Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 578, Hardcover
Rating: 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This book is the cat’s meow; the ducks quack; the berries! (Diviners joke) But really, this book was amazing! Probably one of my most favorite reads, EVER. Gosh the setting, the characters, the mystery, EVERYTHING! I don’t even know where to begin *wills coherent thoughts to form*.
Libba Bray is something else when it comes to creating a setting for a book (her Gemma Doyle trilogy was set in Victorian London and was absolutely delightful). The Diviners is set in 1930s New York City and I couldn’t think of a better time and place for this story. All of the elements of this period are beautifully captured in her story down to the smallest detail and I can’t stress enough how much the atmosphere enhanced the story. Her expertly crafted characters, their dialogue and behavior, and each scene exuberated this era and made the story come alive. I was swept away from the very first page.
Evie is a hoot! She is sarcastic and outspoken, confident and carefree. She was one of the best lead characters I have had the pleasure of coming across. She was just so charming and full of life that I was constantly amused by her antics. Even though the other characters were strong, they paled in comparison. Note: this book is written in multi POV but is mostly the Evie-show (and no complaints here!)
But delightful setting and fabulous characters aside, this book was fabulously creepy. Naughty John gave me goosebumps and his eery little jingle was haunting:
"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on.
Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells em off for a coupla stones"
Everything about him and his occult-based sacrifices were unsettling and at various points in this story I was freaked out and afraid... yes, afraid. Libba Bray definitely created a unnerving villain and kept you on the edge of your seat while Evie and the police raced to stop him before it was too late.
Even though this book has a supernatural element, I felt that it was subtly crafted into the story so that it was more of an added detail rather than a main element. I would forget that Naughty John was some sort of dead ghost beast thing and that most of the characters had some type of power. But I preferred it as an undertone. The story didn't need it for excitement or suspense, it had plenty of that already and you can tell it will have a greater focus in the sequel to appease fans.
If my raving hasn't convinced you that you need to read this book, do yourself a favor and just read the opening chapter. I'm sure you won't put it down. It is fabulous!