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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling new series set in the Roaring Twenties!
The Diviners is my first book by Libba Bray, but I can tell you right now that it won't be my last. I'm thrilled to have discovered another YA author of such talent and prominence. I would have given her a chance even before now, especially considering all the raving reviews written by my most trusted friends, but I simply never got around to it. Fortunately, she left me...
Published on 5 Oct. 2012 by Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray
I wanted to love this book from the start but I found it was a really slow beginning and it wasn't until at least halfway through when it started to pick up. This wouldn't have been too bad if it wasn't for the length of the book which made me not want to continue with it. Towards the end of the book it really picked up as I was so drawn into the world that Bray created I...
Published on 4 Oct. 2012 by Kate


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling new series set in the Roaring Twenties!, 5 Oct. 2012
The Diviners is my first book by Libba Bray, but I can tell you right now that it won't be my last. I'm thrilled to have discovered another YA author of such talent and prominence. I would have given her a chance even before now, especially considering all the raving reviews written by my most trusted friends, but I simply never got around to it. Fortunately, she left me no choice with The Diviners. New York in the 1920s was impossible to resist.

I'll start with my favorite part - the setting. Libba Bray did an extraordinary job in taking her readers to New York during the Prohibition era. I could hear the music and the laughter, smell the forbidden alcohol, and it made me want to put on a flapper hat and dance my feet right off. I could spend an eternity reading about the Roaring Twenties, and the ghost of a serial killer only made it that much more interesting.

Yup, you read that right: there's a ghost of a vicious serial killer on the loose, and the only ones with any chance of stopping him are an 18-year-old psychic girl and a group of people that share the same dream. Even Evie's uncle Will, who runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult, also known as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies, is powerless against this murderous ghost. And if that isn't enough to freak you out, there are religious fanatics involved as well, and seriously, nothing is creepier than that.

To be quite honest, there were parts of this book that were a bit hard to get through. I'm not a fan of 3rd person, multiple points of view narrative to begin with, and The Diviners offered far too many perspectives for my taste. It's so hard to connect with the characters that way, and Evie was the only one I really felt close too.

To top that off, Evie was a hard character to like. She was occasionally self-centered and a little too care-free. (I'm very organized and responsible and people who just breeze through life tend to annoy me.) But there were times when I felt I truly understood why she behaved in such a way, and I could connect with her regardless of her frustrating actions. The loss of a family hero, Evie's older brother, damaged her family irreparably, and acting out was her way to cope.

But don't let my ranting or those 600 pages scare you off. The Diviners is a book worth reading, although it will force you to read slowly and carefully - something I'm not quite used to. Bray's talent for creating an eerie atmosphere is matched only by her intelligent humor. At times, I had to fight the urge to hide under my bed, only to burst out laughing five minutes later at something witty Evie said.

Make no mistake, The Diviners is a demanding book. It requires your full attention, but whatever it takes, it gives back tenfold. If I were you I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up. As for me, I'll just sit right here, very patiently and without making a sound, and wait for Libba Bray to finish the sequel. Some things were left unsaid and I need to know, need to know, needtoknowneedtoknowneedtoknow... Oh, shut up, brain!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but definitely not a childrens book, 7 July 2013
By 
Beanie Luck (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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To clarify a few things, this is labelled as a childrens book, im sorry but not on your life, i wouldn't give this book to a child.

1stly because the context is just too scary and well just damn right creepy and evil and secondly i personally don't feel that it should be read by anyone unless they have the mature capacity of deciphering that books are just fiction.

My personal recommendation is that it is for 14 and over.

Also this is running at 592 pages, no easy feat for an adult let alone a kid to get through.

Anyway the story is extremely interesting anc captures your attention thoroughly.

16 year old Evie has a secret, she has magic, when she touches an object she can read the history of that object and the person who wears it.

This gets her into terrible trouble in her home state of Ohio and as a punishment her parents ship her off to New York to live with her Uncle Will - Punishment, really ??

Anyway Evie meets her bestie Mabel, her uncles assistant Jericho who Mabel has a huge crush on and a pickpocket thief called Sam.

A bunch of murders start happening and her uncle will is called in to try and help solve them, he isnt a cop, no he is a professor and runs the museum of the occult.

All of the murders are a bit well magical and the cops cant figure out what is going on.

At a crime scene Evie accidentally touches an object on the dead person and so has to confess to her uncle what she can do, this leads her to helping him on the cases.

The story is well written, well played out and the character of Dirty John seriously gave me the creeps, he reminded me in a lot of ways of Freddy Krueger, not sure why, or that clown from Stephen Kings It. Just wrong and chilling to the bone.

Anyway as a 40 year old adult i loved it, and im sure many others will as well.

Fantastic book..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 21 Feb. 2015
Absolutely loved this book!
This was a Christmas present and it was one of my best gifts I received!

The characters are so memorable, and you can't help but fall in love with them. They all have wonderful back stories that added to the current events. There are many characters, which Libba Bray has skilfully woven together seamlessly, but one of my favourites has to be Memphis. He had a brilliant back story, that was so interesting, and I loved how though he was part of the story, he was quite separate from the main characters. It added to the main story as it really showed that it was a much bigger event that was happening. I also loved Theta, and I was terrified when I thought that she was going to die. My heart was pounding so hard and I kept whispering "NO, not her not her!" That is how powerful and life like the characters are.

The setting was A-MAZ-ING! It screamed New York 1920's so much that I honestly could go to NY now and be surprised that it doesn't look and feel like that any more. That is how real it felt to me. I really had no problem picturing everything that was described.

The 'baddie' Naughty John was beautifully scary. A few times I was reading this book until 3am etc, and quite a few times I was a little bit spooked! I also loved how he had his own theme tune, brilliant!

The only criticism I have, (and it is soooo small) is that the characters being 17/18, just didn't ring true to me. I pictured them more as 19 minimum, but more like early twenties. It felt to me that they just put the characters at that age so that they could market it towards younger readers. But in my opinion, the characters being that little older would not have put anyone off! Like I said, it is such a small point, and most of the time I could ignore this and picture them at the age I thought best!

I really recommend this book. The writing is beautiful and the story/setting are so engaging. I CANNOT wait until the next one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not as scary as I was expecting, 2 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Diviners: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
originally posted @ [...]

(read around Halloween time) Tis the season to s*** your pants.

Yeh?

Not this time. Not with this book.

I was disappointed because I’ve seen it knocking around, especially as the Halloween season approached, and I was ready to be freaked. But I felt nothing. Not even a shiver.

What wasn’t working for me?

Ouija – I wish we could ban ouija boards from books. Or at least, ban them from teen parties. It makes me sigh and then seriously consider dropping that book hard on its head. There must be some other way to have your character contact the spirit world other than cracking out the dusty plank of wood and pushing a glass around the alphabet.

Voice – well isn’t it just darling? Actually, I found it all too much. It was like listening to the American characters from Downton Abby… on speed. I found it tiresome. Not for me.

It’s all about the facts – I gotta say, Bray knows her s*** when it comes to this era. But all I needed was a beaded flapper dress and I would have been there. I was drowning in the detail! I get it. We’re in the 20s. *tick box*

Love triangle – this is flimsy at best. But it’s there. And I didn’t really ‘feel’ any of it. Sowwy.

Evie – Is a dolt. I wanted to like her, and she had some moments that made me get on her side, and then she’d do something stupid and we be back to square one again.

Horror? – I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t creeped out. I didn’t even go ‘euw’. *sigh* Maybe I’m a tough nut to crack..

What WAS working for me?

POV – This surprised me. Normally I will insta-hate anything that has multiple POVs going on, but actually, it really worked for me in this book. It gave me a break from Evie, and even though Naughty John was a bit of a ‘stock bad dude’ I enjoyed his parts the most!

Sam – I love his character. To be fair, I like Jericho too. But there is something more compelling about Sam. He has more *swoon* potential. Mmm hmm.

__

This isn’t my first outing with Bray’s writing, and ultimately I don’t think we’re a fit. Author-reader relationship is dysfunctional. And sometimes that happens. I always feel like there are moments where I’m being ‘talked at’ rather than being told a story. Like when you answer the door to some smiling zealots and they say nice things, start talking to you about stuff… and then suddenly you’re having a heated discourse about the coming day of judgement..

Shut the door.

Close the book.

Feel a little sad… And move on.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars because as much as I tried, I just wasn’t feeling it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A supernatural, super creepy read, 25 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Diviners: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
This review was originally posted on www.talesofyesterday.co.uk

This book was suggested to me by the wonderful author Keris Stainton and I kept putting the book off and off and off for quite a while as, if I'm honest, I was quite intimidated by the size of the book. At a huge almost 600 pages I kept picking the book up every time I was ready to start a new book, reading the blurb and then putting it back down thinking "It's to big to read now" or "Do I have enough time to read this book"?. I finally (after Keris prompting me when I posted a tweet on twitter - thanks Keris) thought lets do this! I'm so glad I did.

I have never read anything by the American author Libba Bray before although I had heard of her and have heard such wonderful things about her previous books including high praise for The Diviners. From what I have read about Libba she is the queen of historical fiction and in writing The Diviners decided to take on the 1920's New York Jazz Age with a fantastic supernatural twist which, for me, chilled me to the bone! As well as being intrigued by the whole historical side of the book, especially with it being set in the 1920's which I did not know much about, I love a creepy read and as I also heard that this book (s) had a US advance of $1 million I was expecting great, scary things. Just how scary and creepy I really was not prepared for!

The opening to this book, A Late Summers Evening, sets the 1920's scene at a party with a group of friends who decide to play with a Ouija Board (nothing good EVER comes from playing with a Ouija Board) and unknowingly they awake something dark and evil. This opening few pages, for me, where chilling and the beautifully crafted descriptions made my heart beat just that little bit faster! You can listen to the opening few pages told in 1920's style here.

The story centres around a seventeen year old girl called Evie who, after being shamefully banished by her parents for embarrassing the family name, goes to stay with her uncle Will in New York who seems to have a slightly unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie is over the moon as New York is THE place to be and is where her best friend Mabel lives and Evie intends to tear up the town. That is until the police find a murdered girl who has been marked with a cryptic symbol. Will is called to the scene and this is where Evie realises that she could help catch the killer as Evie has a secret which may prove helpful.

The book is broken up into named chapters and do not always focus on seventeen year old Evie. There is Sam the cheeky chappy pick pocket, Jericho the serious mysterious student, Mabel the shy best friend, Theta the beautiful talented flapper girl, Memphis the illegal number runner and of course a few dead bodies and a truly terrifying villain! All of these characters become intriguing throughout the book as stories unfold in a complex, twisting plot with a LOT of creepy and sometimes stomach churning moments (If you have read the book I will say the words cat and rabbit heart and hopefully you will know what I mean). Libba Bray really gives us an all round ensemble of characters and even throws in a bit of a love triangle amongst all of the creepy moments.

I have to admit I really struggled with the first quarter of this book (I would say around 80 pages). I found Evie such a selfish and beyond annoying character and I found myself getting frustrated. I found the detail and the narrative of the book a little over whelming and I struggled to get to grips with the what seemed like annoying one liners and slang I couldn't get my head around. As usual I turned to twitter!

Through posting on twitter I found a lot of people found the same with some people giving up on the book, but a lot of people telling me to stick it out you will love it. I rarely give up on a book. I put the book down for a few days and without really thinking about it started looking up clips and music from the 1920's to try and get my head around the language and the historical period as I thought maybe my lack of knowledge of this era was causing me to not like the book (if that makes any sense). I stumbled across a dedicated page set up for The Diviners - www.thedivinersseries.com . On here were clips of the book (as above) told in 1920's style narrative, 1920's music, character profiles for the book etc. It gave me a real sense of the era and for me as a reader struggling with a book it really helped. I picked the book up again and really got into it finding that I was reading the speech differently and actually realising that Evie was actually quite a bright and breezy character. I had a break through! But I almost put the book down again when Keris sent me this link for The Diviners Book Trailer ....If you scare easily do not click on the link! Well I didn't put the book down (yay) and I loved it.

For me the stand out character in the book was Memphis...I loved his character to pieces. He looks out for his little brother Issiah and try's his best to look after him. His whole presence in his scenes stole my heart and for me was the most relatable character. That being said, as mentioned above, all the characters were intriguing and Libba Bray offers us such detailed back grounds of the characters you really get to know them. The whole supernatural theme runs throughout the book with the perfect balance of good versus evil and an amazing climax at the end.

I found out before finishing the book that The Diviners is a four book series with the second book, Lair Of Dreams, due to be released on the 14th April 2014 in the U.K and the last 40 pages of the first book really set the scene for the next book and left a few burning questions in my mind. I really cannot wait for the second book and it is one that I am definitely excited to read next year.

If you like historical fiction, supernatural ghost stories, haunted houses, creepy things, murder and a bit of love this book is for you. I noticed a question on Libba Bray's website which made me chuckle. When asked what we, as the reader, can expect from The Diviners Libba simply answers NIGHTMARES!

For more book reviews please visit my website www.talesofyesterday.co.uk
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it fiercely and can't wait for the next book., 29 Aug. 2014
By 
Ginny (London, England) - See all my reviews
See my review of this book, and many more, at TalesfromtheGreatEastRoad.wordpress.com

It was only meant to be a harmless brag, a little showing off at a party after she had a few drinks too many. But when Evie O’Neill proves to everyone that she has a psychic power – the ability to see a person’s memories by holding an object of theirs – she lands in one hell of a mess. Accidentally accusing the son of a wealthy and powerful family of knocking up a maid means Evie better skip town for a while, until the heat dies down. She is thrilled when her parents suggests that she stay with her uncle Will in fabulous New York City, and just knows that this will be her chance to find her way to stardom. Even if it does mean working at Will’s freaky museum, dedicated to the Supernatural and the Occult.

But a string of ritualistic murders leaves the city in terror, the police ask Will to help and Evie is determined to tag along. With her and Jericho – Will’s quiet but strong assistant – to help, Evie knows that not only will they stop the killer, but that she is sure to end up on the front page. That’s if she can stay alive first…

I will confess that I haven’t read many fantasy or Young Adult books set in the 1920’s (in fact, none others come to mind), but after finishing The Diviners this is something I strive to change, in the hopes that they are as good as Libba Bray’s wonderful book. The Diviners is a somewhat deceptive book, in that it starts in a fairly mild manner: the focus is on Evie and her hopes and dreams as she moves to New York. We are shown the paranormal talent that Evie possesses in being able to read a person’s history from a beloved item as way of explanation as to what trouble she caused that ended up with her having to hide out in New York until things calmed down at home, but this is almost forgotten about in nearly the first half of the book. Never fear though, for instead we are treaded to the gilts and glamour of the Big Apple. The level of descriptions and detail in this book is amazing – clearly there has been a lot of research put into it – and I believe it all pays off big time. As the story progresses tension grows as a serial killer attacks taking pieces of his victims and leaving behind pieces of scriptures about ‘offerings’, the whole book becoming decidedly creepier and brilliantly scary. We also get glimpses of other people with talents similar to Evie’s, teasing hints of bigger things out there in the world of this story, which sadly won’t be further explored until the rest of the series.

The other great thing about The Diviners is the number of varied and complex character there are. No-one is 2D in this story, and some you might at first dismiss as ‘shallow’ or ‘ignorant’ but when you learn about their past, you see them in a whole new life, and can’t help but love them. One of the most moving back stories for me was that of Thata, who may seem a stereotypical flapper at first but who has a past so dark it’s like a punch to the gut to read (but then again, some of the best writing is like that). I also loved the budding romance between her and Memphis, which was just plain sweet. It is also a great example of a romance that has instant attraction and chemistry but is definitely not the dreaded intsa-love. Instead, it’s a slow but powerful burn that just makes you happy for both characters. Evie herself is testament to Libba Bray’s excellent writing. She starts off as a bit of a brat: she got into a lot of trouble by getting very drunk and showing of her special talent, but clearly hasn’t learnt her lesson as she continues to drink, and is always dying to be the centre of attention. But as we read, Evie grows, slowly but surely. We see her naivety as she is pick-pocketed virtually the moment she steps of the train into New York. We she her brave spirit as she confronts the thief a few days later. We see her kindness and love for her friends and her uncle as she adjusts to life in the city, helping to get her uncle’s museum more business (albeit in her own misguided way), tries to break her best friend Mabel out of her shell and out of her mother’s shadow, and adopts Thata into their friendship straight away. Evie reviles herself to be a much more complex character, and although we don’t get a full backstory from her, the pieces we see are just as heart-wrentching as all the others, and her need to be in the spotlight (her need to be loved) becomes clear. She is definitely a character that grows on you, without changing who she is.

My only (very minor) criticism of this book is that the narration has a tendency to jump from character to character within the same scene, sometimes even within the same paragraph. This can make it hard to keep track of who’s POV we are following. In particular it made Thata and Memphis’ first meeting a little confusing as the text refers to Thata by name but it’s only at the end of the scene Memphis actually learns her name.

Bottom line, I loved this book. And so begins the long arduous wait for the sequel.

5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 4 Oct. 2013
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Why did I take so long to read this?

Oh, Vanessa, you foolish girl. I remember reading this book on and off on my commute to university, and then for whatever reason, putting it down and picking it back up again at odd intervals. It's not that it wasn't holding my interest - simply put it down to me being very easily distracted.

Then I got back into reading it over my holidays and could not put it down. At all. Then after I got home, I put it down again and picked it back up only a few days ago.

The Diviners is an extremely well-researched historical fantasy novel, steeped in the supernatural and with a wonderful cast of characters. It's immensely enjoyable, well-written, and suspenseful.

The book begins in the roaring '20s, with Evangeline `Evie' O'Neill, being sent away from her boring hometown in Ohio to her uncle in New York, who curates the Museum of American Folklore, otherwise known as the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies, along with his assistant Jericho Jones. To Evie, this is her ticket to freedom, an excuse to party hard, and drink as much `giggle water' as possible.

It seems to me from reading reviews that Evie is either loved or loathed. She can't go half a sentence without flinging in some 1920s slang, and she can be rather ditzy and self-centred. However, she is also courageous, adorable, and hilarious to read. I mean, she sealed the deal for my favourite character spot the moment she kneed an overzealous admirer in the nuts with this exchange towards the beginning:

`"You can't blame a fella for kissing the prettiest girl in New York, can you, sister?" Sam's grin was anything but apologetic.

Evie brought her knee up quickly and decisively, and he dropped to the floor like a grain sack. "You can't blame a girl for her quick reflexes now, can you, pal?"'

No, no, don't worry - I don't base my judgements on whether or not a character is awesome because she can roundhouse kick a man into submission, but Evie's conduct just before is quite amusing, saying she's coming to New York to be a nun, getting more and more irritated with Sam's advances. She's also confident and charismatic, able to charm the socks off anyone she sees, like T.S. Woodhouse, the young journalist investigating the Pentacle Killings and receiving tips on the sly from her as she smirks and basks in the attention. What's this? A three-dimensional female character in a YA novel who doesn't turn to putty in the hands of love interest #1 or #2, who knows she's anything but plain and has her head seriously screwed on despite her public appearance as a featherbrained flapper? YES.

The main plot of The Diviners revolves around.... well, the Diviners. These are people with special psychic powers, who seem to have all gathered in New York. In fact, towards the end of the book, the main murder mystery takes a backseat, as clues are divulged more and more, leading to a rather satisfying ending with the promise of a brilliant sequel.

While it is satisfying in that regard, I had been following the Pentacle Killings. You know, Naughty John, the ghost who is ritually murdering people in exceedingly gruesome and terrifying ways? Who whistles and sings whilst he's hacking people to bits? (The multiple viewpoints angle this novel has is really quite good - I really loved getting to know certain characters, and the heightened sense of fear and panic that follows when you read them hearing that peculiar whistling or that singing. No! Not poor Ruta! Not poor little Tommy!)

It seems as if Bray became a little more interested in X (the storyline building up to the Diviners in the sequel) as opposed to Y (the Pentacle Killings, which I mention we have been following for the past 400 pages) towards the end of the novel.

The aforementioned scenario is very hastily resolved, with Evie and Jericho taking off for Naughty John's haunted house in New York and being split up, with Evie having to keep her wits about her despite her utter terror at the prospect of potentially being another one of Naughty John's victims. While I really did like the sense of fear seeping through the page, and was completely and utterly hooked... it kind of lost its steam when Evie was able to defeat him with - well, I don't wish to spoil it, but it didn't live up to expectation.

1920s New York is stunningly realised in The Diviners. Everything about New York here is written in the most immersive way possible - the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people walking around. It's not just some bland background the characters plod down as they go from one point to another, which I am extremely grateful for. That's true escapism there. If a book can provide such great entertainment by pulling me out of reality, then sign me up.

5/5.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Boisterous and vivid atmosphere of roaring 20s!, 20 Mar. 2013
Yet again I bow down before Libba Bray's enormous talent. I haven't read a single book of hers that would have left me disappointed, and I honestly don't think it's ever going to happen...

The Diviners starts a tad slow but soon enough you immerse yourself in an absolutely enchanting, boisterous and vivid atmosphere of roaring 20s.

The book starts with a combination of main characters living their separate lives: Evie, cheeky and bold 17-year old arrives to new York to live with her uncle, who owns the museum of Creepy Crawlies (or Folk Art and Superstitions); Sam, a young thief tries to save enough money to find his mother; Memphis supports his younger brother by running numbers for his clients; Theta and Henry live the fabulous artsy life of Ziegfried theatre pretending to be a brother and sister; and quiet and studious Jericho works for Evie's uncle, Will.

These young people don't realise that a supernatural storm is brewing, and the unique abilities they have is the only thing that can help them survive and save people they love. In that regard The Diviners is only the first act of the play which lays ground for the events that will be unfolding in the next book.

Evie's uncle starts helping New York's police with the investigation of gruesome occult murders, and the more he digs into it the clearer it becomes that if the murderer is not stopped in time, he'll bring on the Apocalypse.

Essentially it's the murderer who connects the young supernaturally talented people and forces them to work together, and the plot itself is intricate, complex and fascinating.

However, it's the atmosphere, the carefully researched spirit of time, the slang of young carefree generation that ultimately wins the reader over. It's gorgeous and and it brings 1920s alive before our eyes.

QUOTE: "What Evie needed was a little hair of the dog, but her parents had confiscated her hip flask. It was a swell flask, too--silver, with the initials of Charles Warren etched into it. Good old Charlie, the dear. She'd promised to be his girl. That lasted a week. Charlie was a darling, but also a thudding bore. His idea of petting was to place a hand stiffly on a girl's chest like a starched doily on some maiden aunt's side table while pecking, birdlike, at her mouth. Quelle tragédie." END QUOTE

QUOTE: "Theta crashed next to them on the thick zebra-skin rug. "I'm embalmed."

"Potted and splificated?"

"Ossified to the gills. Time for night-night." END QUOTE

QUOTE: "Hey," the cabbie yelled. "How's about a tip?"

"You bet-ski," Evie said, heading toward the old Victorian mansion, her long silk scarf trailing behind her. "Don't kiss strange men in Penn Station." END QUOTE

I'd better stop now, peeps. There are just too many wonderful things about this book which I want you to discover for yourself. So, borrow it from your library, buy it, depending on what you can afford (I know hardback price was a bit steep for me, so I've waited for my library to get it), but don't miss out on this book, because it's well worth your attention.
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4.0 out of 5 stars YA historical fantasy with all that jazz ..., 17 Mar. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
17-year-old Evie can discover a person's secrets just by holding an object that belongs to them. When she reveals something about the son of one of the town's finest families, her parents send her to her uncle Will in New York until the scandal passes. Evie's delighted - it's 1926 and New York is everything exciting and modern. She plans to become the toast of the city.

Sampling speakeasies and parties she and her best friend Mabel try to win over her uncle's assistant Jericho, who Mabel has a hopeless crush on and fend off Sam Lloyd, a conman and thief who thinks he's irresistible. They meet Theta, a dancer at the Ziegfield Follies and her song-writing brother, Henry, who are looking for a break to the big-time and who have secret abilities of their own. They take Evie and Mabel to Harlem where they meet Memphis, a numbers runner and poet who's coping with the loss of healing abilities that made him a local legend.

But something else is stirring in New York. Naughty John has woken and has a project to complete by the night Solomon's comet passes over Earth. Evie and her friends are the only people who can stop him ...

Libba Bray's novel, the first in a YA historical fantasy trilogy, is an epic story with an almost pitch-perfect period feel and some genuinely chilling moments. However the large cast makes for a lot of build-up and world building, which in turn slows the plot and results in a rushed ending that didn't quite satisfy but gives a great set-up for the remaining books.

I loved Evie's speech patterns and her can-do, ambition and occasional vulnerability. She knows she's unthinking of others including her friend Mabel who lacks her courage and willingness to go for what she wants but who calls Evie on her selfishness. There's an inevitable love triangle, but Jericho's an interesting character in his own right with a fascinating secret that I look forward to seeing developed.

Memphis, Theta, Henry and Sam have more side role in this book, but Bray is careful to show their set-up and I look forward to reading more. Although Bray handles the different threads well, the sheer number inevitably affects the pacing while the development of the Naughty John story lacked momentum and had a rushed ending. Nevertheless, I'll definitely be reading on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime and seriously recommended, 1 Jan. 2013
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Rachel "rachel337" (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a real find and I am delighted that it is the start of a series. This is a world I want to visit again, with rich characters, thrills, scares and a historically intriguing setting. A big, meaty and satisfying horror/thriller that is equally engaging to adults and mature young adults alike, this is a book that will stay with me.

It is the 1920's and the world is poised on the edge of the fastest evolution in lifestyle and values that it has ever known. Prohibition, emancipation of women, social redefinition, war- all bubble under the surface of this exciting historical delight. It is the rich sense of place and time, the quality of writing and plot that lifts this and distinguishes it in a crowded market of similar thematic fare.

Evie O'Neil is a possessor of psychometric powers (she can 'read' objects by touching them and knows things about the owners). Struggling to be at once 'thoroughly modern' and also socially competent, Evie is a very modern girl in a world that has yet to catch up. She enjoys a drink and like many young people experimenting with freedom, goes too far and says too much when using her talent at a party.

Sent in disgrace away from the provincial hometown she has grown up in to be 'sorted out' by her uncle in New York, Evie finds her niche. She is suddenly in a town that feels like home- with people as vibrant and alive as she is. What was to be a punishment instead sets her free. It all goes so well- until a serial killer with dark powers crosses her path.

And here is where the novel really hits its stride- a well plotted, intricate mystery and investigation; beautiful writing; some genuinely creepy and sometimes outright scary set pieces and a sense of breathless possibility- for good and evil threads through every page of the book. The cherry on top is the wonderful, well drawn characters; Evie in particular; sparky, spiky, vulnerable, brave and complex. These were people I cared about, in a setting I found deeply fascinating. I loved every moment of this and can't wait to read the next one. Seriously recommended for all lovers of the horror genre, young and old. Perfect for gothlings to cut their teeth on; equally appealing to those of us already well entrenched in the genre.
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The Diviners: Number 1 in series
The Diviners: Number 1 in series by Libba Bray (Paperback - 18 Sept. 2012)
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