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Literary Friday: The Diviners

Friday, March 22, 2013

This week I read The Diviners by Libba Bray.  It is the first book in a brand new paranormal series set in New York City during the roaring twenties.  I loved reading this installment, and I can't wait for the next one in the series!

Seventeen year old Evie O'Neill is the "pos-i-tute-ly" wild heroine in this series.  Due to her out of control behavior, her parents send her from a scandalous situation in her hometown of Zenith, Ohio, to New York City to live with her erudite Uncle Will.  Will owns The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, better known as the Museum of "The Creepy Crawlies."  When he's asked to help the police in a series of heinous murders, Evie tags along with Will to a murder scene.  Unable to control herself, Evie touches a buckle on the victim's shoe and "sees" the murder victim's memories.  Evie, Uncle Will, and an incredible cast of characters try to find clues that will help solve the murders and stop a serial killer before he strikes again.

I love character-driven books, and the characters in this book are all fascinating.  Evie is a bit vapid especially at the beginning of the book, but she more than makes up for her youthful hedonism through her bravery.  She just might be the bravest heroine in YA fiction.  Ever.  :D Then there's her friend Mabel whose parents are early twentieth century Progressives.  One would think that Mabel and Evie would have nothing in common, but perhaps there's more to Mabel than meets the eye.  Sam Lloyd is a street-smart conman who can literally influence people to ignore his activities.  Memphis Campbell is a Harlem numbers runner with a love for poetry.  He's a healer, and his little brother has "the sight."  Evie's friend Theta is a Ziegfeld chorus girl, and I couldn't help but picture Louise Brooks as Theta while reading the book. Theta has a dark secret and a terrifying gift.  And then there's tall and mysterious Jericho, Uncle Will's ward.  Jericho has feelings for Evie, but his self-loathing holds him back from expressing how he feels.  But perhaps the most awe-inspiring character is Naughty John, you know, the one who does his work with his apron on?  Yep.  That one.  He is the most creeptastically frightening villain I've read in a very long time.  He might even beat Mr. Croup from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

Libba Bray's research and her attention to detail in this period novel are "pos-i-tute-ly" fantastic.  I enjoyed the references to the Harlem Renaissance (both music and literature), the Ziegfeld Follies, fashion, fads, slang, politics, and speakeasies.  There is definitely something Fitzgerald-esque about the novel, and not just the fact that Uncle Will's last name is Fitzgerald. I got a sense that there is an all-knowing "eye" observing the characters like they're on a game board, similar to the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg billboard in The Great Gatsby.  The separate plots in the novel converge as characters' lives intersect, and the main characters were just starting to make connections to each another by the end of the book, so it will be fun to see how they mesh in the next.  The book hints that they will all need to work together because of what is headed their way.  As much as I enjoyed reading The Diviners, I would not recommend it for younger teens due to violence and adult situations.  

The Diviners book trailer

So what have you been reading?  This is a linky!

Until next time...
Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. This sounds like a really fun read!

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  2. Wheeeeeeeeee... Thank you for the suggestion!

    I put my (kinda') reviews of the books I have been reading in 2013, on my "Auntie's Reads 2013" blog. No comments there, but I usually tell, in my regular blog, when I have posted a book (kinda') review. So if anyone wants to comment, they can do so, in my regular blog.


  3. Yay! I LOVE Libba Bray, so this one has been on my to-read list for quite a while. I'm glad it's as good as I expect it to be! :D

  4. haven't heard of this writer or book off to add it to my list

  5. Ricki Jill, I just popped over to Audible to see if the audio version was available, it was an Audie Award Nominee, yay! I have more time to listen than read these days :) Hope your week improves!

  6. sounds interesting! mixing paranormal and historical fiction

  7. This one I’m not familiar with RJ. I’m finishing up Laura Bush’s “Spoken from the Heart”. So interesting how she grew up and how she met President Bush. I have a couple of new books, next on my list to read is “Hidden in Paris” a novel by Corine Gantz.
    I’m so thankful we didn’t get the bad weather last night!
    Hope you are enjoying a crazy mixed up weather day Sunday...........

    The French Hutch


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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