The Diviners by Libba Bray – Review


TItle: The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray

Genre:  Horror | Mystery | Young Adult

Summary:  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-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Final Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

AimalReads Review:

I read this book in the hopes that it would be my last for the month, and I had heard that it was the perfect Halloween read. It was all supposed to work out. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to be so good that I’d finish it four days before Halloween… uh, crap?

The world Libba Bray builds, the amount of detail she puts into the era, the clothes, the language, the atmosphere is delightful. The story had me on the edge of my seat. It was unique, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it was just such a great read all-in-all. I recommend it to anyone, but I will say something. If you’re a religious person, you might not agree with some of the themes in this book. I’ve read a few reviews on Goodreads that seem to not like this book, mainly because they find it offensive. I’m not a religious person, so I didn’t mind it at all, but I do understand why SOME people might find it to be so.


The story was fantastic. The plot was consistently gripping, consistently witty, consistently fantastic. It had a set introduction which effectively introduced the audience to the main protagonist, Evie. It introduces us to her life, her desires, her personality and the era. The antagonist is introduced to us throughout the book. We see him before we know who he is, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what his deal is. The climax was great. There were interesting sub-plots weaved into the narrative, as each character had a different backstory. Integrating every backstory into the main narrative was something that Libba Bray did very well. I see a lot of people saying that the special abilities these characters have weren’t emphasized much, and I will present an argument to this: very rarely in the first book do the characters have an absolute idea about what’s going on, and it was the same with The Diviners. The characters, still puzzled, still evolving, are coming to terms with their abilities. At least, this is what I felt, and I’m sure that their ‘powers’ will be better demonstrated in the second book. 5/5


I don’t read historical fiction much, but this book made me want to start. Set in the 1920s, the Roaring Twenties, in none other than New York, the backdrop of the story is one of glamor, of magnificence. The imagery in this novel was so intense, I could imagine the journalists with their flashing cameras, the detectives with their trench coats and hats, the flappers with their sparkly dresses and short hair. Although I’m not much aware of the religious scene in the twenties, I will say that nothing felt exaggerated. Even though the book was predominantly paranormal, it still felt realistic and possible. (Am I making sense?) This was mainly due to the historical accuracy of the novel and the setting. 5/5


The characters felt real, mainly because they weren’t black or white (with the exception of the antagonist.) Each character had complex shades of grey. Evie, our protagonist, is spunky and feisty and witty, but she’s arrogant and selfish. These are qualities and vices that played together and interacted with each other so well that you don’t mind her vices too much. They exist; you acknowledge their existence and their importance, but they play into the character’s overall attitude and personality very effectively. There’s Memphis; the soft, kind, caring, gentle guy. We have Sam Lloyd; arrogant, proud, charming. We have Jericho; the mysterious, tender giant. Mabel; the gullible, innocent best friend. Theta; the demure, mysterious, exciting goddess. Every character is so well thought-out. None of them were cliché. None of them were irrelevant. None of them felt unimportant. Everything tied together. 5/5

Writing Style:

Libba Bray writes so effortlessly. I mean, at least that’s what comes across in this book. I’ve mentioned the intense, detailed imagery in her novel throughout my review, because I was so thoroughly impressed with it. I was impressed with the research she put into the novel, making it historically accurate. I was impressed with the development of her characters. I was impressed with her tackling of a potentially controversial subject (religion, anti-religion). This was the first of her books I picked up, and it most definitely isn’t the last. Again, some people generalize the young adult genre, saying that it is full of bad, clunky, cliched writing… the next time someone says that to me, I shall shove this book down their throat. 4.5/5

Would I Recommend? To everyone.

Would I re-read? Definitely.


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