The Diviners by Libba Bray

(Hub Reading Challenge: BFYA)

divinersI’ve had this book anchoring my bedside table for almost a year now. Having it be on the Reading Challenge list was the kick I needed to pick it up. This book is huge-coming in at over 550 pages.  And the thing is, I don’t think it needed to be that long. The book is about a girl in the 1920s who has a supernatural gift, she is a “diviner.” Due to some trouble in her small town, Evie is sent to Manhattan to stay with her uncle, a bachelor who runs a museum of the supernatural and occult along with his hunky mysterious assistant, Jericho.  Evie is hot to experience all that 1920s Manhattan has to offer-speakeasies, gin, flapper dresses, loose morals, and jazz (insert jazz hands here.) Her swanky new friend Theta, a Ziegfeld Follies girl, aids and abets her, while her straight laced friend Mabel tut-tuts.  A horrendous murder kicks the mystery off.  Soon, it is a string of murders that seem to have something to do with the occult-weird brandings and sacrifices are present.  Uncle Will, Jericho, and Evie begin investigating. Then there are all the other diviner character, like Memphis and his brother Isaiah.

This was definitely an engaging, if too long, story.  However, if this was a movie I would never in a million years see it.  Occult-supernatural-horror-grisly? Not for me. In fact, all the murders were way too scary for me. But, I soldiered on. I wish this was a stand alone book, and I think it could have been. But, like all things these days, it’s #1 of presumably a trilogy. And if the other books are this long I probably won’t read them. The world of the 1920s is very fully detailed and realized-almost a little too much.  It’s clearly well researched, but I felt that it seemed like the author was going down her big list of details about the 1920s and making sure to include a song title, historical figure, slang phrase, wardrobe detail, etc. on every other line.


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