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The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Libba Bray

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1,1091137,473 (4.02)48
Title:The Diviners
Authors:Libba Bray
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 592 pages
Collections:Teen, Read but unowned
Tags:teen fiction, 2012, MockPrintz2013, fantasy, 1920s, New York, Harlem, speakeasies, music, Prohibition, magic, murder, supernatural, mystery, amateur detectives, historical fiction, psychics, uncles

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The Diviners by Libba Bray (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
[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 |
Two words:

This. Book.

Anyone who knows me personally also knows about my personal, unhealthy attachment to [a:Libba Bray|2526|Libba Bray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1206563678p2/2526.jpg] and her brilliant and amazing books. I remember first reading the Gemma Doyle series and falling in love. For those who don't know, it's [b:A Great and Terrible Beauty|3682|A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)|Libba Bray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1284558475s/3682.jpg|2113193],[b:Rebel Angels|51428|Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)|Libba Bray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333820283s/51428.jpg|1696926],[b:The Sweet Far Thing|127459|The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3)|Libba Bray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358704741s/127459.jpg|3072872]. It might take me months before I read one of her newly published books, but never fear, because I'll get my mitts on them!

So when I finally got my hands on [b:The Diviners|7728889|The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)|Libba Bray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1336424966s/7728889.jpg|10501517], I went in with skyscraper high expectations.

Boy, did it fill my criteria!

It's 1926 and Evie O'Neill, fulfilling her party girl needs, commits a terrible, scandalous mistake and is sent off to New York City to live with her weird Uncle Will, oner of the Museum Of the Creepy Crawlies (aptly nicknamed).

Well. It was supposed to be a punishment. However, Evie quickly forges a bond of immediate understanding with her uncle and they make a pact that if she behaves herself and doesn't get into trouble, then she can stay in the city with him.

However, when mysterious deaths start littering the streets of New York, Evie realises that she might be well and truly needed.

She's not an ordinary girl. She has powers.

(As if I expected anything less.)

Along with her uncle and a couple of mischevious friends, Evie embarks on a crime-solving-spree that may well and truly change her life forever...

I'm trying my hardest to keep this review spoiler free.

It's definitely a must read and I would recommend this book to everyone. Fast paced and wonderfully written, Bray has once again succeeded in writing a book that comes alive.

I'd also like to point out that there are a couple of super hotties (literally) that have the ability to make you swoon and angry all at the same time.


I realise this review isn't exactly a review, but my fangirling feelings are still running wild.

So have a gif of my face whilst reading the book:

( )
  Aly_Locatelli | Jan 26, 2015 |
This was the worst book Libba Bray has written. It was much too long and included every popular fantasy trope from ouija boards to government officials in black suits on missions of extreme secrecy. Not only was this a prime example of poor editing it was also a prime example of poor writing. Large sections of the book were repeats of earlier scenes and historical notes or points-of-fact were thrown in willy-nilly and had very little to do with the story. Or at least this story. Perhaps, they will have relevance to the next book in the series. It is very clear that this is intended to be the first in a series. However, for this reader there won't be another book in the series because of the poor writing and story line that just never worked all that well. The author should have written the book in front of her instead of trying so hard to set up the next books in the series. ( )
  benitastrnad | Dec 22, 2014 |
It has been a LONG time since I have read a book that quickly. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
3.5 stars. I enjoyed it but it took forever to get through some parts. seemed like there were random things just thrown in because it was an interesting fact, not because it helped the story at all. Maybe it will all come into play later. Just seems like it could have been 100 pages shorter and still got the job done. Usually I have the opposite problem and want it to be longer. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
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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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