Title: The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Rating: 5 Stars
The Diviners is, without a doubt, my favorite Libba Bray novel - and I've read all of them except for The Beauty Queens which I didn't get time to finish but which I fully intend to as I loved the few chapters I read of it. I am, truly, a self-proclaimed Libba Bray fan. I know her Gemma Doyle Trilogy had its flaws, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I remember it changed my perspective of literature at that time quite drastically. The Diviners on the other hand, contains no flaws. Well, to be honest I think this 578 Page book should have been longer, but I'm glad there's a sequel. I don't want to say good-bye to these characters anytime soon.
Evie O’Neill is not like other girls living during the booming industrial age of the Roaring 20s. For one, she’s loud, outspoken, and hilariously full of life, but Evie also contains a gift that few other possess – by merely touching an object, Evie can glean information about its owner while that object was on them. Thus, after a “scandalous” incident forces her to stay with her Uncle Will in
I’ll be perfectly honest – I didn’t expect to not love this book. I went into The Diviners with high expectations and I came out of it with my mind blown, itching for the sequel despite the concrete ending and wanting to immediately flip to the beginning and experience this novel all over again. Yes, experience, for what Libba Bray creates is a portal into the realm of the past, full with the blitz, glamour, and utter joy of living in the Roaring 20s. Nevertheless, into this happy-go-lucky setting, she manages to throw in and create one of the most chilling mysteries I’ve ever read. It takes a lot to scare me while I read a book, but The Diviners sent my spine tingling with chills and had me constantly jumping in the middle of the street whenever I heard a whistle. It’s one of those books that assimilate itself into your life because you simply cannot let go of its pure awesomeness.
While the setting and fanatic murders of The Diviners itself make this novel stand out, what truly makes it a remarkable story is its characters. Evie is a gal that I just love. Not only is she fiercely headstrong, independent, and full of spunk, but she has her own share of flaws and can even be hard to like at times, but all this only serves to make her more real, more three-dimensional, and more understanding in my eyes. If I had to pick a book best friend, I’d pick Evie because believe me, this is a girl you want by your side. While Evie startles us with her outgoing nature though, it is Naughty John, the ghost killer in this novel, who truly takes our breath away – not with his dashing good looks, but with his tantalizing murder song, tell-tale whistle, and utter creep factor.
The Diviners is probably one of the few books I’ve read where the reader knows the killer from the beginning and is still utterly invested in the story. It seems as if it’s a storyline that is doomed to fail, but really, the reader is only kept frantically flipping the pages to see how Evie manages to use her power and sharp wit to uncover that this murderer isn’t even alive, but a ghost. It’s a wonderfully spun tale and the cast of other characters who accompany her on this mission are just as heart-warming, well-developed, and deep as Evie is.
One of the most memorable side characters, who really is a main character on his own, is
. While Memphis’ and Evie’s storylines don’t intermingle as much as we might like in this installment, his storyline perfectly sets us up for the direction this trilogy is taking. You see, Memphis is a young black man struggling to cope with the loss of his gift of healing – a gift which failed him when he most needed it to cure his mother. Thus, we are introduced to a second storyline in this tale, one of the diviners, a group of people who possess gifts, much like Memphis and Evie. In most cases, multiple storylines, narrators, and characters in general is a recipe for disaster, but yet again, Libba Bray pulls it off perfectly. Naughty John and his murders still remain to be our prime issue at hand, but the subtle manner in which Bray wove together the back stories of her characters and revealed to us the wondrous direction in which her trilogy was heading was all done with a talent that I must admit is unparalleled. Memphis