The Diviners

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Written by: Libba Bray
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 578, Hardback
Series: The Diviners, #1
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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.


The Diviners is a special kind of book: One part paranormal, one part horror, one part historical, add a liberal dash of prose, and a voice that’s omnipresent ebbing and flowing through the entire city… Well, you’ve really got something in those 600 pages. I should also mention here that this was a reread for me, although I’d not read it since 2013, so many plot twists I’d forgotten, or just hadn’t pieced together.

The Diviners has a lot going on, and I mean a lot. There’s one large plot that touches everyone; and all these smaller mysteries that you scramble to put together all while trying to keep yourself from panicking when you turn the page and that whistling starts. Panic does happen from time to time, but never once does it get so overwhelming that you lose track of what you’re reading, or whose perspective you’re in.

When I first picked this book up years ago I didn’t know I was in for such a creepy ride. Paranormal was always awesome for me, but this book is a little crazier than the average paranormal book. I was truthfully terrified the first time I read it, and even on my reread, knowing how it ends, I still found my heart racing and resisting the urge to shut the book just to stay safe at night. But I really loved that aspect. Usually in books the fear doesn’t feel as real as it does on screen, but Bray is able to really pull you into the world and the fear that those on the page are dealing with.


The Diviners is a very large book, and there is a lot going on. There are more mysteries at the end than there are in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want her to tie it up with a nice little bow. But there are so so many that my reread to go onto Lair of Dreams was completely necessary, I’d forgotten so many little things, that I can completely see playing into the next book. Heck it was a reread and I still don’t know if I’ve gotten all the little things. Especially that last chapter or two, everything felt like it was unraveling even though the main mystery had been solved. Yeah I know its setting up for a series there should be a lot of confusion and mysteries at the end, but I think maybe it was a little more than was even needed. Especially if Bray plans to pick up without reminding us of all the little seeds she sewed at the end.

Another spot that bothered me was in the middle of the book Evie and Mabel had a fight. It was a pretty decent fight, I won’t get into specifics, but the resolution was just so…simple. It was like both girls just decided to ignore that it ever happened. Which is okay, but I hope it gets brought up again later. I want to see these two girls really have to work their way through their issues. Evie and Mabel are so very different from each other and I hope that it gets worked through.


One thing I adored about this book and haven’t yet gotten to talk about is the world, Bray did an insane amount of research for this book, and it shows. I love the 1920s era and I’ve read so much about it, but yet I still learned things from this book. There are a few changes Bray has made to the world, she mentions this in the author’s note at the end of the book, but overall the world of swingers and speakeasies becomes a reality within the pages and I adored reading about it.

The Diviners also has a very large cast of characters that I can only see growing in the next book. But you get to know all of them without feeling like you’re forgetting anyone, or losing specific storylines. Mostly because each character has stuff going on and a lot of times it doesn’t even have anything else to do with any other characters. I know this is sounding confusing, but I think that’s a testament to the book, that it is something confusing to explain, and yet it works so flawlessly within the pages.

Relationships were a strong theme in this book, from the slow burn romance, to a faster paced romance that’s going to be very interesting farther down the line. I loved seeing friendships develop differently, and even though this book focuses on the ghosts and the mysteries, the relationships are never ignored, even if they are subtle. I feel like that’s something that’s huge within this world and I know the relationships will all change and grow, but I can’t wait to see where they all lead us.


If you love the time period, then yes you should. Even if you’re nervous about the creep factor give it a try! It’s fantastic.


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