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 was my first foray in to the writings of Libba Bray (yeah, I rhymed there, sorry about that)! There was actually a point where I forgot about this book. I remembered seeing it at the bookstore, thought it sounded interesting, requested from my library and promptly forgot about it. And than it came, I had a lull in my book reading, I thought why not. Best decision that week. It was spooky and invigorating, it was a murder mystery, it was a ghost story, it was a people story, it was everything I wanted, just I didn’t know it was everything I wanted to until I read it. Like a nice surprise at the bottom of a bowl of ice cream. Mind you, there were a few things that frustrated me a bit but not enough to deter my love for it.
The main character is considered to be Evie O’Neill but it’s actually a collection of many characters with many stories and secrets that are intertwining in the bigger picture. Evie is young and rebellious and very outspoken but she’s also got a kind streak and joy for life so despite her selfishness it’s pretty easy to like her. The main plot here is the solving of the occult-based murders by the Manhattan Murderer. You know who the murderer is pretty early in the book but that did not whatsoever deter me from being fully engaged, heck it probably got me more involved. Another thing is it’s spooky, spooky, spooky (most cult things usually are). I did not except this book to spook me that much (think “I’m too scared to go into the dark basement by myself at night because I just read some of this book” scary). Like I mentioned, every character in this book has their secrets. That’s where we being to explore the bigger overall arc of the series, who or what the Diviners are.
The book is written with multiple narratives so we get to see a little bit of everyone’s story. This could have been a big downfall of the book but Bray does a wonderful job of creating very distinct characters without the worry of forgetting or getting bored of the multiple intertwining storylines. The setting of this book is just plain amazing. New York during the Prohibition era, the lingo, the style, the atmosphere, all fantastic! With the book being a brick ( at over 500 pages) there was definitely the odd time where the story dragged (it’s what happens when you have more than 7 characters all with significant insight into the bigger story). I think because I read it over a longer period of time than I usually would have (aka longer than just one sitting, because this is one of those books that I probably would have because it’s mesmerizing) it didn’t bother me as much. Oh and sneaky, sneaky, Libba Bray! She even managed to sneak in a a little romance and love triangle in there! I am beside myself (in a good way) with this one. Usually I am very good at picking a side, and sticking it through (and rarely do I get second male lead syndrome) but this one! Urg.
Overall, the Diviner is a enthralling book, with a frightening murderer, wonderful thoughtful and flawed characters and intricate in-depth plot. I’m thoroughly invested in and can’t wait for more.
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