Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

View from the window seat:
After causing a scandal in her Ohio hometown, Evie O’Neill is sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York City. Her uncle is the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, but that won’t burst Evie’s bubble. She’s finally in the big city, where she can be anyone she wants to be and she can party with Ziegfield girls and thieves alike. Soon Evie and her uncle get caught up in an investigation of a string of mysterious occult murders. Evie can help find the murderer – but that means revealing her secret power.

Libba Bray has done it again: created an entertaining, mysterious, creepy tale that transports the reader back in time to the roaring twenties. New York comes alive in her words, from the glamorous chorines to the streets of Harlem.  Through slangy dialogue and lush descriptions, the reader becomes immersed in the 1920s. The novel has top-notch creep factor: an abandoned mansion with breathing walls, the whistling, sinister John Hobbes, the gruesome murders.

The novel alternates between different viewpoints, covering many different characters who all play a part in the course of events. Evie is selfish, careless, and quippy, but she grew on me by the end. Theta Knight is a Ziegfield girl with a troubled past. Memphis Campbell wants to be a poet, but has strange dreams he can’t escape. Jericho works for Evie’s uncle and also hides a secret past. The rascal Sam Lloyd searches for answers about his family. I loved every character. The story hints that everyone will be needed to face an unknown evil, and I can’t wait for their paths to connect even more.

Overall impression:
Set against the glittering backdrop of NYC in the twenties, The Diviners brings together an exciting cast of characters I can’t wait to read more about. With an ending that hints at a greater role for all of them in the fight against evil, The Diviners left me yearning for the next installment.


Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.


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