Author: Libba Bray
Publication date: 18th September 2012
My rating: 4 stars
It's 1920s New York City. It's flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It's after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it's the opportunity to party like never before.
For Evie O'Neill, it's escape. She's never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she's shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she's always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.
But New York City isn't about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren't crimes of passion. They're gruesome. They're planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can't solve them alone.
Evie wasn't just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first.
Eerie and cryptic are the first words that come to my mind, if someone asked me to describe The Diviners. It’s peculiar how The Diviners left me with fragmented feelings; on the one hand it was the enigmatic, dark and you were left with the sense of foreboding, with a killer on the loose in New York no-one is really safe, but despite this dangerous and haunting vibe throughout The Diviners was a book brought to life by its vivid, energetic and bright characters.
Evie just doesn’t know when to stop, at 17 she’s young carefree, frivolous, and consequently doesn’t realise when she’s gone too far. After landing in trouble again, her parents decide to send her to New York to stay with her uncle Will as punishment. New York is where it’s at, Ohio had become a little dull and boring for Evie, so she’s glad to leave everything behind and make a great impression on New York. What she didn’t expect was to fall smack bang in the middle of a murder investigation. Buy maybe this is her big calling, can Evie unravel the mystery behind the peculiar death or is she just sticking her nose in where it isn’t needed?
Evie was such a vibrant character, she would brighten up a room as soon as she entered with her positive gusto and cheery moody, never one to back down despite not knowing was around the corner, I admired her courage and her charm, she was a swell character.
The Diviners was full of mystery surrounding the murdered lady, mystery in the streets of New York and the characters also had their closets full with skeletons. There was Sam who had a swagger about him, but despite the bravado had his own reasons for taking his current path. Jericho; this hunk of a man became a firm favourite as he immediately reminded me of Jericho Barrons from Moning’s Fever series! He also was a mystery, how had he come to become Uncle Will’s assistant? What was his back story? It certainly wasn’t something I was expecting! And uncle Will too, he wasn’t very inviting when Evie tried to ask questions about his past, he immediately shut down and barked out orders. This mystery certainly kept me on my toes; on the one hand I was trying to keep up with Evie, Jericho uncle Will and Sam uncovering the killer behind the murders, but each character had their own shady back story which as they began to unfold, I didn’t know which path I wanted to follow. I immediately wanted to know everything all at once. But I’m glad that Bray held back, she gave us bits and pieces but left us hanging on for more of this glitzy yet ominous world.
The characters definitely packed a punch in this book; I found myself instantly drawn to some and rooted for them till the end. The characters are not definitely your typical type, they remind me of those matryoshka dolls where you open one then you get another and another. They were characters who had so much to offer, and after a part of them had been unravelled, still had so much they could bring. I am pleased that Libba Bray has planned to make this a four week book series; as I don’t think we have even touched the tip with these characters. Evie, Sam and Jericho have quite easily become characters I couldn’t bear to part with after one book!
The Diviners was another book which took me by surprise this year; it has definitely encouraged me to step outside of my comfort reading zone more often. It was a sinister read which had you constantly worrying about what could be lurking around the corner, and a set of characters which really shone through. Bray has managed to create an enthralling novel; I can’t wait to see how the story will unravel next.