Book: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal, Mystery
“People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense-words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions-words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History”
There are books that you know everything about due to the hype surrounding it and the plethora of spoilers going around social media. This wasn’t the case for this books. Sure, I’d seen it around bookstagram, I agreed that it was beautiful to look at, but I knew NOTHING about the plot before picking it up. Going into this with my eyes closed worked out for the best this time.
The Diviners is a BIG book with and equally BIG story. We start off with Evie O’Neill, who is always chasing trouble’s tail, being shipped off to New York to live with her uncle Will after a “prank” gone wrong. It’s 1926 and New York is where the party is at. Evie is beyond ecstatic for the change of scenery, a place where she can finally belong. Uncle Will is master of all things occult, owning a creepy museum and teaching courses on everything there is to know about the supernatural. When bodies start popping up, desecrated and missing body parts, Will becomes the man of the hour and Evie is not far behind. Together, they’ll try to uncover the mystery of The Pentacle Killer and hopefully, live to tell the tale.
Let’s get one thing clear, I LOVE NEW YORK. I love the city, I love the ambiance, I love the craziness of it. It’s a place where everything seems possible, like every corner is harboring it’s own adventurous opportunity. But it’s also scary and mysterious and broad. This book captured that. Beautifully. People underestimate the power of a good setting. Giving life to the buildings, the streets, the very wind that surrounds your characters can give a whole new edge to your story. A different time period? Madness. Genius. A busy city, right in it’s prime; it’s not hard imagining all the crazy events that happen throughout the story.
This is one of the few books that I stayed for the atmosphere, instead of the plot. Not that the plot was lacking; it’s just as fantastic. But the wow factor was definitely the richness of city. In addition to this, we have the dialogue which was fluid and fun s heck. There’s so much slang from the ‘2os, giving it that classic movie quality you expect from the era.
The plot itself is like one of those Russian dolls. It’s a plot within a plot, within a plot… Though there is a lot to take in, the author doesn’t try to rush the action. Everything is at low simmer; the drama, the romance. Hopefully it’ll pick up a bit more in the sequel, Lair of Dreams because I sill have A LOT of questions.
One of the things I loved most about this book is the amount of characters presented. Each one has a secret and a different life story but in odd ways, they’re all connected. The chapters change point of view constantly to accommodate all of the protagonists, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat to see what will happen next. This strategy runs the risk of getting annoying because sometimes you want to read a specific POV more than the other. Even so, I enjoyed it a lot more in this book because I loved all of the characters. Even the villain, who was scary beyond belief, had fantastic chapters. The only con was that with the constant switching, the story kind of dragged on. But I appreciated the slow place.
With Evie, the first think that came to mind was spunk. This girl is as feisty as they come; she’s definitely the life of the party. She’s vain, she’s petty, she’s a bit too adventurous and I loved it! There’s nothing I hate more than a bland character and Evie was so full of life, so real and girly that I couldn’t help but love her whirlwind personality.
Then we have uncle Will himself, all scholarly but at the same time mysterious and anxious (and handsome I’m not gonna lie), a total contrast to Evie. His role as parental figure is lacking but he’s key to the plot. At his side we have Jericho, giant, silent and beautiful Jericho. Now he was a surprise. He doesn’t talk much during the book but when he does, he makes an impact. He makes you laugh, swoon and maybe coo at his dorkiness. He’s my personal favorite to be honest.
In addition to those three we have Sam a rake and a thief; Theta, superstar and runaway; Memphis, a poet with street smarts; Mabel, a quiet girl with rebellion running through her veins.
I believe that in the next book these last 4 characters will develop more and take up the spotlight and I am oh so ready for it. I honestly don’t know what more to expect, how this will go on…
But what I do know is that it’ll be epic.