The Diviners

The Diviners

Finally I’ve gotten around to reading Libba Bray’s The Diviners.  It’s been on my to-read list for a while, and I finally got around to actually visiting my local library branch (in person I mean, since I visit the library ebook website frequently).  With a renewed library card and a stack of books I left pleased with life!

This happy feeling has continued, for I quite enjoyed The Diviners and am anxious to read the next installment! Set in the roaring twenties, you get a feel for the spice and excitement of those heady days.

Evie O’Neill is a fiery seventeen year old flapper, sent to stay with her uncle in New York after pushing too many social buttons back home in Ohio.  She is hell-bent on having a good time, New York Style.  Firmly against the Prohibition, Evie is the kind of girl to take life by the horns, and drat the consequences.  She is pos-i-tute-ly swell!

Evie’s once-pen-pal and now best friend Mabel happens to live in New York, and Evie is convinced that Mabel just needs to let loose and have a bit more fun. From trying to convince Mabel to get a fashionable bob, to dragging her along to speakeasies and dancing, Evie is nearly more than Mabel can handle. Mabel’s parents are socialists and activists, and Mabel is used to rallies, protests, and police breaking up crowds. She’s also an orderly girl, with a secret crush on Jericho.

Jericho is the tall, broad and handsome blonde assistant to Evie’s uncle, Will.  Jericho is smart, and seems to carry secrets of his own somewhere in his hidden past.

Not to be outdone, Sam Lloyd is a petty theif and con-man who has weasled his way into working at the museum. Partly to follow an agenda of his own, and partly to be closer to the pretty Evie.

Memphis is a young man living in Harlem with his aunt and younger brother.  Working as a numbers man, he’s also a secret poet.  Struggling with his past, including a lost healing ability, Memphis is an interesting and likeable character.

Theta happens to be a Ziegfeld girl – performing as  part of the chorus line.  Living with her “brother,” Henry, in Evie’s new building, Theta also has secrets in her past.  Evie and Theta hit it off right away

Will, Evie’s uncle, is unused to dealing with the antics of a lively teenage girl. He’s also the curator for the Museum of American Folklore, Supersition, and the Occult.  Far from being a dull professor, Will seems to have a secret past of his own.  His academic background and history of working for the government mean that Detective Malloy call’s on Will when a body is discovered with strange occult markings.

Evie’s secret – an ability to “read” objects – is one that might help the investigation.  Faced with a rash of murders, all linked to the occult, it’s up to Will, Evie, and their team to help stop a killer before it’s too late.

Several thoughts:

  • The characters are generally well-rounded and believable.  They all have their hidden pasts, which adds to their depths and fuels their motivations.  Even though there are a fair number of characters, it’s easy to follow who is who.
  • The book takes a few turns that put it solidly in the fantasy/science fiction genre.  One of these relevations I was surprised by. The Occult/Supernatural stuff I bought without question.
  • It’s a somewhat creepy, hair-raising tale of a villain who is definitely the stuff of nightmares.
  • You get the sense that, even though this is a rather hefty book, it’s just warming you up for greater things to come.
  • I do love a good murder mystery.
  • Historical fiction = Bonus.  I really enjoyed the depiction of 1926 Manhattan.
  • Enough romance (though not as the central plot) = fantastc.

As I said, I’m itching to read more!! Fantastic!  A solid 4 / 5!

(P.S. I HATED the Gemma Doyle series – I thought Gemma was vapid, stupid and careless – so I am surprised that The Diviners was so enjoyable. I guess I can’t judge an author by one series alone!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Books

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