Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Summary: 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.
For some reason, I thought this was a book that came out recently, apparently I was wrong, so now I’m horrified that it’s taking so long for the second book to come out. Seriously, what’s up with that?
This book had a rocky start, that’s for sure. Evie is getting shipped off to live in New York City with her uncle, because her parents just can’t handle her bad behavior anymore. The thing that got me was that I immediately did not like Evie on bit. Not one teensy little bit. She was snotty and snooty and annoying and she thought she was just the best thing in this whole damn world. I just knew that she was going to ruin this book for me. So I pushed through and dealt with her obnoxious attitude, then about a third of the way through the book, I realized that she was starting to grow on me. Yep, I don’t know how Libba Bray managed to pull this one off, but by the end of the book, I actually liked Evie. Sure, I still wanted to punch her in her pretty face like every five minutes, but she felt live and real and fun. She was spunky and sassy and brave (if a little stupid sometimes) and I just liked her life. I was surprised, trust me.
This book has a few different characters in it. Evie is obviously the main character, but some chapter has other people’s points of view, since there are several storylines running together as one. And I really liked all of them. Theta and Henry’s relationship was perfect, I loved how he picked her up from her sad past and gave her a new life and they were sticking together no matter what. Even if Theta’s past was absolutely horrifying. Memphis was super intriguing, and I liked the different perspective we got from him, since he lives in Harlem. The only character that I felt a little blah about was Mabel. She is just kind of the plain, boring best friend that hangs around just to offer a sulky, depressed perspective on what Evie finds fun and exciting. But I’m hoping that in the next book, she is going to grow and be more of her own person. Sam was hilarious. I loved how charming he was and the witty banter between him and Evie had me constantly cracking up.
Jericho was probably my favorite secondary character. He was interesting and once we found out his secret, my jaw dropped. I honestly wasn’t expecting that, and I really want to know more. But I love how the first impression you get of him is that he is just some dull guy that works at the museum, but he ends up playing a bigger part. And I like the sort of character he is, the strong, steady, silent rock sort, who just provides comfort and support. This author can seriously write. Most authors have a hard time giving life and personality and depth to one character, Libba Bray just successfully did it with like ten. Not to sound like I’m gushing, but she is an inspiration and lots of authors could take some pointers from her.
Obviously there is romance in this book, but I’m not going to say between who, because I don’t want to spoil anything. However, it was great. The best thing about it was that it didn’t, at any point in time, take away from the story. That’s right, this YA book was not completely centered around some sappy love story. I could kiss Libba Bray right now. I love that it took me by surprise instead of going to the way I was completely expecting it too, it was very refreshing and I found it to be more realistic.
The mystery was definitely spooky and intriguing enough that it kept me interested, I was legitimately getting goose bumps at some parts. I was really fascinated with all of the cult stuff involved in this book, it was one of those things that was so disturbing to the point where you just want to know more. The storyline and the mystery both had so much depth to it, between the past and the present and everyone point of views, it was wonderfully written. The whole book was wonderfully written. This book had such great world building and Libba Bray brought so much life to this time period, I felt like I could close my eyes and see everything. I don’t know how she did it, she isn’t old enough to have been alive during that time, but I’m wondering if she isn’t hiding a time machine somewhere. I understand this was a horrible time period and things sucked, and she showed that in a dark, gritty way, but she also managed to write it in a way that makes me just want to go there, just for a day. The city had such life.
The one thing I was disappointed about was the ending. Not to spoil anything, but it felt a bit anticlimactic to me. I realize that nothing about the ending or what Evie had to go through with inevitably facing Naughty John was easy, but the solution, while creative, seemed… I don’t know, almost cheesy. That’s not really the word I’m looking for, and maybe the bad ass in me just wanted to see an ultimate showdown, but when you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The ending ending (after the face off with Naughty John) left me wanting the second book so bad. Stupid Evie made stupid, silly, selfish decisions again, and in the next book, it is going to hopefully bite her in the butt. There is just so much mystery that still needs to be solved, so much more character development and twisty plotlines that I need right now!
Libba Bray, if you ever read this, PLEASE SEND ME AN ARC OF LAIR OF DREAMS! PLEASE!