Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Evie O'Neill likes to have fun and there's not much fun in her hometown of Ohio. She gets into some trouble at home by using her "gift." She can read objects and learn people's secrets and while at a party, she announces a shocking secret about the resident popular guy. There's some scandal and to make matters worse, she's been drinking and getting a bit rambunctious. Her parents have had it with her, so they send her to New York City to spend time with her scholarly Uncle Will. He runs the Museum of Creepy Crawlies, officially known as the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult. Evie thinks things will be oh-so-much fun in the big city; she imagines she will going to speakeasies every night, but things start to get serious. There's a serial killer on the loose in Manhattan and the police force elicits Uncle Will's help as the murders seem to point to the occult, which is his speciality. Evie finds herself actively involved in helping figure out who or what is committing these heinous crimes. The Diviners by Libba Bray is a whirlwind ride through the 1920s in New York City and there's no denying that readers will be glued to this paranormal thriller.
Evie is such a fun protagonist. She's the epitome of a spunky outgoing girl and I really enjoyed her. She isn't just an aspiring flapper, she's got a "gift" which allows her to read objects and in turn, this makes her a valuable commodity when it comes to figuring out who the killer is. There were times that Evie frustrated me as she is super selfish and never follows rules, but that's how I like my heroines.
Evie isn't the only focus in The Diviners. There are many points of view in this large tome, but I'd have to say Evie's is my favorite. There's also a numbers runner and aspiring poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Memphis. Admittedly, I found his chapters to be a little dull though. There's also Theta, a Ziegfield girl, and Sam Llyod, a charismatic pick-pocket. We can't forget Jericho, her uncle's assistant. He has a few secrets himself. And these are just a few of the characters! Obviously there are a ton of characters in The Diviners and Bray does a good job weaving this tale and interlacing all of the subplots and backstories.
The time period is one of my favorite aspects of The Diviners and Bray brilliantly brings it to life. She makes it feel as if readers are living in the Jazz Age of New York City and it's obvious that she put a lot of research into this book. Everything down to the newspaper headlines and the 1920s slang made the time period jump off the page and come to life.
I must admit that The Diviners is an extremely creepy book and I know I've said that I don't make it a habit of reading scary books; however, I was completely engrossed in The Diviners due to Bray's writing. There's no doubt in my mind that she is a fantastic author and an expert at creating such bone-chilling atmosphere. If you get easily scared, The Diviners is not a book you should read, at least late at night. It reminded me of a terrifying episode of Dexter except with a paranormal twist. Let's just say, parts were frightening and I made it a personal rule to not read The Diviners at night.
The ending of The Diviners sets readers up for book two as Evie's adventures in New York City continue. I, for one, can't wait to see where Bray is going with this new addictive series, but I definitely will be reading it in the daytime...that's for sure!