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A great Halloween-time read. Bray does a great job of setting the 1920's New York scene from the elevated trains to the Harlem Renaissance. Evie is a big fish personality in a small-pond-of-an-Ohio-town until she is "forced" to move to Manhattan with her uncle, Dr. Fitzgerald, the owner and curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. Although Dr. Fitzgerald claims only an abiding interest in others' beliefs, as the story progresses it is clear that his previous work for the government may have more to do with his museum than he'd like to let on.
Evie too is hiding a secret, about her ability to read personal secrets from items she holds. As Bray expands the scope of the novel, we meet other people with special powers, "Diviners." And it seems, just in the nick of time, as Dr. Fitzgerald is called in to aid the police in solving a series of grizzly murders tied to the occult.
With amazing atmosphere and a spooky supernatural element, this book will suck you in for a fun ride. For those who try to avoid books involving dark magic and the occult, you'll want to steer clear.
This book was extremely entertaining and continually left me on the edge of my seat. It did something many historical fictions fail to do- stay true to the time period. Even though the reader knew who the killer was, the initial mystery was still compelling enough. I enjoyed the parallels between many of the characters and the complex plot line. However, there were many moments when I found that I had to put the book down as either the story was going excruciatingly slow or the imagery was too vivid. I felt as if the story could have been wrapped up 300 pages earlier, but then I realized if the story lacked a great part of its detail to make the book shorter, it would not have been as intriguing.
This is such a delightfully scary YA novel set in New York City in the 1920s. I love the spooky supernatural elements! Just make sure you block off some time for the last few chapters---you won’t be able to put it down.
4/5 Stars. This is my favourite book. It is exciting right from the very first page and has such a unique plot and storyline. The author has an amazing writing style and such great ideas. Each character that is introduced into the plot has a backstory given to them that helps readers imagine them as actual people. This book is creepy and dark and funny and romantic- a mix of everything people love to read. I have read and re read this book so many times that I have all of the most memorable parts memorized, I recommend this book to everyone. The whole story is full of excitement- from cover to cover, there is never a filler chapter or a part where there is nothing going on. This book will forever be my favourite and I would recommend it to anyone that likes to read and is on the hunt for their new favourite novel.
@Bookworm123 of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board
Such a good book! I am familiar with Libba Bray from her Gemma Doyle series, so I figured I'd enjoy this, but I wasn't prepared to get as sucked in as I did. I will say, at least for me, it started out a bit slow. But once Evie got to New York, the pace really picked up and I found I could not put the book down. if you like supernatural YA, stuff about the 1920's, and mysteries, you will probably enjoy this.
The first title in a trilogy, the story follows young Evie from her small Ohio hometown to New York in the roaring '20's. There she finds adventure, new friends with similar issues, and a horror beyond anything she's ever encountered. Great read, and a great audiobook to listen too as well.
It’s 1926, and Evie is considered something of a wild “flapper” in her small Ohio town. But then she’s sent to New York City to live with her uncle, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult.
17-year old Evie O’Niell is in trouble. After a supernatural party incident, she is exiled from her boring Ohio hometown and sent to live with her uncle in the wonderful, glimmering city of 1920s New York. However, things begin to take a sinister turn after a series of disturbing murders crop up. It’s the golden age of America, and things are changing much, much faster than expected. A strange group of teens have begun to develop mysterious powers. A Harlem numbers runner is beginning to receive visions of a man in a stovepipe hat. A Ziegfeld girl named Theta is running from her past. A teenage pickpocket is on the search for his family. And above all of them, a dark and vicious evil has returned. Set at the height of America’s jazz age, The Diviners is an extraordinary book. Through gorgeous prose, Bray illustrates the authentic historical American experience, populated with dynamic characters and set against the glamorous backdrop of the Roaring Twenties. The Diviners is historical fiction, mystery, suspense, horror and romance all blended up to make one big, beautiful book. It’s hilarious, terrifying and addictive all at once, and it is not something you want to miss.
- @Apis of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
I wasn't sure what to expect from Libba Bray's "The Diviners", but it ended up being a lot more macabre than I was expecting. A religious-themed serial killer is on the loose in 1920s New York City, and the reader gets up close and personal with some of his victims before they're dispatched.
But the main character of the story is a vivacious teenager called Evie O'Neill, sent to NYC by her parents as punishment for her wild behaviour. This suits Evie just fine, and soon she's enjoying the sights and sounds of jazz, speakeasies and dance halls. Libba Bray obviously had a great time researching this era, as the book is filled with 1920s slang, fashion and culture.
But Evie has a secret: for as long as she can remember she's been able to divine people's secrets by handling their personal belongings - and when she gets a chance to touch some of the murder victims, she becomes the closest thing the police have to a witness (assuming they'll believe her). That's not even going into the number of other diviners out there in the city, each one being drawing closer into the mystery of the terrible killings...
It's a book that revels in its own atmosphere, filled with plenty of period detail to the point where it sometimes obscures the story itself. If you like the combination of New York in the Roaring Twenties and the supernatural mystery of how and why certain people are being murdered in the streets, then "The Diviners" is a thick, intriguing read - with plenty of room left for a sequel.
This book was incredible! I have read and re-read it. The atmosphere is set up so well, and is really creepy. Bray did an amazing job with showing the 1920's. Evie O'Neill was a bratty heroine who was still likable in spite of the brattiness. I would recommend this book as a great Halloween read.
I love the setting and the characters. Another great book from Libba Bray.
I love the 1920s so I definitely enjoyed this book. I think it has a good plot and well developed 'bad guy'. The ending to this book was good enough that it leaves me wondering whether I should read the sequel or not.
The Diviners is so good!!!! The story is well written, following several plots. The murder mystery case is thrilling and scary and intense. Evie is incredibly charming and likeable-- I love her. The Diviners is captivating, I couldn't put it down. The only thing I find a little annoying (just a little) is that I expected Bray to close up all of the stories she followed, especially because the book is so fat (400+ pages). There were so many storylines, and I thought she would tie them together, but instead the strands stayed separate. Some met, but the stories never fully merged and came together. I guess she's saving it for the sequel. I spent the entire novel super excited to see the characters finally meet, the puzzle finally pieced together, and have all of their knowledge shared, but that never happened, so looking back at that lack of climax is a little disappointing. But it's not a big deal, because this book is amazing, and I know the strands will all be tied together in the sequel. It's really such a small flaw (not even a flaw really), and the novel is so enchanting and immersive, that it doesn't change how much I enjoyed the Diviners.
The Diviners is exciting, keeping you completely invested until the very end. There were parts where I was on the edge of my seat, barely breathing, waiting to see what would happen. It's a thrilling read, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fun, realistic characters and intense mysteries (and also a few history lessons thrown in!).
I hate giving up on a book, especially one so many of my colleagues enjoyed. But as of page 283, NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. That's not exactly true - we met some characters, portents were...portented. Some dude murdered a couple of people. But it feels like the book is marking time, just repeating a pattern over and over with no change: Evie gets in trouble. Omen of Doom appears. Dude murders somebody. Rinse and repeat.
I loved this book. I recommend listening to it. The reader is awesome. The author did a great job researching the history for this book. Everything about this book is jake.
Historical fiction with a paranormal serial killer? Bring it on! It's 1926, and Evie O'Neill can't imagine a more exciting place to be than New York with its clubs, speakeasies, shopping, and glamorous showgirls. Even a series of grisly murders can't keep her down. But Evie has a secret power that might be able to help catch the killer. . . if the killer doesn't catch her first.
Long books are hard to recommend to teens unless they specifically ask for historical fiction but this long book is one that's hard to put down. It's unnerving with a combination of the occult, ghosts and a bit of steampunk (i.e.: Jericho). Watch out! Reading it before bed may instigate nightmares.
“The Diviners” is about Evie O’Neill, a young woman who lives in 1920s Ohio. After a party stunt she pulls goes wrong, Evie’s family sends her off to live with her Uncle Will (the curator of an Occult Museum) in New York City. For Evie, this is the opposite of a problem. When she arrives in New York she is delighted, and intends to spend her time partying away with her friend Mabel. Her plans are ruined though when a series of ritual murders begin to occur, and it appears as though a monstrous beast is going to rise and devour the Earth. With the help of her Uncle and her friends, Evie must try to stop the creature from awakening.
“The Diviners” is a phenomenal read. Libba Bray has once again delivered an outstanding novel full of fantasy, sass, and historical accuracy. The characters are phenomenally well written, and each one is unique and lovable. Evie is one of the sassiest characters ever written, but she has been so meticulously crafted that her sass does not make her unlikeable, but rather intelligent, humorous, and heroic. The plot is brilliant, as it is intricate, fantastical, and chock-full of historical facts (the amount of research that went into this novel must have been gargantuan). The setting and time period are cleverly used to add a sense of waywardness and fantasy to “The Diviners”. By placing the novel in a well-known city but in a long-gone time period, the events seem all too real yet completely fictional at the same time.
The author of this review highly recommends “The Diviners”. It is such a well written book that nearly everyone will find something they like about it. This novel unfortunately is best used as a pleasure read, as it does not have any real deeper meanings that would make it suitable as an ‘essay novel’ or ‘book talk’ book. The author of this review believes that “The Diviners” is suitable for ages thirteen and up.
I love the idea of this book, and parts of it work very well. However, the book spends 500 pages building to a climax that is ultimately beyond dull in its conclusion and quickly solved. And don't even get me started on the incredibly shallow characters whom all just happen to have odd ESP abilities and happen to run in to each other in a place as packed as Manhattan (even in the 20s). It is a young adult novel at heart and is written with quality akin to that of novels for this age group, if you will, in terms of character depth and plot conveniences. That being said, Bray obviously did plenty of research and I commend her for her wondrous ability to spin a palpably creepy atmosphere. Some of the characters are interesting when considered as ideas or a framework for a developed character, but I truly did not care for any of them because they all seemed so hollow to me and somewhat formulaic (excluding Memphis, who was written rather well). I really love the mystery overall and I know this is just an introductory novel to what will be a (4 part?) series. However, many authors juggle this well and I feel as though Bray spent her time trying to "pos-i-tut-ly" shove every facet of flapper culture down my throat for the entirety of the novel (the overuse of slang is a bit much with Evie, but you get used to it...). That along with the tedious descriptions of setting and incredibly forced romantic elements for our main character completely overshadowed an intriguing plot. At least she writes really well and I got through it? I'm looking forward to the next installment, hopefully the plethora of kinks will be worked out by then.
A page turner that did not dissappoint. I can hardly wait to read what's next.
After her wild behaviour lands her in hot water, privileged young Evie O'Neill is sent to live with her eccentric uncle in New York City -- a "punishment" that delights Evie, who can't wait to mix with Ziegfield girls and sneak into some big-city speakeasies (it's the Roaring Twenties). But when her Uncle Will, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, is called on to help solve a rash of otherworldly murders, Evie is drawn in to the investigation because of a special ability she's tried to keep secret. Full of vivid period detail and intriguing characters and laced with shiver-inducing menace, this sprawling 1st in a series will thrill readers of supernatural mysteries and historical novels alike." Teen Scene October 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/72d88d46-49e9-4a07-ad0b-f8f2b75baf8a?postId=8719229c-6f71-45f8-b49d-2264d7fb6d8b
An amazingly addictive story, considering its breadth and depth. I wanted to be annoyed when I realized at the end of the book that easily half the characters and plot elements were introduced simply to lay the foundation for the bigger series that will follow, but I enjoyed this episode too much to complain. A storm is coming, and in some ways this was merely a 600 page prelude to what will follow. But what a prelude. Vibrant, energetic history of the party culture of the Roaring Twenties in New York City woven into a creepy-crawly mystery of ritualistic murder and the supernatural, experienced through the perspectives of an appealing cast of complex characters. I'm ready for more.
And January LaVoy does an amazing job with the audiobook reading.
The Diviners is awesome.
How can it not be? It's written by one of my favorite (versatile, funny, etc) authors, the fabulous Libba Bray.
The book is an action/adventure, with some mystery, some very creeptastic elements, and a lot of supernatural. Plus, 1920's slang, history, culture, and attitudes, which was both enchanting and frightening.
Evie has an attitude I applaud, but like every single character in this book, she's very grey. Even the bad guy(s) aren't purely evil- every character believes THEY are doing the right thing. Just like real life.
This is the first in a series, and the sole frustration I had with it was that the ending stretched on 3 chapters too many. The result was that the threat of impending doom on the world was softened, which seemed out of step with the rest of the book.
But I really enjoy most of the characters in this one, and am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Most of this book kept me on my toes (and laughing at the wit), and I'm very appreciative of the mounds of research that was put into it.
I recommend it for fans of supernatural historic fiction YA mysteries, or any of those individual pieces. Plus, folks who like ensemble stories, like The X-Men.
Spooky, creepy and utterly fantastic opening to a new series. Promises to be interesting and entertaining, with serious mysteries to unravel, but with just the right touch of lighthearted fun and banter between characters.
This was not my type of book. The first thing to note is the multitude of characters, and while Libba Bray carries them off successfully (in other words, it's not overwhelming), none of them truly caused me to care about or like them. Admittedly, Evie, as the protagonist, does have a more detailed character, but it feels as though we're supposed to like the other characters based on their sad sob stories of the past alone, and not based on their actual personalities. Religion is the driving force behind the antagonist, and it works: Naughty John's and his father's fanaticism is portrayed clearly with the omniscient POV scenes. However, this results in a complete loss of mystery; we're no longer held in suspense over who the murderer is. So the reader ends up simply waiting for the next few murders to be discovered and for a solution to be found. Tension still exists in some action scenes, though (particularly one where Evie, Sam Lloyd and Jericho investigate a church by pretending to be a cuckolded husband and wife and cousin). The best aspects of the book are the setting -- Bray incorporates Roaring Twenties' slang and describes the street scene with skill -- and the romance(s), which are all a little wobbly on their feet and therefore extremely authentic. But the final pages are frustrating: the conclusion seems too quick and neat, and yet a dozen more pages afterward are used to foreshadow future books' conflicts heavy-handedly. ("The storm is coming", intone two crazy cat ladies.) Finally, the reader knows that the Diviners are this group of people with special powers, but none of the characters realize this fact. Thus, what's the point of the title?