Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 18th 2012
My rating: 4 Stars
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 really didn’t know what to expect with this story going in, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it.
There are many storylines interwoven in this book, but the main character and heroine is seventeen-year old Evie O’Neill. Evie lives life to the full, something her parents do not appreciate. She stays out late drinking and partying with her friends which is highly frowned upon. Especially because this is during prohibition! She has a carefree attitude, always laughing and saying whatever comes to mind. Her peers tell her: “Oh Evie, you’re too much” and this is not meant as a compliment. She finally breaks the last straw by spilling a compromising secret of the town’s golden boy (not so golden, by the way). To avoid a possible slander suit, her parents send her off to Uncle Will in New York. Uncle Will is curator to The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, also known as: The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. This is fine by Evie, she feels New York will be a much better place for her than the small minded Zenith, Ohio. But Evie is holding onto a secret, a special ability. When a serial killer strikes and the police ask for Uncle Will’s assistance, Evie finds that her ability may be the way to stop a killer.
Memphis Campbell is a runner for the “king of Harlem,” Papa Charles. He collects bets and payments from local businesses but this is not his passion. His dream is to write and perform poetry. This isn’t what Memphis is known for though. Years ago, before his mother died, he had a special ability of healing. It seems his little brother Isaiah also has an ability; one that brings unwanted attention.
There are a few more secondary characters that factor heavily into this story: Jericho, Uncle Wills assistant, Theta, the beautiful chorus girl, her piano playing brother, Henry, and Sam, the devilishly handsome pickpocket, all with something to hide.
Like I said, there is a lot going on, but all the sub-plots weave together and make a fascinating story. This story is equal parts hilarious and creepy and I had fun time sorting it all out. While I’m not an expert on this time period the story seems well researched and felt like it could’ve really taken place in 1926. There was an authentic feel to the language. Phrases like: “Oh, applesauce!” “pos-i-tute-ly” or “doll” being interlaced throughout. I had to laugh at this quote: “Barnabas Damson hasn’t got the sense God gave to an animal cracker, if you ask me.” References to music, movies, and surroundings made the setting feel complete and authentic. I felt like I was watching a ‘30s/’40s film like Arsenic and Old Lace. The phrase “hi-jinks ensue” or “madcap” sprang to mind many times. There is romance in here as well, it’s not a huge part of the story but it is sweet. I’m sure there’s more to come in the next installment and I’m eager to see how things play out.
I could go on and on about the characters, but Evie really stole the show here. She was fun loving and breezy and yet she had a sadness in her that would peek through, from time to time. She had snarky and humorous one-liners throughout the story that always had me giggling!
I really had a hard time writing this review, so I hope I’m conveying this story properly because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say I was intimidated by the page count, it’s just over 600 pages, but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re reading. It’s easy to keep flipping page after page wanting to know what happens next. There isn’t a cliffhanger but this story does not completely wrap up. I just found out there’s a sequel. I will definitely be picking that up.
We’d like to show our appreciation to you lovely readers so we’ve decided to give away a SIGNED Advanced Readers Copy of The Diviners. The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. So fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! The only requirement is that you follow the blog via GFC. The giveaway will run for two weeks, so make sure you get your entry in soon. Good luck!