Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Atom Books
Summary: 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. (Via Goodreads.)
I had heard a lot about The Diviners via booktube, book blogs etc before I picked it up and people had given it very positive reviews so I had very high expectations and they weren’t exactly met. I did like this book but it took me a long time time to like it! Like, I was beyond four hundred pages before I thought “hey I might pick up the sequel” and there were a lot of reasons for this, the main one for me was the pacing.
The pacing of this book was so goddamn slow! I understand the reasons for this; it’s a historical supernatural book, world building takes time but it was over a hundred pages of world building before we got any sort of action so which made me slightly cold to the book! And even when the plot got going it still felt a bit too slow for me. This is one of the few books that I think could have benefited from a few less pages if only to encourage the author to speed up a little.
The characters too held a few problems for me. There were none that particularly appealed to me, which is rare for me, I usually find a favourite and cherish them forever but it was difficult in this book. Evie, the main character, was selfish, annoying and a bit, just as she says, “Too much” and the book was almost finished before she showed any bit of vulnerability which was when I actually started to have some warm feelings for her. The same applied to Jericho, to Theta, to Will and then some characters I had no feelings for whatsoever like Henry and some I just outright hated like Sam Lloyd – and did anyone else have trouble picturing Sam was a 17 year old? No matter how many times I tried I couldn’t stop seeing him as middle-aged! Another issue with the characters I had was Naughty John – I can’t take a villain seriously if his name is Naughty John. I’m sorry. I just can’t.
But it wasn’t all bad. The story really picked up in the last two hundred pages and then I really started to enjoy it, and I started to relate to the characters and want good things for them and it made me want to pick up the sequel.
I think the main issue I had with The Diviners was that there was so much going on, so many characters, so many sub and side plots that it made it very dense but I think Bray did this because they will all be relevant to the sequel Lair of Dreams and everything will come together. To me, Diviners is very much a building book, you need to read it for the second one, more than for itself but I still think it was good, slow, but good and I do think Lair of Dreams will be much, much better and I have high hopes for it.