I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and a generously satisfactory New Years.
Mine was great, thanks for asking.
So today I wanted to talk about a book I read very recently.
The Diviners is a young adult-historical fiction-romance-thriller-supernatural-horror set in America in the 1920s. New York is a bustling hive of excess. The newly rich and the young and beautiful are paving the way to a better, brighter future. Skyscrapers are climbing higher and Wall Street is booming louder than ever before. The morals are looser, the liquor is cheaper. Every girl dreams of moving to the Big Apple and becoming a famous flapper like one of the Ziegfeld girls.
Evie O’Neill is no exception. After accidental social suicide in her small Ohio town she is more than happy to pack her bags and move to New York to stay with her uncle as ‘punishment’.
Sadly for Evie she has unknowingly entered a dark world of diviners and death. With the clock ticking will she be able to use her own gifts to save New York from Naughty John?
This book was excellent. Like really good. Like so good that I would book-push it onto my friends (which I have already begun doing). There are actually so many great things about this book that I think the only way i’ll be able to express its greatness is through talking about individual great bits.
Libba Bray is some sort of character arc goddess (yes, that is a thing). All of the characters in The Diviners were individual, genuinely interesting and realistic (bar some superpowers here and there). There were so many good ones that it would take me forever to talk about them all so i’ll just focus on our protagonist, Evie. She had all of the usual characteristics that YA female leads offer but she was given them in a tasteful and addictive way that never felt annoying or ridiculous. I actually enjoyed her selfish side because it made her seem more human and her sass and personality were hilarious. I think her attitude towards her role in the investigations was very head-on and sensible. She never listened when she was told no and she proved herself as a valuable member of the team in a group of men at a time of suffocating sexism. Yay to feminism!
This has to be one of the most technically accurate historical fiction books I’ve ever read, why you ask? Because of the language. Every sentence, every joke or proclamation was sprinkled with a dash of 20s slang. From ‘Jake’ to ‘Swell’ the dialogue in this book completely transported me to society in the 20s. It is truly a testament to Bray’s research and skill at the craft.
The Scare Factor
Ok, one thing I will say about this book is that it is not for the easily frightened. Never, in all the books I have read have I been genuinely terrified of words on a page. Through Naughty John’s atrocities and the murders that ensued Bray scared me to almost death. And I loved it! I believe it is one of the most impressive things when an author can get an emotion as deep as fear out of their reader simply with the words they choose. Bravo Bray!
The Diviners truly was a phenomenal story that taught me about history, black culture, sexuality and women’s roles in society in the past. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars. Please read it!
Here is how I pictured Naughty John in my head who btw has actually given me nightmares?!? (I’m so terrified of going to bed)
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth