Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

fromthestashFrom the Stash is just my way to denote when something is from before I had the blog. I have been reviewing books since January 2010 so I’d like to showcase some of that past work, as well as safeguard my reviews for posterity.

The Diviners by Libba Bray13642237

Published: September 25th 2012 by Listening Library
Format/Source: Audio CD borrowed from Cover2CoverBlog
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal in a Historical Fiction setting


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 her uncle will 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 is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. . . .


…because it isn’t raining you know, it’s raining violets.

Evie is a teenage flapper who hates small town life, misses her WWI-missing brother horribly, and dreams of fame and fun. She occasionally, though perhaps more often than you might think, seeks to achieve those two things by exposing her special gift. By pressing an object into her hand she can tell the owner’s secrets. She is sent away to the Big Apple and her Uncle Will after such an attempt gone wrong.

When you see the clouds upon the hill…

Memphis is a teenage numbers runner who loves is little brother and misses his mother terribly. Both he and his brother have special gifts too, but Memphis hasn’t been able to use his in a while. But life can continue to throw curve balls and sometimes someone can surprise you. Theta has a past and lives with her ‘brother’ Henry. They are in the show business, because there ain’t no business like show business like no business I know. Sam is a pickpocket who gets by using his special gift. He wants to woo Evie and find out the meaning behind his mother’s disappearance into something called Project Buffalo.

…you will soon see crowds of daffodils…

With mysticism, red herrings, and about three other important characters of varying mystery (for example, a communist and a Frankenstein), Evie, Sam, and her Uncle are on the hunt for a mysterious occult serial killer. The mystery is a paranormal, haunted house kind of thrilling mystery that was my favorite part. Are they going to be able to figure out what is going on and how to stop it? And with the roaring Twenties, there are lots of cultural nuances and fun jazzy elements that can pique a historical fiction fan’s interest. I really wanted to learn more about the world they were living in and the even further past. The characters were compelling and I found not too bothered when many of them were not actually doing anything that was connected to the main plot. I loved that Evie, as a main character in a book that is being marketed for the young adult audience was not terribly whiny, angsty, or even too innocent/naive/goody two shoes. I appreciated her flawed character that was flawed because of who she is rather than her being a product of some outrageous flare of angst. Though perhaps that is related to while this book has young adult main characters, I’m not as certain that it is a young adult book.

…so keep on looking for the bluebird, and listening for his song…

But there’s a coming storm that keeps being alluded to, and goes unsolved and unclarified for the whole book. And the Diviners themselves generally live their lives apart from one another, and so the foundation is set for perhaps the true Diviners book, a sequel. The book built up to a different ending than expected, almost like a short stop. So really, this book was is more of a foundation novel, a prologue for the real story. I enjoyed the story, but I find myself feeling a certain lack of closure on a few things and wondering if there was more significance in certain events than what it seemed; because there were some things that felt like outliers.

…whenever April showers come along.

My rating: 4.5/5


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