The Diviners by Libbra Bray
Published: September 18th 2012
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-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Libbray Bray has such a knack for crafting fantastical YA worlds. I was hooked on her work after reading A Great and Terrible Beauty (another book I insist you read.)
I read this book every Halloween. It doesn’t ‘exactly’ have Halloween elements to it, but it is deliciously spooky. The supernatural elements are top notch, every Halloween buff will be thrilled.
Our main character Evie is a bit of a trouble-maker. She’s a young flapper with a peculiar ability to read the history of an object. She is interesting and flawed, but still very likeable. This adds humanity and humility to the story, which helps push it forward seamlessly. I really enjoyed Libba Bray’s writing style, where she would switch over and follow a character other than Evie for a while so we get a larger story.
The plot was wonderfully creepy. There is a wonderful ghost story, seriously guys — it’s good. Naughty John is so evil, with a name like that how could he be anything but?. I really enjoyed all of the supernatural aspects of this book and can’t wait to see how some of them develop. I love the inclusion of spirit boards. I have always been intrigued and terrified of the potential power they hold.
As I mentioned above, I also really enjoyed the 1920’s setting. I enjoyed the inclusion of historical events like prohibition and particularly the author’s use of period slang. It made me want to be a flapper. This may give you some ideas for Halloween costumes too!
“The line between faith and fanaticism is a constantly shifting one,’ Dr Poblocki said. “When does belief become justification? When does right become rationale and crusade become crime?”