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The Diviners (2012)

by Libba Bray

Series: The Diviners (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4781834,156 (3.92)76
Seventeen-year-old Evie O'Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
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» See also 76 mentions

English (180)  Italian (2)  All languages (182)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
I was incredibly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I am not one for a murder mystery, nor an unlikeable narrator, and yet both leant a realism to this horror novel. ( )
  carmsoc | Jul 3, 2020 |
A young adult novel written by Libba Bray in 2012 I found out that Ms. Bray is an author of some note who has successful trilogies under her belt.

I think that this book had a very interesting villain and I thought setting it in New York in the 1920s made for a more engrossing read when Bray started discussing the streets and sections of New York back in the 20s. However, a great villain and period of time in New York just wasn't enough to elevate this book for me. A lot of things were kind of hand waved away. And the ending just kept coming before it finally ended.

When the book begins we start at a party where the the crowd uses a Ouija board and unknowingly releases something dark and evil.

We them segue into the main plot which follows seventeen-year-old Evie O'Neill who has a talent for holding an object and being able to tell things about the owner of the object. Doing this at a party has caused an embarrassing secret to leak out and she is sent from her family's home to stay with her mother's uncle in New York. Evie has dreams of being a Ziegfeld girl and becoming someone while living in New York.

The problem for me is that the center of this book is Evie. Evie has the sense God gave a gnat and is selfish, lies, and pretty much is epitome of the anti-Mary Sue. Believe me I don't care for Mary Sue characters in my books. It makes for a boring read and is why I gave up reading a lot of books out there that I initially loved because I couldn't with the main character with Mary Sueish characteristics. So though I applaud Ms. Bray for not making her main character a Mary Sue she went the whole other way to completely unlikable. If Evie had been written as an anti-hero then I think that you could get behind everything she was about. However, she sadly is written as a character that the author wants you to root for throughout out the book and every scene with this character stopped me cold. Also Ms. Bray decided to keep having Evie talk like a really bad actress appearing in a sub-par black and white film. If the other characters did this I could maybe deal with it, however, everyone else seems to speak modern so to have Evie trying to sound cool was just jarring.

Evie goes to New York and starts helping out her Uncle Will (or Unc as she calls him) who is the curator of the fictional Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. Will is also at times called in by the police to help them with unsolved crimes. One of these crimes he is called in for is a series of murders that seems linked to the occult. Along with Will's assistant Jericho, Evie assists (laughingly) her Unc with his investigation of the crimes.

If book one had just been the above I think I would have liked it more than I did. Even though I couldn't stand Evie at least the plot was pretty straight forward. However, Ms. Bray than introduces several other characters and their backstories in this book and it just made for a really difficult book to get through. I stopped at around 23 percent and had to take a break since I felt like I was getting sensory overload.

The other characters are Theta, Memphis, Sam, and Mabel. There are also some other characters such as Octavia, Isaiah, Blind Bill Johnson, Malloy and a bunch of other characters I am forgetting.

I really enjoyed the characters of Theta and Memphis but that was about it for me. Theta is a Ziegfeld girl on the run from her past and Memphis is an African American who works at one of the clubs trying to forget about his talent. Sam was a male version of Evie, Jericho had the most confusing and weird backstory ever that made no sense, and Mabel though interesting at times faded into the background except when needed.

So even with the main plot and all of the characters I listed above, we still, still get a love triangle in this book. I don't know why I was surprised. Heck I should be more surprised when a love triangle is not pointlessly inserted into a book these days. There was an except for the next book in the series in my Kindle version and I just sighed and shook my head since it appears the love triangle is alive and well. I swear for once I want one of these boys/girls in this books to just be like you know what? Go pound sand. I am freaking awesome. I am not going to wait for you to decide if you want me or the other guy/girl. Choose the other guy/girl.

So even with the pointless love triangle what really annoyed me is that the so called "Diviners" don't do anything really in this book. We do find out pretty early on who they are. We don't get them realizing what or who they are really and they don't get together to try to fight the big bad in the book. Instead the book ends and we have the promise of an even bigger bad to fight in the next book. I didn't need the characters coming together like "The Justice League" or anything but it would have been nice to have them all interact with one another. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
i've tried reading The Diviners a few times over the years since it seems like everyone loves this book. but each time i try, i give up. i don't care for the characters or the story.
  mxashelynn | Jun 14, 2020 |
The amount of research that went into this book is astounding! I can't believe it took me so long to read this! The first 30-75 pages are a little slow-going, which made me put it down several times in the past. Absolutely loved how she wove the story and all the characters at the heart of it. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
I wasn't quite sure what to rate this book. The slang got a little over the top sometimes but I acclimated to it. A good portion of this book could have easily been left out with absolutely no harm done to the story. (I kept waiting for all the main characters to intersect, and then it finally happened and-- nothing.) And I kept getting reminded of the last season of Dexter that I bothered to watch, what with the Doomsday-type killer seeking victims in accordance with apocalyptic text.

What bumped it up to four stars is that I actually felt creeped out at various points throughout the story, from just the superficially mild appellation "Naughty John" to the could-be-real fanatic religious cult to old mansion that sounds like it borrowed from H. H. Holmes's murder house (trapdoors and such). ( )
  elam11 | May 30, 2020 |
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Epigraph
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? - "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats
Dedication
For my mom, Nancy Bray, who taught me to love reading by example
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In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.92)
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