Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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-tute-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.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Number of Pages: 608
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Ellie, age 16

I take pride in not being easily shaken by books. Sure, I get excited for or disturbed by the characters and plot, but I can only think of a handful of times when I was actually scared when reading a book.
            This was one of those times.
            The Diviners, the newest novel from prize-winning author Libba Bray, is essentially a horror story wrapped in the glittering ribbon that is the 1920’s. The novel incorporates all the glitz, jazz, and speakeasy-esque drama you expect in a book from this era and mixes it up with a spectral killer bent on revenge. The story follows the lives of multiple characters, though the main focus of the book is on Evie O’Neill, flapper and troublemaker. In fact, it is her troublemaking that gets her booted out of her hometown of Zenith, Ohio, and gets her a one-way ticket to New York. There, she lives with her Uncle Will-who works as the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and The Occult-and promptly finds herself tangled in a grotesque murder mystery that involves ghosts, rituals, and a heavy dose of magic.
            All I have to say is, Libba Bray has done it again. She’s taken a small concept-paranormal activity in Prohibition New York-and blown it out into a full-fledged story containing pickpockets, a couple sketchy graveyards, a mechanical man, and fantastically famous theatre. As a huge fan of Bray’s earlier work, (Gemma Doyle trilogy, anyone?) I was naturally excited to read The Diviners. Combine that with a fantastic premise and the fact that it’s about the oh-so-lovely 1920’s era, and I was hooked. Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this book. Bray did a wonderful job with the details: describing the city, the people, the occurrences. Even the more mundane scenes, such as a run-down hotel, come to life through Bray’s attention to detail and description. Her world building was great (as per usual) and I was genuinely terrified when I was reading the book, specifically the murder scenes. Just a note to the reader: try not to read this book at night-you will be checking over your shoulder.
            My complaints all boil down to one problem: repetition. Parts of the story become clich├ęd and almost overused. This was bound to happen, considering quite a bit of the book is centered on a series of creepy murders, but even the characters became a bit predictable. By the end of the book, I could probably accurately predict how each of the characters would react to a given situation. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I found it a bit distracting from the main plot.
            In conclusion, I have definitely jumped on the bandwagon for this book and those that follow it in Libba Bray’s new series. Perfect for anyone who likes a shiver down their spine or is entrapped by the glitter of the 1920’s, The Diviners should definitely join your to-read list.

This books is on shelves now!!!

Happy reading!
Ellie, age 16

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