The Diviners by Libba Bray
Published: 9-18-2012 by Little, Brown
Get the book: Amazon
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 ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Design – Gail Doobinin Front illustration – I Love Dust Front photo – library of Congress
Back photo – Shutterstock Rating – 5/5
I would have to say that this is one of my favorite covers ever. It’s moody and perfect for the setting of the book. Everything hints to the setting and feel of the story – the subtle color scheme, the simple illustrations, and the typography. The typography is probably my favorite part because it’s beautiful and perfect for this cover and story. The varied widths on the V and N, the little points on the angles of the S – I love it all. And the way Libba Bray’s name is written, with curving touches so thin they almost disappear and an effect to make it look aged. I’m a bit obsessed. Even when the dust jacket is taken off, it’s like the book is physically wrapped in story and the gold is carried inside to the end pages as well. It just feels really well thought out and designed, which makes me happy. It’s so much better than the new paperback covers for this series. I also found an alternate cover on Goodreads that I think is great as well. I wish the alternate cover was the paperback cover, instead of this weird purple one.
So, with the huge size of this book I was definitely expecting this to be a stand-alone novel. Although, Libba Bray is the mind behind the A Great and Terrible Beauty series, so I should not have been surprised that this was merely the first in a series. All 3 of those books were enormous, so I’m betting that all of the books in this series will be as well.
- Jericho – I found Jericho’s backstory to be the most interesting of all the characters’. He was a great guy and his intense reactions to certain situations made me want to know what had happened in his past. You have to wait a long time for the reveal, but it is definitely worth it. I thought it was a highlight. It was perfect – just the right mood for the story.
- mystery – The atmosphere created in this book was eerie and mysterious. There were so many mysteries – the murders, the powers of the Diviners, how everything was going to come together, and how they were going to stop the murders when they couldn’t figure out the cryptic clues. There wasn’t a single twist that I saw coming, and it was awesome.
- interwoven stories – There were a few different stories going on here, and each of them is fairly complicated. But Libba Bray takes each of these different characters and makes their stories intertwine in a way that makes sense and doesn’t seem forced. Not everyone’s story is brought to a nice neat conclusion – new threads are formed that will lead into the sequel.
- Naughty John – The villain of this story is completely creepy and evil. The murders are seriously gruesome and twisted. It actually reminded me of Supernatural – strange rituals, lots of blood, following vague clues in order to defeat a pretty much unkillable enemy. He’s the supervillain of a horror film – gross and gory in a way you’ll love to hate.
- world – This book was so deeply interesting and immersive. It feels like the twenties in an authentic way, not like the Leo DiCaprio Great Gatsby movie that is just screaming at you LOOK IT’S THE TWENTIES. Libba Bray can write anything, and she writes really strange and unique things. She is especially talented at fantasy and supernatural world building, like in A Great and Terrible Beauty.
- positutely – Evie’s habit of saying “positutely” annoyed me to no end. The first time it came up I was thrown off, like what is this word? As far as I can tell, it’s Evie’s own melding of “positively” and “absolutely” and it’s just something like a character quirk. New words aren’t inherently annoying, but her strange emphasis on it was. I think it’s just me though…because I also disliked the “Tally-san” in Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Why can’t you just call her Tally?
- confusing – There are a few separate threads running through this story, intertwining sometimes and then diverging again. It isn’t that this wasn’t handled masterfully, it’s that different stories like these require different characters and I sometimes found them hard to keep straight. A character would be mentioned in one thread and then something important would happen in another thread, so by the time the original thread came back around my brain was like “wait who was that person again?”
- “It’s been a very long day,” Jericho said gently. “I wouldn’t be surprised if your eyes played tricks on you.” “I suppose you’re right,” Evie said, but she had the nagging feeling she’d seen Sam Lloyd, of all people. She had a vague impression of him leaning against a tree in that overconfident posture that annoyed her so. But Jericho was right – there was no one there now, only the lamppost and the park. – Evie + Jericho pg. 120
- Sam played a coin across the tops of his right knuckles, flipped it, and neatly caught it in his left hand. “You planning to tell Detective Malloy you’re hunting the ghost of a killer who hung fifty years ago? I don’t care how good of a pal he is to you, Professor – he’ll lock us all up in the loony bin.” – Sam + Will pg. 410