Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: The Diviners

THE DIVINERS (Diviners #1)
Libba Bray
Paranormal Young Adult
608 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
 

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn't catch her first.

MY THOUGHTS
The Diviners is a sprawling paranormal murder mystery, one that features a large cast of very unique characters all linked through special abilities that mark them as different from the world around them. Ms. Bray shows exemplary skill in crafting an extremely intricate story, each of the many characters having their own fascinating history we can’t help but want to learn more about, and we’re given just enough to feel as though we have a grasp, however tenuous, of who they are even as we’re continually teased with parts of them that remain just beyond our reach. While we’re intrigued by the possible connections between the many and varied characters, we’re more immediately unnerved by the presence of a sinister being slowly slaughtering his way through New York City, the hairs on the back of our necks standing on end as the murderer’s soon-to-be victims are given chapters of their own, allowing us to bear witness to their final moments and ratcheting up our desire to see a true monster come face to face with lady Justice.

Evie is the main protagonist though she shares the spotlight with Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Sam and a handful of others, earning herself a one-way ticket to New York City when she drunkenly shows off her gift at a party. Initially she’s a bit of a challenge, seemingly only interested in drinking, partying, and making sure other people know her name; a fame she often achieves by selfishly and stupidly revealing her talent despite having lived through the consequences of her actions many times before. When best friend Mabel finally calls her on her behavior, Evie becomes someone we can support, taking what was said to heart and making a valiant attempt to allow the scope of her gaze to include other people besides herself. She tones down the need for attention, and works with her Uncle Will, Jericho, and Sam to solve a spectacularly disturbing case, showing off an intelligence previously hidden by poor decision making, and a determination previously hidden by a bored party-girl façade.

Memphis, Jericho, Theta, and Sam all play roles of a similar size in this story, their histories briefly illuminated for us so we can see that amidst their differences and their separate lots in life is a shining thread of supernatural similarity. Through several smaller secondary characters we know a prophetic call to action for all of them is coming, the need for them to unite in the ensuing days crystal clear, though the purpose for their future unification remains cloaked in uncertainty. There is a tiny touch of romance worked in, but it remains a background element to the dual mystery of the killer and the Diviners themselves, and while the romance between Evie and Jericho is of particular interest given Jericho’s tragic past, things don’t even begin to heat up for them until the concluding chapters of this nearly 600 page tale. Still, the first hook has been cast at the end of this first installment, and we’re easily caught, desperate for just a little more time with them now that we’ve had a taste.

Overall, The Diviners impresses with an astounding attention to detail and a masterful handling of a wide variety of characters and subplots, though it’s important to know going in that while many of the cards in Ms. Bray’s hand are shown, very few are actually played in this first book. Many a plot thread is left swinging in the breeze by the time we reach the last page, the rather terrifying mystery of the murderer wrapped up nicely but the larger arc surrounding those known as Diviners is really just beginning.

Rating: 4/5


Please come back tomorrow as I'll have a very fun character interview with Theta to share with all of you!

49 comments:

  1. ooh, glad you liked this one as I hadn't really thought about putting it on my TBR put have seen lots of good things about it.

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    1. I really enjoyed it! It was my first book by Libba Bray and I can't wait for more:)

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  2. I admit that the time period 1920s is something that totally turns me off the hook for this one... But. I know Pushy right now is listening to the audio and she's BIG fan of Libba Bray. (Like the squealing and fangirling kind of fan..) I'm sure she will love this one and I'm happy you loved it too!

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    1. It's not my time period either Danny, and sometimes the language in this one put me off a bit, BUT it was a very creepy story and I loved it:)

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  3. Danny- It's not my time period either, but I read the first chapter and was HOOKED! I have four of Libba Bray's books and I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any of them. Simply haven't made time for them. I got this monster of a book for a blog tour and I'm just not up to reading it in a week's time. So I got my own copy. I LOVE her writing style. It is so easy going and yet sucks you in. It's like easy going poetry. I only have three chapters read, but I loved what I read. So of course I skimmed your review, but I can tell you I already agree with you about Evie. Attention hog! Kinda funny what happened at the train station. But pin money? My mom used to have that and talk about it! I love to read about that. My mom was born in 1925. I totally love to read things like that when my mom and great aunts used to talk about those things. So definitely loving that part of the book. And I'm digging out my Libba Bray books! Gemma Doyle and Beauty Queens.

    Heather

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    1. I wasn't sure this was going to be for me either, but I just couldn't put it down even though it's an enormous book:) I had to know what happened! Evie was tricky for me in the beginning, but as soon as Mabel set her straight we were good to go:)

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  4. "paranormal murder mystery"? Well, I'm sold. Huh. That really didn't take much, did it?

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    1. It's okay Amanda, I'm easy too. Normally all it takes is the mention of a bad boy and I'm sold:)

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  5. I'm really excited to read this one. I've never read Libba Bray before, but the buzz surrounding this book is huge, and I think I've yet to see a bad review. On another note, the book is also huge, so I won't be carrying it around with me!

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    1. This was my first Libba book too! And it will definitely not be my last:) And yes, it's super thick, but it never felt needlessly long to me.

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  6. I've seen a lot of my friends really enjoyed this one even though it was quite huge and long. The mysteries behind the story sounds very intriguing and the MC, Evie, seems like a character that really did have a lot of development and progress throughout the story. Brilliant review as always, Jenny! Glad to see you enjoyed this. :)

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    1. Evie definitely showed a lot of growth, I was super impressed with her. At first I thought it was going to be a challenge to spend 600 pages with her, but she turned out to be fabulous:)

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  7. I tried to like it. I REALLY TRIED TO but man was this an excruciating read for me. The amount of details was too much for me and the number of POVs was overwhelming. I'm glad you enjoyed it though.

    great review!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. There was definitely a lot going on Juhina, this is not going to be a book for everyone! I could have done with a few less POVs, but I did really enjoy the POVs from the victims, those brief sections were horrifying:)

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  8. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, because I have been looking forward to this book for awhile. I love Libba Bray and I think this sounds like a promising new series, especially since it's a murder mystery! Great review!

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    1. Yes, the murder mystery was super well done I thought. I liked how it wasn't so much of a whodunnit but more of a "how in the world do we stop him". And he was nightmare-inducing for sure.

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  9. Libba Bray is so awesome--I bow down at her feet. Holy cow, I wish I had about a week of non-stop reading time so I could catch up on all the awesomeness I'm currently missing, reading about, and being jealous that others have read. *le sigh*

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    1. I'm a new fan of Libba's Mary! I can't wait to read her other books now:)

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  10. So glad to see you enjoyed this one too, Jenny! I thought it was a unique read and even though it was a brick of a book, it never lost my interest. Wonderful review. Can't wait to see the character feature. :)

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    1. Definitely a brick of a book, but it never lost my interest either. I'm hoping we get a lot more info on the Diviners themselves in the next book!

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  11. I really enjoyed the plot of this novel, but as your said, there are also many subplots and a lot of details. This is a long book that I unfortunately felt even longer, but not less entertaining. The amount of details, descriptions and subplots just kept me wanting to go back to the main plot. But it is a great book and Im definitely reading the rest of the series! This is one of those super well written books I should read more often. =D
    great review my dear. Have I mention that I LOVE your writting? your reviews are very intelligent! duuuude, you really are a pro reviewer!! <3333333 muah!! <33333

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    1. You are too cute for words. You just make me happy:)

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  12. Jenny, thanks for the awesome review! I wasn't sure that I would like this book, but after your review, it s seems as I may have been wrong.

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    1. I really enjoyed it! It was a bit complex at times, but I'm super excited to see where things go from here:)

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    1. Once Evie stopped vying for attention so heavily, the story didn't feel long at all. I couldn't wait for her to get things figured out:)

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  14. Libba is so freaking awesome. I love her and all of her books that I've read so far. This has already been on my auto-read list. I love how she blends multiple genres into her books. I only scanned your review because I didn't want any spoilers. Can't wait to read this one! I hope to meet her in October when she comes to Chicago!

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    1. I need to go back and read her other books now, I have Beauty Queens on my shelf that I won last year. Can't wait:) So lucky you get to meet her in Chicago!

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  15. Thanks for the great review Jenny. I'm supposed to get a copy of this book soon and I can't wait for it get to me because this book sounds amazing.
    I look forward to read your character interview !

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    1. You're welcome Elodie, hope you enjoy it!

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  16. I. Need. This. Book! I love Libba Bray. So much. And she always writes wonderful things.

    Great review. :D

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    1. I'm definitely a fan of hers now as well:)

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  17. I am so excited to get started with this book. I haven't read much from this time period, but it's one that I think I'd really enjoy. I love seeing Libba get back to paranormal.

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    1. I normally don't care for this time period, but I loved how Libba brought it to live and added a touch of the paranormal to things:)

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  18. Argh!! Jenny I cant decide if I really want to read this even with that stellar review.....Brays Going Bovine and Beauty Queens rubbed me the wrong way, if its more like her first trilogy I might go for it....but still pondering if I want to read her stuff anymore.

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  19. WOW a Murder Mystery is in there too---I am going to give it a whirl. I loved your review and I can handle a not tied in a bow if I know when the next book is coming :)

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  20. I'm still undecided about this one...not sure that the time period appeals to me but I do love well executed stories with large casts!

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  21. Ooh good! I'm glad you enjoyed this Jenny as I should be starting it soon. I'm a little disappointed to hear that the romance doesn't kick in until the end, but I'm still greatly looking forward to it. And 600 pages? Yikes... I will need to read twice as fast with this book!

    Lovely review!

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  22. Actually I've always been interested in the 20s. I wasn't sure if this one was for me though until now. These characters really sound interesting and I love the sound of their interactions with each other. Oh I do like a good character driven story. Makes sense that it is character driven with the mystery to solve. Hm... I think I need to read this one...

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  23. I'm glad to hear there is a conclusion to the mystery in the first book and only the overall arc is left open for the rest of the series. I can be a little series shy these days. :)

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  24. Okay my dear friend you shouldn't have revealed the Evie Jericho angle because it was a bit of a stunner....I thought it would be Sam. Yes, I enjoyed Evie once she tones down, she is a little rough in the beginning and holy cow this book has a lot going on and so much to answer, I fear my memory will be overtaxed when book two comes out!

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  25. Gosh, I have to read this NOW! I love how you described the mystery in this novel as it seems to be one I'd love. Plus, Evie seems like a character I just HAVE to meet and any guy named Jericho is sure to win my heart. (BARRONS!<3) ;) Wonderful review, Jenny! I need to start this one soon!(:

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  26. I'm really wanting to read this one! I have heard it has a cliffhanger so I might wait until next year so I don't have to wait so long. But the time period, setting and mystery have me dying to give it a read! Fantastic review! You gave me a better idea of what to expect.

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  27. GREAT review, Jenny. I'm super intrigued and ready to dive in! I keep hearing fantastic things about Ms Bray, who I have never read a word of. (I do own "Beauty Queens", though.) I'm thinking I seriously need to bump her up my TBR? ;)

    Thanks so much! :)

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

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  28. I haven't read anything of Bray's but this one sounds interesting. I'm really curious to find out what Evie's gift is.

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  29. Wow, how sinister! I'm not sure I really grasped how dark this one would be before now. I'm really digging the feel of it. And I'm impressed that it seems to have captured your attention for the entirety of the 600 pages! I'm looking forward to this one now, thanks Jenny! I'm very intrigued about the Diviners...

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  30. I didn't like Libba Bray's other books that I have read but I've been hearing so many good things about this book. I might have to put aside past feelings.

    I need some help getting back on my blogging feet after half a year in China.  Please stop by and visit one or more of my review posts to help out.

    Confessions of An Angry Girl  Thirteen Reasons Why   Eve and Adam  are my newest reviews.



    Mad Scientist @ Steampunkery & Book Reviews

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  31. I'm glad you loved this, Jenny although I think you enjoyed it more than me!

    The attention to detail is stunning and I can't deny that Libba Bray's writing is just... wonderful.

    The characters were really complex and intriguing but I just felt there was too much going on but I'm glad romance wasn't too heavy in it.

    Fabulous review, Jenny <3

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  32. Can't wait to read this! It's a hefty read, but I'm looking forward to it. The era, the clothes, the guys and dolls! I've always enjoyed Bray's books.

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