The Diviners by Libba Bray
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Published: September 18th, 2012
Received: Thrift Store find
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes and Noble/ Book Depository
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Some mornings, she’d wake and vow, Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves. But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing or talk a little too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. 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?
First off I just want to say that this book was incredible and I am so mad at myself for reading it so slowly and not reading it sooner!
This book emerges you completely in the 1920’s, every moment you learn more about the culture, the music, and the thoughts of the time period and that was not something I was expecting while I went into this book. One of my favorite touches to the story was all the lyrics for songs in the period. It made me want to listen to the actual songs and to dance the charleston.
I also loved how true the speaking was, the girls spoke to one another authentically thinking of going to speakeasies, drinking giggle water, thinking of love, and updating their style. It was all so well developed.
Careful there, Poet. I might start to believe you.
I also loved the diversity in this book, which I definitely wasn’t expecting. The interracial relationship that was absolutely beautiful and even more beautiful the relationship between Theta and Henry. How he took her in and cared for her, stuck by her side no matter what spoke of a true friendship and a bond that could never be broken. The fact that he is gay and the amount of acceptance and encouragement from Theta was awe-inspiring.
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.
The paranormal elements were so well-done as well. They created a tension that pulls you through the novel and leaves you wondering up until the very end. Whistling will forever unsettle me for the rest of my life. The change of view for the murders was heartbreaking, and it also reminded me of almost all the beginning parts of Supernatural, when you know that that person is dead and you just hope in your heart not to like them too much, but in the Diviners you often do, but they die anyway.
This book is rich in atmosphere, it created this fascination for the occult and the glamour of the 1920’s that I didn’t realize I had. This book is one that you can really live inside. It is as much of an experience as it is a story.
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?
I also enjoyed how the love triangle between Evie, Sam, and Jericho, was done to where it is more of a slow burn and you really get to know each one of them. Sam is impulsive, a quick thinker, and knows how to stay out of trouble while still being fully immersed in it. Jericho is a friendly giant, intelligent, caring, and in a lot of ways adorable, although Sam is definitely adorable in his own way (Sam can be an adorable idiot at times, in a very good way). I have a place in my heart for them all.
Your mother and I do not approve of drinking. Have you not heard of the Eighteenth Amendment?”
“Prohibition? I drink to its health whenever I can.
Evie herself is definitely the definition of a flapper and she embraces every part of life. She can be careless, but she has a big heart, everything she does is with good intentions even when they don’t always work out her way. I admire her for her ability to speak and do things solely because it is a part of who she is and what she believes in. Her confidence and spunk make her who she is and I really appreciate seeing a character created this way.
I love the friendship between Evie, Theta, and Mabel. They stick together, but they are definitely each unique individuals. I can’t say the last time I read a book where so many characters were so fully developed.
This book is so great because it is so well balanced, it feels like life is being lived, it paints a picture of a time that is threatened by a deep evil, one will take strength to defeat. Hidden like gems in these pages are friendships, hopes, dreams, murder, and love in all of its forms. This is a story well-told, one that I can’t wait to see what’s just ahead for.
-Till next time!