cults, strange happenings, maybe even aliens (don’t start the debate with me regarding the Mount Chiliad mystery).

If you excuse my blatant, weird analogy, what I’m trying to say is that she explores the conspiracies, the wishes, the American Dream, and the underlying belief there is magic in our world, just one door away from us. I do love the last point, and the idea that more spooky events are happening because the curtain between us is thinning...chef's kiss.

So, I can thoroughly say while the world-building, and idea of plot (“idea” is there for a reason) were my favourite aspects of, the rest I was a little less sold on. I liked most of the characters, and was willing to read through their chapters quite happily, but I haven’t exactly found that tight-knit bond I’m looking for. It turns out Evie’s not the only one with powers – there are several. Some with the ability to heal, to walk through dreams, to make people forget they’re there. These are The Diviners, and we get perspectives from each of them.

Evie is of course, the frivolous, outgoing party girl. All she wants is fun, boys and a little bbit of alcohol at the side at all times. I was kind of impressed about how different she was from usual YA leads. I suppose she was supposed to be unlikable, or at least a little immoral, but I was only so-so with her in the end. She’s fun to read about. Technically. The fact she’s unlikeable wasn’t a deterrent, as she actually ended up being one of the more likeable “unlikeable” leads I’ve read lately (the words are beginning to jumble in my head and I’m not sure if they make sense anymore.) But while I liked her from the start, I don’t think she ever grew. I’ve seen it pop up in other reviews that she has decent character development, but I didn’t see it. From the start we know she’s selfish and careless, but she does too. It's not news to her. If anything, it’s just revealed why she does the things she does, but Evie herself doesn’t actually change. So, while I was happy with her as protagonist, she grew stagnant and the constant forcing of 20’s slang did get on my nerves after a little while (if I see pos-it-tute-ly one more time, I may wither and die.)

The rest of the characters leave less of an impression. Sam is the snarky thief who ended up being genuinely funny, but didn’t make as much of an impact towards the end. Memphis is an African-American number’s runner who can no longer heal. Mabel is the daughter of two Socialists and a political activist, and Evie’s best friend. Theta is a chorus girl with a dark past, who lives with Henry, a piano player who walks through people’s dreams…Look, there’s a lot of people. I’m not going to type them all out, and while I liked them all, the only ones who felt significant to the real plot was Evie, Sam and Jericho. (A quick note that Jericho works with Evie’s Uncle, and is a very tall man. This is literally all the Diviners, guys, I swear, I’m not lying and being lazy to type out more)

Anyway, since Evie, Sam, and Jericho were the only ones attached to the occult plot, the rest were just…there. At times, they could all intersect and they were the most fun parts, but The Diviners aren’t really established in this book. This is, I’m guessing, the Pre-Diviners? Since no-one would tell each other about their powers, you’d run the same, monotonous circles of why do I have this gift? or something weird just happened. Again. That’s nothing to worry about. Since the other characters stories end up not mattering too much, other than being information about their lives, the only characters I grew attached to were Sam, Theta, and Jericho. Jericho, I might mention, was my favourite. Maybe people would call him wooden, but honestly, the quiet, stoic guys who secretly want the girl but know she prefers someone else flashier always get to me, as they often end up being the nicer option, but never win. I loved Chaol from the Throne of Glass series pre- Queen of Shadows. There, I’ve said it. Now don’t burn me, please.

You see, the problem with multiple-perspective books is you’ll always have a favourite narrator. One piece of praise I do have for George R.R Martin is, even if groan when you turn on to a chapter of someone you don’t care about, by the end of it, you’ll have enjoyed it a lot, and the scheme starts over again with the following chapter. This doesn’t happen here. Memphis wasn’t very interesting to me, Mabel’s parts were relatable as the “ignored girl” but they don’t actually contribute anything to the book. It felt like a lot of filler, so you end up having a disjointed string of Interesting! Boring! Interesting! Chapters. It’s so frustrating when you end a brilliant chapter about the murder, only to read about someone walking through the streets of New York, going about their day.

So, while, I liked the “idea” of the plot (the conspiracies, expansiveness, magic), with such long gaps between chapters focusing on the murders, its impact gets lost and really drains the tension. It’d be nice to sometime read the book with only the chapters integral to the murder plot. It’d make a much more cohesive book, and lose one, maybe two hundred pages. Honestly, a trim on this book would’ve made it a lot better. The pacing definitely had it's issues.

Also, the ending was anti-climactic. I was expecting an Avengers Level group to join together and fight evil. That…didn’t happen. In fact, the whole build-up was kind of lost. All the spookiness and mystery was so easily tossed aside, in favour for a relatively bland conclusion. It was just weird, and I wonder why Bray went for that ending. If she could’ve left so much filler in her book, surely she could’ve made a longer, more action-packed ending that would be worthy of the impressive build-up she created?

Because of the filler and ending, I need to bring this book down to four from five. But, God, if I can somehow explain how this atmosphere finally satisfied my search after all these years...it's just perfect. (Besides the constant use of 20's slang. Yeah, that's a no from me.)

I would, very, very much recommend this to fans of The Raven Cycle, and those who like reading about how the world is always on the brink of magic. Considering the length, I’m taking a break between this book and the next, but what a fantastic book to start October on. Hopefully, the following book will live up to my expectations in regards to friendship and a sprawling, magical plot. How this only has 80,000 reviews after nearly a decade despite the constant recommendations I’ve received from friends online, truly baffles me. Well, guess what, guys? I’ve been converted. Now I must take their place and recommend it to you, maybe through an evil grimoire or a review on Goodreads. Who knows.

Conclusion Don’t be detracted by the fact that this turned into a Grand Theft Auto 5 advertisement for a minute. Go out and read the book!
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,878 reviews22.6k followers
January 23, 2020
*cue eerie music*
description

At a birthday party in New York in the 1920's, a bunch of teenagers decide to play with a Ouija board. They promptly do several things they're REALLY not supposed to do, like failing to make the spirit controlling the board say good-bye (is this really a thing?), thereby unleashing the spirit of a serial killer on the world. I'm one chapter in and already I know this book is not going to be my cuppa tea: Horror novels are just not my thing, and evil supernatural kinds of horror are really not my thing.

In the second chapter we meet our main character, Evie, and she's an insolent 17 year old who likes to party hard and drink too much gin, and thinks she's smarter than everyone else around her, including her parents. She also uses way too much 1920's slang, which, maybe it was realistic? but it just struck me as a little too try-hard on the author's part. Evie very quickly took whatever lingering interest I still had in this novel and stomped it dead.

Luckily (not for me, but for New York City) Evie and some other people are Diviners, with their own supernatural powers that can combat the evil ones. So there are gruesome murders by the evil spirit (who becomes more tangible with each killing), and investigations and quests to stop the evil spirit - sort of like Ghostbusters, except, you know, without the cool ghost-catching technology or anyone with anything remotely approaching a sense of humor - and also a little romance, just because.

So. I think this might be a great read for some people. Unfortunately it pushed all the wrong buttons for me, sort of the opposite of A Town Like Alice. I just don't care for dislikeable protagonists or creepy occult goings-on.

Initial post: Ugh. I grabbed the sequel to this on NetGalley last week and then picked this first book up at the library. I'm about 50 pages in and I don't care for the main character - a 17 year old girl who like to drink and party and has special powerz - or the whole "evil spirit escapes from a Ouija board and is clearly going to cause massive amounts of trouble" plot.

What to do? I hate to give up on a NetGalley book unread, but I don't want to wade through 575 pages of this book to get there.

Update: So I thought I'd breeze through a hundred pages a day, doing a little skimming here and there. But I got to the hundred page mark and thought, screw it, I'm getting through this one tonight. And I did, admittedly with an awful lot of skimming, but I read enough that I feel justified in giving it a rating.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,088 reviews6,589 followers
September 1, 2018
Really enjoyed this! Loved the characters and the setting, but the mystery wasn’t the best I’ve ever read!
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
Want to read
November 7, 2019
Someone told me that this book is a bit similar to sense8 and if that's true, I'll start it in a sec.
October 20, 2018

We are the Diviners.
We have been and we will be.
It is a power that comes from the great energy of the land and its people, a realm shared for a spell, for as long as is needed.
We see the dead.
We speak to restless spirits.
We walk in dreams.
We read meaning from every held thing.
The future unfolds for us like the navigators map, showing seas we have yet to travel.”


Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buddy read with the wonderful Eli :*
I guess I’m a little bit disappointed.
I had way too high expectations for this.
I thought that I wouldn’t and couldn’t sleep without my lights on after reading it.
But no, I could sleep, like always.
Because I wasn’t thinking about that book so much. At least not as much like I hoped to.
The story itself is about Evie (and some other characters like Memphis, Jericho, Sam and Theta) who moves to New York after an “accident” in her hometown. There she lives with her uncle Will and Jericho his “assistant”.
Uncle Will has a museum - a museum full of haunted things and a little magic.
Not shortly after Evie arrives in New York and lives a life full of party and new friends, a murderer starts to kill people.
But not in a normal way, in a mysterious horrible way.
So, uncle Will, Jericho and Evie are helping to solve the murders and find the killer -
but no one is safe and nothing is as it seems.
Probably you think: that sounds pretty awesome, why didn’t she love the book?
Because the story wasn’t the problem (that’s why it got 5 🌟) it was the pacing.
It was way too slow and way too descriptive for my liking.
I mean you know how much of the book was really scary? 25-30%, that’s all.
And not thaaaaaaat scary. Just a bit scary.
So all in all I love the story, I love the idea of it, but the execution of the book could’ve been better.

Character ⭐️⭐️⭐️
But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all?
“Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary.
Yes, she was too much.
She felt like too much inside all the time.
So why wasn’t she ever enough?


The main character Evie was a really intelligent and funny girl. She was full of life and wanted to experience everything she could.
Problem is, she wasn’t that brave, she thought she was brave and selfless, but most of the times when she looked into the eye of the devil, she was horrified, scared as hell and she wanted to run.
To the people around her Evie was a bit superficial, she often thought very mean things about other people.
I didn’t like her as much as I hoped I would, I did wanted to like her, but her big mouth and her naivety was really annoying.
Then there are other people like Sam, Theta, Marbel , Memphis. They all had their role in the story - even though I don’t quite get what exactly their part in the story was.
But they were nice side characters with their own story and own mind and I really liked that.
Then there were my two favorite people in this story - first of all the coolest and most interesting and intelligent uncle I’ve ever read about - Uncle Will. He has a brilliant mind and was so freakin awesome all the time.
I loved him and wanted him to be my uncle! That would mean crazy and brutally interesting family meetings. Woohoo!
And then my cinnamon roll, my cutie pie, my dear bookworm - Jericho.
Gosh, he was so interesting. He was this shy, quiet and intelligent boy who would treat you well but would never be mean to you.
He was just a fluffy muffin and I loved him from the first moment on ♥️

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is magic in our world - sometimes small - like a gift - healing, seeing, steeling, being invisible.
And sometimes it was big - monsters, demons, murder and ghosts.
In this World there are people with special gifts - something like magic and they’re called the Diviners.
And in a world we’re magic really exist there is always evil.
Even though after so many pages I still have no clue what a diviner is and how this whole magic system works, I liked the idea of the world. Magic, ghosts, myths and rituals that can bring good and bad.
It was pretty exciting.

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️
My favorite relationship was.. oh wait, I didn’t have one.
But you know what? I really loved Memphis and Theta together.
Those two were the cutest.
And the way Henry took Theta in and cared for her was so heartbreaking and beautiful.
I wish I had a friend like this.
Also I shipped Jericho and Evie pretty hard. Even though I saw that some other men were also interested in her.
All in all i wasn’t 100% in love with the characters or their relationships, but they were still entertaining.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️
Oh god, don’t get me started.
First of all this book was really descriptive. That’s good for some pages and scenes, but not when it feels nearly endless to finish some parts because we see/smell/feel/think so much throughout one page, we forget to really concentrate on the things that matter.
Then there were so many POVs. I was so confused sometimes because the author jumped through the characters like crazy and sometimes I thought i was reading the POV from Evie but then it was someone different. It was sooooo confusing.
But it was a really interesting age/time where the story played and at least the details fitted perfectly. The author did some research. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
But the pacing... it was so freakin slow.
I thought I would be hunted by ghosts and nightmares after this book, but no, I wasn’t.
It wasn’t that scary, but it was at least atmospheric.
Also I don’t like series where the first book was left with so many things open and the author only left a few clues and a lot of uncertainty, so you’re “forced” to read the second book so you get to solve the secrets in book one.
I thought about reading the second book, just for Jericho, my baby boy, but I think I can’t handle a book that has so little going on but so many pages to read.
I’m sorry for everyone that loved it. I’m glad and really happy for you, but unfortunately I’m not with you. And that makes me really disappointed.

Just a bunch of chess pieces moved about by unseen hands in a universe bored with itself.
________________________________________________

It’s October and I heard that this series is pretty scary.

Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
478 reviews37.3k followers
April 1, 2018
“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones.”


WELL I'LL BE DAMNED.

GOODNESS GRACIOUS where do I start? Because HOLY SMOKES that was the CAT'S MEOW!! GOLLY, I was completely blown away. Some parts in this book just gave me the flying HEEBIE-JEEBIES. And other parts of the book made me laugh as if I was high on GIGGLE WATER!!

......ok modern century talk now and 1920s lingo aside, The Diviners, was a well crafted and spontaneous 'hotsy-totsy' of a novel. I really enjoyed all the history and the different time period that came with the story and honestly, I was caught up with literally all the characters.

Don't get me wrong though. Evie O'Neil was the absolute worst and the most annoying character of them all. BUT, gal got me liking her more and more throughout the book. I honestly loooooooved the 1920's slang or lingo as you call it. The characters are around 17-20 in this book, and they way they spoke back then actually made them sound 'older' and more 'mature' than most book characters of the 21st century. I get that it was the way they said or spoke things a certain way but, oh man, did I have a blast reading it all.

I think I wanted the book to go in one direction and was expecting it to go that way, but it actually went into another direction that took me by surprise. I actually started this book a couple years ago and put it down because I really wasn't into it. I thought it was kinda slow and boring. The mystery and murders do drag on a bit, and I wanted soooo much more of 'The-Diviners-Divining', if you get what I mean.

I finished this book on audiobook and let me tell you, oooooh the narrator, January LaVoy, was POSITUTELY swell with the narration of the story; she had a distinct voice for each of the characters and I was very impressed.

Overall, I'm glad I finally finished this book; I am not disappointed at all. I'm excited to go into the sequel where hopefully, I WANT SOME MORE DIVINING ACTION HAPPENING!! THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS,
I DEMAND SOME MORE ACTION. I NEED SOME MORE OF, THE'BEE'S KNEES, AND A JOLLY GOOD WHOOPEE TIME!!!

4 RITZY AND SPIFFY STARS
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