July 17, 2013

The Diviners, a book review (The Diviners, #1)

by Libba Bray
published in 2012
a bone-rattling 5 / 5 stars
Goodreads / Amazon Website Trailer (super creepy)
"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."

Some might say that only movies can evoke the most imagery in one's mind. But after reading The Diviners, I would completely disagree. This book didn't just make me feel like I was living in the era of the storyline, it made me feel like I belonged to it.

New York City, 1926. This bustling city suddenly gets a new addition: 17 year-old Evie O'Neill. After committing much too many troubles, Evie is sent packing from her drab hometown to the streets of NYC to live with her uncle. There she discovers that her hidden supernatural powers are more needed than ever, as she finds herself caught in the midst of a murder investigation. 

To say that this book scared me would be a hell of an understatement. It left me sweating with fear, eyes with horror and mind filled with speechless terrors. Yet it kept me up t'il midnight, day after day, as I silently flipped the pages with such an anticipation that only a good book can make you feel. 

Before I applaud Libba for any of her other amazing abilities as an author, I must applaud her writing. Clear, deliciously detailed, and always up to the point. Not only does she infuse many layers of depth into her words, she also brings a sense of closeness to us readers. Not once did I feel distant, detached from the storyline. I felt alive when reading The Diviners, almost like when you're fresh off into the day, ready to take on any challenge. 

Although there were many important characters in The Diviners, I must dedicate a paragraph to our main protagonist, Miss Evie. I won't lie, I was quite caught off guard when I first got to know her. She was bold! She was stubborn! She was loud! And I think I was surprised because I was really used to female protagonists being a little quiet, a little shy, a little insecure, but very likable (there are a few exceptions, of course). And I'm glad Evie defied that definition, because standing out of the box, that's what creates authenticity, and sometimes, just like we need small changes in our lives to keep the rhythm at a good tempo, we need some changes in the style of our protagonist.

Combining a very human world with a distinctly supernatural environment can be risky. One of these "styles" could easily overwhelm the other, thus causing an unproportional world. Yet The Diviners was anything but disproportionate. The realism and the unnatural balanced each other with great poise, like a negative counteracting with a negative, which of course leads to a positive!

The Diviners is a real life time-teleporter that will make you leave your modern trails behind, and bring you into a beautiful, vicious era where deciding your fate can sometimes seem at a hand's reach.


  1. That little synopsis or whatever was already pretty creepy already. *shiver* I'm not one for anything scary but it sounds so interesting not to pick it up--which is really weird to say. XD

    I love how you described Evie! Bold characters are the most amazing people, if there should be more, it should be the bold people.

    Amazing review, Grace! :D

    1. Thank you so much, Delaney! And yes, the Naughty John song is super creepy, it literally gives me shivers every time I read it. And I totally agree with you, there should be more bold protagonists, because they would make the plot so much more interesting!

      Thanks for reading my review and commenting, Delaney,

      -Grace :)

  2. Great review Grace! I've had my eye on this one for quite awhile and your review makes me much more inclined to obtain a copy of it. Especially how you describe her writing and the "scariness" of the story - I've had an on and off relationship with Libba Bray's books but this one appears worth reading.

    1. Thanks Thomas! And same here, I liked Beauty Queens, but I totally gave up on Going Bovine after a dozen of pages, but Libba really made a mark on me with this book! I hope you'll get the chance to read The Diviners, it's truly fantastic!

      -Grace :)


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-Grace :)


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