Book Review of The Diviners

Posted September 3, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 22 Comments

Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Pages: 608
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: ARC from Mickey at I’m a Book Shark.

Blurb: 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.

Review: Reading that blurb up above doesn’t make this book sound as serious and involved as it really is. It makes it sound like a fun read filled with glitz, glamour, and a little bit of mystery. And it is ALL of those things. But it is also so much more. There’s a serial killer, a very bizarre cult-like religion, and a very in-depth plot. There is much more meat to this book than you would think. 

Clearly it’s a big book. There’s a lot of heft to this one when you hold it in your hands. There are a lot of characters, there is a lot of world building, but mostly there are a lot of words for a YA book. And I’ll be honest, this book DID feel kind of long. Not excessively, but enough to make me wish it was a bit shorter. Memphis’ scenes were BORING, and there were a few chapters that felt like filler. I personally feel that you could have knocked about 80-100 pages off of this one and it would have had the same impact and effect. Especially in the first 150 or so pages.  Not much happened and there was just SO much set-up that I kind of felt like…

Just saying. But here’s the thing. That’s pretty much the only thing I can criticize about this book. Okay, one more thing. The lingo. If you hadn’t already guessed, this book was set in the 1920s. And I know the slang was different then than it is now, but MAN. Holy phrase overusage. I got really sick of “and how” and the suffix “-ski” being attached to everything. And everything being “jake.” 


Really, it was enough. It is OKAY to have characters talk normally from time to time. Now I’m done complaining. On to the good things. The writing was a lot of fun. Libba Bray can write. Her writing is the perfect combination of characters, setting, dialogue, and story. It all melds together really well. She is ace at telling the story through her characters. There is no infodumping to be found anywhere. She is good at what she does. Clearly. I really fell for these characters and there were a LOT of them. There were some I liked more than others though. I really enjoyed Evie and Theta, but Memphis I was just bored by. 

As for the story? I thought it was fantastic once it got going. This one takes a while to start moving, but once it does, it’s really one of those books you can get lost in. I cared about the characters and I cared about what happened to them. The murderer had me scared shitless and there were a few chapters where my heart was in my throat. I was terrified and I had to peek ahead to make sure things were going to come out okay. I know. I AM a coward.

He is vile and scary and absolutely horrible. He is all the things that a good villain truly should be. And the thing is…there is so much more to his story than just being a killer. There is so much depth there and layers to uncover and I really think this is a book that most people will enjoy. But he is a very, bad, BAD man. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this, but part of the fun reading this book is uncovering all the layers and figuring out this mystery and why he is the way he is. It’s brilliant.
The Diviners is original and atmospheric and really just so enjoyable to read. I would recommend this one to lovers of YA paranormal, but also readers who enjoy fantastic writing and solid characters. Yeah, there’s a budding romance, but there is NO insta-love. The romance truly takes a backseat as the story and the set-up for future books in this series is much more important than anything else. This is a book for discerning readers and those who don’t mind moderate pacing. If you are tired of the same old cliches and tropes in YA, I think this is a book you will most likely enjoy.

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22 responses to “Book Review of The Diviners

  1. OMG! I love that you used a Boy meets World gif. I watched that show tons growing up. lol

    Great review. I really enjoyed her first two books in the Gemma Doyle series. But the 3rd book kinda turned me off but with this review I will give this book a try. Thanks. :o)

    • BMW was definitely a favorite show of mine. I didn’t get into it until it was in syndication, but I do love it still.

      I still need to read the Gemma Doyle series. BUT i do highly recommend this one.

  2. Kara, you always include the best gifs. 🙂 Also, love your review! I’ve been pinning over The Diviners for such a long time because I’m a huge fan of Libba Bray’s other YA series- A Great and Terrible Beauty, hence I’m thrilled that this is a four star read for you and that the writing, characterization, and setting were excellent. 🙂 And oh, the murderer sounds creeeepy. Is it weird that I’m craving to read his narrative at the moment? 😉

    Lovely review, Kara. 🙂 I’ll definitely be checking this one as soon as I can..

    • His narrative was actually one of the best parts of the book for me because he actually made my skin crawl. I hope you love this one, Leanne. I hear so much about the Gemma Doyle series. I really need to try to make time to read them. Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. Great review, K! I didn’t know much about this other than it seemed popular, but I know I feel like I get what it’s all about. I like that it’s set in the 20s, it sounds different to everything out there and I am a bit of a scaredy cat but I also like reading thrillers so I can’t wait for this!

  4. Fantastic review! Boy Meets World, FTW. They just don’t make teen shows the way they used to either. SMH. Haha..
    I read the first book in the Gemma Doyle series a couple years ago. It was really good, but never got around to getting the other books. I need to get them. Probably will have to re-read the first book before I read the others but I’d like to eventually anyway. I think you might like the series. 🙂

    The Diviners is top wishlisted for me. Glad it comes out in a couple weeks so I can go snatch it up! 😛 Your review just makes me crave it even more. 🙂


  5. Great review, Kara! I’m a little leery about the SLOW parts … I hate it when someone’s POV is just so slow and boring … BUT I’ve heard awesome things about Libba Bray, so I do want to check it out. The size is definitely daunting, but it looks good!!

    • Daunting is a perfect word to describe the size. And yet, I couldn’t wait to crack this one open. I had been looking forward to it for a long time as the subject matter really interests me, and it paid off. I think it’s worth the effort put in.

  6. Another awesome review! I’ve been really intrigued by this book and after reading this I’m definitely set on getting it when it comes out! 😀 I’m a fan of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series. It’s been awhile since I read it but it’s a good series, although in the last book there seemed to be the same small issue of filler chapters, as you mentioned with this one but not enough to make me dislike it. You should check it out sometime and see what ya think 😉

    And also, I freaking adore the fact that you used a Boy Meets World GIF in this review! lol. That was and still is one of my favorite shows EVER!


  7. I’ve wanted to read this for quite some time, but kept putting off ordering it. Your updates, GIFs and review have sealed the deal – it’s one of my very few preorderes. It does seem long – especially for YA – but a 4-star review from Kara? Who am I to resist?

    Lovely review – I can’t wait to read this one.

  8. Dude, that slang is going to drive me insane. I hate the phrase ‘and how’ anyway. Blergh. Well, at least the story is good….eventually. Haha, reading this somewhat soon I hope.

  9. Okay, I am sold! Despite the slang, even. I wasn’t sure about The Diviners when I first heard about it, but the more I consider the synopsis and the more I read rave reviews, like yours, the more I want to read it.

    Great review, lovely! 🙂

    PS: I love that first GIF <333

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