By Libba Bray
Released September 18, 2012
4.5 / 5 Gnomes
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.
I'm kind of wishing that author stalking was an acceptable hobby. That sounds totally creepy, but dude, what I wouldn't give to just sit down for a tasty beverage with Libba Bray and totally fangirl out. She's a true storyteller, and I just can't seem to get enough of her humor, wit, and thought-provoking plots.
Totally freaked me out. Do your remember the episode of Friends when Joey gets upset reading Little Women and sticks the book in the freezer? The Diviners almost ended up a popsicle. Bray is brilliant at slipping in just enough information to make the hair on your arms stand up without giving away too much and making it campy. John Hobbes is definitely a villain you don't want to meet in a dark alley. And there is plenty of that in this book.
Let's talk about Evie...Miss Evangeline (love the name!) O'Neil is truly a force to be reckoned with. She's independent. She's fashionable. She's a flapper's flapper, wild for the hooch, a snappy tune, and a big dance floor. But she's more then that. She's compassionate and smart. She's loyal and fiercely courageous. And she's trouble, which, in the 20s, kind of makes her the total package. I loved her voice and can't wait for more. Actually, I loved all of the characters: Sam, the smooth ladies man; Jericho, the silent, strong heartthrob; Mabel, the repressed wallflower; Theta, the glamerous Ziegfield girl; Memphis, the gently poet; Uncle Will, with his mysterious past. The characters, including the grand city of New York and the era of Prohibition, really make the story. There are so many voices that blend together seamlessly and excitingly.
The Not So Awesome
So, there are a lot of characters. I know this is the first in a series, but there are tons of characters, some just briefly mentioned, which will become even more complicated as the story advances. And the story leaves some holes. The first chapter introduces quite a bit, and then it's just passed over. The stories never returns to that moment and never explains the importance (or maybe irrelevance) of that moment. Again, we might get to chalk that up to the fact that it's a series starter, but I found myself a little distracted trying to piece everything together.
Uuggg...the book is a behemoth. It's huge. Like 578 pages big. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its size, but the thing is so big it's a little tricky to hold. And because I'm feeling whiney, it made my purse SO heavy. That's just a little intimidating. And it's a series! Curse you Bray! Now I must wait. What's coming? Why is Memphis's mother so cryptic? Who is this shadowed death man that makes me want to hide under my bed? Who will Evie end up with in the end?
But...it's Libba. And she's made of pure awesome. The Diviners was a truly great read. Despite the size, and the inability to read at night because it scared the willy-nillys out of me, I read it pretty quickly. So, yeah, I'm a fan. I literally did jazz hands when the book arrived on my doorstep, and I'll probably bring out the jazz hands when I see it on my library's shelves in a couple of weeks. If you're a fan of Libba Bray's unflinching, honest voice, mysterious, or things that go bump in the night, check out The Diviners on September 18th.