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The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Libba Bray

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1,1771156,846 (4.02)49
Title:The Diviners
Authors:Libba Bray
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 592 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2012, Young Adult Literature

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The Diviners by Libba Bray (2012)


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Flappers?! The occult?! Paranormal phenomenon?! This book had it all and it was amazing. I LOVED it. Seriously. Wonderful book. ( )
  MermaidxLibrarian | Jul 16, 2015 |
Dark, fast paced and intense and hooks you right away. Author is fabulously at setting a mood, I was seriously engrossed into the story and creeped out. One night I even had a hard time getting to sleep it was so spooky. Intriguing characters. My only real disappointment is that it wasn't a stand alone title. I am so sick of series and trilogies, I just want some more single stories. That being said I will be reading the net book when it comes out.

Favorite Quotes

"The line between faith and fanaticism is a constantly shifting one,' Dr Poblocki said. "When does belief become justification? When does right become rationale and crusade become crime?"

"People will believe anything if it means they can go on with their lives and not have to think to hard about it." ( )
  mountie9 | Mar 6, 2015 |
This is my first Libba Bray book and thank you, Kate, for the recommendation! Based on this experience, I will certainly be looking into other Libba Bray endeavors, especially book two to The Diviners!

I have a general passing knowledge of the 1920's. The look and the feel Ms Bray creates of the Roaring Twenties Manhattan is superb. I felt as if I were walking beside Evie on the streets of New York! With my simple, layman's knowledge of the 1920's, I truly enjoyed this vivid, bright-lights, cloche-topped flapper-girl's tale as she luxuriated in the bustling, fast-paced, ever-evolving nature of life in New York -- radio mania, speak-easy clubs, underground numbers-running -- all integrated well in this highly entertaining tale. (Did teens really talk as Evie did or did Bray take liberties? I can't answer that, but I don't think it matters, Evie's dialogue was fun! Pure fun!)

Though nearly 600 pages in length, too many story lines were left unanswered (finding the still-alive mother of Sam; Mabel and her potential new love-interest, Top Secret Project Buffalo and Will's, Miss Walker's involvement in it, the mystery of the elderly sisters living in the Bennington, the reveal of Theta's gift and the joint purpose of Evie's, Memphis', Theta's and others' special gifts), being strong indications of a follow-up/sequel/series.

This is a "young adult" book, but I am not certain my young teen children would appreciate the glitz and glamour presented herein of this era in history. This won't be lost on most adults, though. Those of us drawing close to our half-century mark will remember those black & white movies we saw as children in reruns on public television, before AMC bought the rights to rebroadcast them in the 1990s. We have something to harken back to. Since the main character is 17, I think it would be good rule of thumb to recommend this to readers 17 and older. The "dark parts" and the historical elements better understood and appreciated.

( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
I haven’t read a YA fantasy book this good in A LONG time. This book was just…. just… AMAZING :) I don’t know if it’s because this book really is an incredible gem or because I just got out of a semester full of Canadian Lit (BLAH. Why is our literature so BORING?!) but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book and I am most definitely looking forward to the next instalments of The Diviners series!

This book had elements of all the things I love including fantasy, history and a good murder mystery. The story was able to combine all three genres so successfully that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. The opening scene with the Ouija board and New York in the Roaring Twenties just sucked me in and didn’t let me go!

So what is this book about? Well this book tells the story of the young Evie O’Neill who is sent to live in New York in 1926 with her bachelor uncle who owns a museum dedicated to the supernatural and the occult. Evie herself has some strange power where she can read a person and their secrets by holding an object they own. During her stay with her uncle a series of strange murders take place and maybe, just maybe, her quirky gift can help catch a serial killer who may have some… supernatural qualities of his own. The amazing cast of characters includes a humble plain girl named Mabel, Uncle Will’s assistant Jericho, flapper Theta, pianist Henry, numbers runner Memphis and pick pocket Sam. All of the characters have elaborate and complicated pasts and I was enthralled by all of their stories.

The murder mystery is established early and I loved reading the …. the…. what’s the word….. SPOOKINESS of it all. I loved it because in the middle of the main narrative there would be chapters about the murder victims and their last moments on earth with the madman. Here we could catch glimpses of the killer and feel the terror of the victims. I mean the murder whistled and sang a CHILDREN’S RHYME. HOW BRILLIANT IS THAT? HOW UNBELIEVABLY CREEPY. I just LOVED it :) Did I say that already?

Along with the murder chapters, the amazing Libba Bray would also break the narrative to insert chilling and haunting pieces about ghostly things throughout the country, glimpses at historical events relative to the story and the characters’ backgrounds. It sounds like the story might be jumpy and disjointed but IT WORKED. It worked brilliantly.

I gave this book 5 stars (the first book I’ve rated this high in a long time) because the little issues I had with it aren’t even really important enough to mention. BUT…… now that I’ve mentioned I had qualms I have to follow through, don’t I? I’m not going to lie…. Evie kind of annoyed me at the beginning. I thought she was kind of obnoxious, but she grew on me guess, even though she is not my favourite character in the book by far. I believe that honor belongs to the wonderful uncle, Will Fitzgerald and the fabulous Theta Knight.

Anyway. What are you still doing reading this review?? My advice is to STEP AWAY from the computer, grab this book and read immediately! Go on. Whether this book is waiting patiently on your shelf at home or at your nearest book store take it down and ENJOY :) I sure did! ( )
  ceecee83 | Feb 28, 2015 |
[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

Well, this was a refreshing read.

Let me start by saying that I don’t read a great deal of historical fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book — due in large part to the incredibly in-depth and incredibly accurate portrayal of 1920s New York. The sheer amount of research that must have gone into writing this book is mind-blowing, and I really appreciate that the author took the time to make the world-building as authentic as possible. Everything from the slang to the locations to the customs to the fashions to the social issues…it was all rendered perfectly in this book.

On top of that, I also found myself clapping at the inclusion of an array of diverse characters, which I think is important not only because of the constant need for representation of minority groups in literature but also because New York is (and has always been) an incredibly diverse place, and the 1920s was no exception to that rule. The portrayal of New York in this book seemed much more authentic due to the inclusion of characters from all walks of life.

The characters themselves were also well-characterized. Most of them had their backstories fleshed out as the book went along, and though I sometimes get a little irritated by backstory, I didn’t mind it here because I found all the characters interesting. I wanted to know how they got where they were and where they planned to go from there, and the book delivered that for me.

Evie, as a protagonist, was a fairly spoiled brat, but she wasn’t nearly as annoying as that character type typically tends to be — probably because she actually learns important life lessons throughout the novel (without, I might add, losing any important aspects of her personality). All the other major and minor characters, too, were fairly fun to read about — some of them have pretty heartbreaking histories, and they added a lot of weight to the overall story.

All that being said, though, I do think the plot suffered from being a bit bloated. I think things could have been shaved off here and there, a few plot points sped up, a few scenes shortened, a few chapters that dragged on and on cut down to read quicker…that kind of thing. This is a pretty big book (over 500 pages), and I think it could have stood at 300-400 pages without losing any of its depth or impact or interesting world-building or characterization.

Overall, though, this was a pretty good read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel, Lair of Dreams, which comes out July 7th. ( )
  TherinKnite | Feb 11, 2015 |
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And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? - "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats
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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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.… (more)

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