2013 Reads: Thirty-Nine {The Diviners - Libba Bray}

Friday, December 6, 2013

Roaring TwentiesYA? Check.

Supernatural killers? Check.  

Fantastic characters? Chech.

This book really did have everything going for it as far as I'm concerned. 


Evangeline (Evie) O'Neil has been sent away from her home town in Ohio to stay with her Uncle Will in New York City. Though, supposedly a punishment for her reckless behavior, Evie couldn't be happier. New York City is the land of speakeasies, shopping, and flappers - a world where Evie certainly feels more at home than the quiet town she came from. Before long Evie is running around with Ziegfeld girls, a pickpocket, and her best friend Mabel. 

Evie is enamored with her uncle - who runs the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (or, commonly known as the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies) and his bachelor lifestyle. However, soon a series of brash murders plague the streets of New York and Will is called in as a consultant and Will and Evie find themselves in the center of the investigation.

Through it all Evie has a secret: a supernatural power which could be the key needed to catch the killer and save Manhattan. 

That is, if the killer doesn't catch her first. 


I'm pretty sure if there was an award for the book (or, audiobook in this case) that takes you the longest to finish, this one would win that one for me this year.

And that has nothing to do with the book itself - because I really enjoyed this one! It's just that I was listening to it on audiobook and with my job I don't spend a lot of time in the car on a daily basis. If any (since I live where I work, woohoo! no commute!). So, I probably had this bad boy checked out from the library for a good three months. 


In any case. I really did enjoy this one - it had everything I was looking for in a YA book. I knew nothing about it going into reading it, and that's probably for the best. I mean, I wasn't even aware that this was the first book in a series. In fact, I was surprised and excited every moment of the story.

It's also probably for the best that I didn't know anything about this book before I started it. I've tried a book by Libba Bray before, Beauty Queens, and it was the first book in years that I did not finish. I couldn't get involved in it at all and actually really disliked the writing as well as the story.

Oh how different this book is from that one!

I loved the premise of this book - monsters and magical powers in the 20's NYC?

I will admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Evie. She's such a loud characters. She's obnoxious and self centered and pretty selfish (I'm not sure I could have been happier when Mabel called her out on that). But, despite that, she's still incredibly enchanting. At seventeen, she's a sweet, carefree flapper who is also devoted to those she is close to and grieving over the loss of her brother to the war. It's an interesting paradox in personality. She slowly started to redeem herself over the course of the novel for me - until the very end when she gets mad at Will and decides to talk to the papers. I guess I'm just undecided on her right now. Hopefully she'll grow on me more with the future novels.

Then there's the rest of the characters in the novel. And there's a lot of them: Will (Evie's uncle), Sam (the devilishly handsome pick-pocket who comes to work for Will), Jericho (Will's assistant - whom I love DEARLY. I need MORE Jericho!), Theta (a Ziegfeld girl), Memphis (the black number runner), Henry (Theta's piano playing 'brother'), and so many more. And each of them has their own story to tell - eventually.

And there is so much action in this novel! It's a little gruesome - blood, guts, and gore - but for a reason. The story spins heavily around the Naughty John plot-line, with murders that will make your skin crawl. But to say that defines the story would be a lie. The sub-plots are equally as important and, in some cases, even more intriguing.

And the audio book? Probably one of the most well done ones I've ever listened to. January LaVoy is an amazing narrator - the voices she does for each character are perfect and such a pleasure to listen to. She was able to give each character such personality through her voice - which added another level to the story that Bray wrote. I'm not sure I'll be able to read read the next book in this series; I'm going to have to wait for LaVoy to narrate again.

Libba Bray has packed this first-in-the-series novel full of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy.

Will I be picking up the next installment of this series as soon as it comes out?

Well, as Evie O'Neil would say, you bet-ski!


Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction (?), Steampunkish, Supernatural
Medium: Audiobook (15 CDs)
Publisher: Books on Tape (September 2012)
Date Read: 24 November 2013
Source: Purchased @ Barnes & Nobles
Recommended For: Late Middle School, YA Lovers, Fantasy Lovers, 
Challenges: Goodreads

First Line: In a townhouse at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes. 
Favorite Line:  "Your mother and I do not approve of drinking. Have you not heard of the Eighteenth Amendment?" ... "Prohibition? I drink to its health whenever I can."

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I'll have to give this a shot, especially since you recommended and I trust your judgment! :)


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