Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Shelf: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Cassandra Clare meets Phryne Fisher meets Patricia Cornwell in this launch of a blockbuster series set in 1920s New York about a teen psychic and her similarly gifted friends on the hunt for a serial killer. 1920s New York.

A teen clairvoyant. An old evil. It has begun...

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old home town and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled! New York is the city of speak-easies, rent parties, shopping and movie palaces, and soon enough Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that 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 it. Even Evie's new pals - hoofers, numbers runners and activists, but all swell kids - are drawn into 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...

Add on Goodreads.....


Libba Bray’s latest release The Diviners is a darkly, seductive supernatural thriller set in the roaring 1920’s that is pos-i-tute-ly delectable!

From the cryptic opening chapter The Diviners is utterly mesmerising. Though I wasn’t thrilled with how she ended her Gemma Doyle Trilogy, I am a without a doubt a Libba Bray fan. Libba is unendingly talented in creating richly descriptive stories and she outdoes herself with The Diviners! From the very first page, Bray’s 1920’s world is fierce; rich and addictive. With her potent, flowing writing, Libba Bray drags you kicking and screaming into her novel. And I mean into it.

Throughout this entire book the captivating world was so vivid that I felt as though I was a part of it. I could see and feel the glitz and glamour. I could hear the sounds of Down Town New York; the hussle and bussle and life that was the 1920s. I could hear the crooning voices floating from the radio. I could envision the numbers runners working away for Papa Charles, the flappers and dames dancing the night away at Hotsy Totsy or one of the other theatres or speakeasies that dotted the town. The authentic dialogue and language swept me up into another time. The atmosphere was incredible; flowing and bleeding into every page and I found myself unable to do anything else but soak up every moment of it!

I must point out that The Diviners is in no way a short read. Heading towards the 600 page mark, one could be forgiven for expecting this book to be written with a lot of fluff and unnecessary pages, but this is never the case. Libba Bray expertly crafts a perfectly paced and moving plotline, told in third person, which whisks you into the story. Her ability to mix harsh themes such as murder and mayhem with the undeniable truths of the time (racism, corruption, prohibition) is outstanding and Bray weaves glitz, glamour and flair with, friendship and danger just the lightest hint of romance. Cults and rituals war with the care-free aspect of the time and are at perfect odds with one another; adding another layer or dread and excitement to the setting.

The murder mystery within The Diviners is written perfectly as far as I am concerned! I was pleasantly surprised that Bray doesn’t skirt around the gory details or let her murder mystery get lost amongst all the romance and flair of the era, as I’ve seen in the past. Rather Naughty John and his naughty activities are front and centre, driving the novel and giving me all kinds of creeps. There isn’t a lot of mystery surrounding who the killer is for the reader, but Libba Bray still manages to keep the suspense of the novel raging on and you don’t loose interest as the protagonists get closer and closer to discovering the truths for themselves. Honestly, I felt chills and goosebumps as I read this book. The anticipation and expectation was too much at times and I was always on edge---I loved it!

Throughout the course of the book our main heroine is Evie O’Neill, a small town girl who is shipped off to live with her Uncle Will, the curator of Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult (Also knows as the Museum of Creepy Crawlies) in New York City after Evie’s ability to discover information off people by merely touching an item they own gets her into trouble. Honestly, I had quite mixed feelings about Evie for the majority of the novel if truths be told.

In a time where prohibition rages, Evie is boisterous, loud and snarky; easily off putting and over the top, but while there were moments when she irked me, her charm is pos-i-tute-ly redeeming. There’s something so full of life about Evie that just fits in with this novel perfectly. With so many heavy themes explored throughout The Diviners, this book needed a heroine like her; someone so carefree and witty that shed some light on the darkness. Evie may get caught up in herself quite often; in parties and shopping; in living, but when it really counts, Evie rallies. There’s a softness to her and vulnerability when you look closely that mixes with her wit and flair to create someone that has all the potential to grow into a really thrilling heroine!

The characters within this story are the cats meow! If I didn’t already adore this book, the characters would steel my heart alone! While the goings on of Naughty John are our main focus in this instalment, we are also introduced to a whole cast of characters that make 1920’s New York their home. There’s Memphis, an attractive black numbers runner and poet who used to be able to heal people with the touch of his hand; Jericho, a handsome young man who helps out Evie’s uncle Will at his museum who is more machine than man; Theta, a stunning young dancer with big dreams and even bigger secrets; Henry, Theta’s BFF and piano player with secrets of his own; Sam Lloyd, pickpocket and small time thief who can make himself invisible to people at will and of course our main protagonist is Evie, a clairvoyant go-getter with bigger dreams than the small town in Ohio that she’s from and who’s out to make a name for herself. And that’s not all! There’s Mabel, Evie’s shy, quite friend who’s pining after another; Evie’s Uncle Will with his dark secrets possibly surrounding many of the characters; Mephis’s brother Isaiah, with gifts of his own and many, many more!

What I found interesting is that even as the case of Naughty John is going on, it’s impossible to miss that it’s part of a bigger picture; that there is more going on that just this one killer. Bray’s layered, three dimension characters slowly intermingle with one another and with their different back stories and their noticeably similar gifts, it’s obvious that they’re all a part of a bigger plan within the series. There is ancient magic and long since lost abilities rising up once more and I’m so very excited to see where Libba Bray intends to take this series. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Complete with murder mystery, adventure and hints of romance; the mysterious paranormal secrets of this book blend with all the flair, flavour and fire of the 20’s to create a thrilling opener in what promises to be an incredible series by author Libba Bray. Ladies and gentlemen, this book is the bees knees!

Source: Sent for review by Allen & Unwin. (Thank you Lara!)
Format: Paperback copy.
AU Release Date: Available today!
Buy it: Booktopia // The Nile // The Book Depository
Recommendation: This is one for fans of a good murder mystery and anyone who wants something engaging, but fresh!
Cover: I adore our Aussie cover! So alluring--it's just amazing!
Will I read sequel/continue with series: Yes. Oh, yes, yes, YES!



  1. YES! I am SO glad you enjoyed this one! It's one of my favorites and the murder mystery in this, combined with Evie's remarkable personality, just made this novel spectacular! Incredible review! :D

  2. Awesome review. I have this on my wishlist and can't wait to read it. Thank you!

  3. I love the 1920's - it sounds like this book will really transport be back in time! I like a good murder mystery too, so this is definitely a book I will read in the future, thanks for the review :)

  4. Whoa, this sounds AMAZING! I love mystery novels!!

  5. I can't believe I haven't heard of THE DIVINERS before. It sounds amazing. A fascinating time period too.

  6. Sounds like a great book and would look forward to reading this one. Love murder mysteries.

  7. Sounds like a great book and would look forward to reading this one. Love murder mysteries.

  8. Great review! I'm 200 pages in at the moment and loving it. I can already see this is going to be fives stars for me too.

  9. I've heard mixed reviews so it makes me happy to see you enjoyed it so much! Amazing review :)

    P.S - The Aussie cover is awesome. It is by far my favourite of them all.

  10. Oh my god, you make this sound so so so amazing! I love mysteries and I am sooo glad that this doesn't disappoint! The characters sound like a lot of fun and I'm actually glad to see that the romance takes a back seat in this so that we actually get a plot c: Fantastic review!


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