I have been a fan of Libba Bray since I was in high school and I read A Great and Terrible Beauty. She writes the most incredible and unique young adult historical paranormal books I’ve ever read. It’s been ten years since I first read one of Bray’s books, and it’s still in my head. I think she is one of the biggest influences on my own writing. Her writing is beautiful, her stories enthralling, and her characters deep. Her newest novel, The Diviners, is no exception.
Set in the roaring twenties, Bray transports us to the age of prohibition and flappers. When Evie O’Neill goes a bit too far with a little “party trick,” her parents ship her off to her uncle Will at the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies in New York City. But her trick isn’t really a trick and she will soon need a real reason to use her supernatural power. A girl has been murdered and branded with an occult symbol. To solve the case, the police call on an expert: uncle Will. Evie realizes her gift can actually help catch the killer, and decides to use it for good. But Evie isn’t the only one hiding something. A young man named Memphis struggles to reconcile his own abilities with his mother’s last wishes. His brother Isaiah can see more than he should. A chorus girl named Theta might seem confident, but she’s running from a dark past. A pickpocket named Sam is hiding more than just himself in a crowd. And Will’s student Jericho is concealing a shocking secret beneath a stoic facade. Their lives all change when something evil is awakened in the city that never sleeps.
I pos-i-tute-ly loved this book. I thought the paranormal aspects were interesting and well thought out. And the twenties slang was just swell. The history nerd in me really appreciated that Bray set the book in the twenties (and did a lot of research to do it well), when I could see this story being set in modern New York. I thought the setting really made this book that much more unique and intriguing. My favorite part is that Bray somehow manages to give all the characters incredible depth. Even the homeless man, Blind Bill, is given a serious plot twist. Characters this real are seriously rare, and Bray pulls them off in spectacular fashion!
Just writing this review is making me want to go back and reread the book. I really loved it, and was completely immersed in the world of the novel. I cannot wait for the second book in the series, Lair of Dreams, to be released this August.
If you’ve read The Diviners, or any of Libba Bray’s other novels, let me know what you think in the comments below!