The Diviners: A Book Review


The DivinersTitle: The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray

Published: September 18th, 2012 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 578

Genre: Young Adult / Mystery / Historical Fiction

Source: Library / Hardcover

Series: The Diviners: Book Two comes out in August!

Summary: 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. {from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: I try to avoid reading scary books {and, on that same note, I stay far, far away from horror movies}. However, despite my tendency to pass by any novel described as “creepy” or that involves “scary elements,” I couldn’t help but bring home The Diviners when I saw it at my local library. The eye-catching cover combined with the intriguing synopsis had me hooked, and I could not wait to dive in. Libba Bray has been praised by many, so I went in with some high expectations. Thankfully, I can say that it did not disappoint; I really did like reading it! I had, and still do have, some mixed feelings about certain parts of the book, but as a whole, I would call it a winner.

Evie O’Neill is off to New York to stay with her Uncle. While she expects the bustle of the everyday New York life, Evie did not prepare to come up close to a murder scene. Right away, I could instantly get the 1920’s vibe from the story. From the various characters to the richly described setting, it was like I was transported back in time – a feeling I personally love while reading. And, gosh, the book was filled with historical facts, but it never felt slowed down because of the information. Was the pacing a bit off? Yes, of course, but I believe it had to do with the story itself, not the historical facts that were weaved into it.

Libra Bray’s talent with description flows right over to the development of the characters. I can definitely see why others might find this annoying, but I actually liked being given a formal description of each character’s appearance when they are first introduced. I found it helpful when keeping all of the characters straight, and with the novel being well over five hundred pages, you can bet that we meet LOTS of different people. The protagonist’s personality is never something that makes or breaks the book for me, but I thought I would mention that I could never really connect with Evie. That’s not truly a big deal, but I do hope to see more growth in her character in Book Two.

This book is perfect for anyone that doesn’t mind being scared for entertainment. I, on the other hand, resorted to reading this only in the day, and not right before I go to bed :) Naughty John, the ghost involved with this whole murder thing, is downright creepy. I have to wonder if the author went too far into the religion and ghost storyline, but, hey, it seems to have worked for her thus far! However, the combination of sensitive topics and scary elements will be a deciding factor for many, and may turn away potential readers.

I think my only problem with this book is that there was just so much crammed into one novel. The story sometimes felt too rushed, while other times it felt too slow. A few of the plot lines came across as add-ons, just to fill the pages. It may not seem like that big of a complaint, but given how consistent it was, it lowered my overall enjoyment level just a tad.

All in all, though, The Diviners was a very interesting read. I am glad I went out of my standard reading comfort zone! It’s definitely a read for certain audiences, so perhaps read a few other reviews before making a decision yourself.

Pros: The setting and character descriptions were spot-on. The story was thrilling and entertaining; it always had me wanting to know what was going to happen next!

Cons: There was a lot crammed into one book, and the author deals with a lot of sensitive topics, sometimes not in the best way.

Heads Up: Language, romance, and a high scare level, if that’s a thing :)

Overall: I give it 4 stars {****}, and I recommend it for ages 14 and up.

Have a terrific night!


9 thoughts on “The Diviners: A Book Review

  1. You’re just like me when it comes to scary things! I am such a wimp, but I had to read this one because it’s Libba Bray and she’s like a writing goddess in my book. I ADORED this one. I thought Bray’s writing was fabulous, as always. I read it before bed as well and had nightmares! I don’t know if you’ve read any other books by her, but I would definitely recommend her Gemma Doyle trilogy if you haven’t!


  2. […] Let’s discuss! Have you read anything by Katie Alender? Do you seek out thrillers or do scary books have you running? I’m excited to see what I think of her August 2015 release, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, but the next “scary” book I plan to read is Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, sequel to the creepy novel, The Diviners. […]


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