Friday, 24 June 2016

The Diviners - Libba Bray: Creepy, Haunting Crime Investigation

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Puhlication date: September 18th 2012
Series: The Diviners (#1)
Purchase: KoboAmazon
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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.


The Diviners has been on my TBR for the longest time, but I never got around to reading it. Now I have, I don't know why I didn't pick it up earlier. Libba Bray has created a compelling, utterly creepy, paranormal story. 


The plot revolved around this huge crime investigation. People are being killed and the main characters are trying to figure out what is going on. Evie has a gift. She can read people's past while holding an object that belonged to them. She uses this gift to get closer to figuring out who the killer is. It sounds like this book is all about Evie, but it's not. It's mostly about the villain and the characters surrounding him. 

I knew this book would be about a murder investigation, but I thought it'd be about so much more. We get to know all of the characters and their gifts, but the plot is to ultimately bring down this mysterious murderer. I don't think I enjoyed this for the plot. The characters are what made the whole story that much more enjoyable.


Evie is a character you'll love or you'll hate. There is no in between. Don't expect a bland YA character with no real personality or backbone. Evie is so full of personality, it gets a bit much at times. I do get why some people don't like her. She is stubborn, egotistical and selfish but she grows a lot. I'm one of those people that absolutely adored Evie. She was such a breath of fresh air for me. I don't think I've ever read about a character that's quite like her. She's in a whole another league. 

There is a set-up for a love triangle here. It revolves around Evie, but I won't say who the two guys are. Evie shows a bit of a preference for one of the guys, but I'm rooting for the other one. It's always like this with me. Characters never end up with the person I wanted them to end up with. Please, don't let that be the case with this trilogy. 

Apart from Evie, there is another main character. Memphis is a person of colour and he used to have a gift. I couldn't tell you more about him, except for the fact that there was a case of insta-love between him and a side character. Memphis isn't relevant to the plot. At least, not in this first part of the story. I don't know if he'll pop up in the sequel, but I hope his role will be minor. He wasn't my favourite character and that may have been caused by him being useless. 

The villain was my favourite character. Not because he was morally grey or you feel sympathetic towards him, because neither of those things are true or supposed to happen. It's because the villain was terrifying. This is not a book to read at night, so I didn't. I didn't want it to cause me nightmares. You really get to see the villain. Every time a new murder takes place, you'll get a scene where you'll see the person going about their daily life and then the serial killer is suddenly there. He kills these people and takes their eyes, a leg, an arm, a hand... I never expected this level of scariness in a YA book. 

The one thing that annoyed me about the characters was the amount of characters with a gift and how conveniently they all knew each other. No one of these people knew anyone else who had a gift until they were all in the same story. A bit unbelievable and too convenient.

Writing style

Libba Bray is a very descriptive writer. I have trouble with descriptions sometimes. I have ADD and I can't concentrate for a very long time if descriptions are all there is to it. In this case, it wasn't. If you're like me and can't concentrate for a long time, pick this one up. Sure, there is a lot of description but there's always something happening. There was no moment in this story where I thought: 'Phew, this is boring.' 

On top of that, the way Bray manages to write such ghastly scenes. Just impeccable. 


The story is set in our world, but in the 1920's. You could say it's historical fiction with paranormal aspects. Bray took a lot of liberties with creating the Museum of Creepy Crawlies where Evie stays with her uncle and also some other backdrops, but it feels very much like our world. 

The paranormal aspects are the gifts that a lot of the characters have. These gifts are things like healing and reading someone's past through an object. The villain is also a paranormal being which I expected from the very beginning. One of the major characters also has a physical problem that almost killed him but he could live on because these scientists turned him into something else. It sounds really vague, but I don't want to say anything else because it'll spoil you and I was surprised by this revelation. 


I expected to enjoy this story and I'm very happy all of this waiting didn't turn out to be for nothing. Again, this was a haunting story and it made me very excited to pick up the sequel. Since the villain from the first book won't be in the second book, I wonder what is going to happen next for all of these characters. The next book follows different main characters, I think. I just hope we'll see more of Evie. 

Have you read The Dviners? What did you think about it? Have you read the next book in the series? What did you think? Do you want to read this? Let me know in the comments below.

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