The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray
Narrator: January LaVoy
Series: The Diviners #1
Published by Listening Library
Published on 18 September 2012
Genres: 20th Century, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 578
Format: Audiobook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $15.99
5 Stars

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED. . . .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 her uncle will 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 is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. . . .

Includes an Introduction Read by Libba Bray

The Diviners is a beautifully written tale of 1920s New York and the mysterious gifted people, the Diviners, who inhabit it, when, unknowingly, they stumble across a serial killer leaving behind clues that link the killing spree to the Occult.

Evie O’Neill, from Ohio, is an attention-seeking, hard-drinking, party-loving flapper who is shipped off to New York to avoid the wrath of a man she has accused of a scandal. Little does anyone know, Evie’s boasting about her ability to tell the secrets of anyone just by holding one of their objects is not just a party trick but actually true: she’s a diviner, and her untested power could come in handy if her Uncle Will, the proprietor of the Museum of the ‘Creepy Crawlies’, ever lets her be part of the investigation on this unknown serial killer. Evie lives with her Uncle and his ward, a mysterious boy named Jericho who is also harbouring secrets, and they are joined along the way by a diverse and interesting cast of characters all running from their own demons and finding solace in the bright lights of New York City.

When I first attempted to listen to the Diviners, I just wasn’t ready. It was about three years ago, and I don’t know if it was the style, the length, or the subject, but it couldn’t hold my attention. When I finally tried again this year, I found Evie’s voice charming and her character three-dimensional and far more interesting than I had first thought – for example, Evie has no qualms about lying and loves to be in the spotlight, which is pretty dissimilar to your typical YA heroine. I also found the other characters all had their positive and negative aspects, which resulted in them being well-rounded and motivated by their own desires. I also found the plot engaging and a little scary, and although some people might find it ‘slow’ in some places, I thought the pacing was absolutely fine and I enjoyed all the tangents that seemingly didn’t have much action only to give the end result that it did.

I get the feeling that Bray must have done a ton of research on 1920s New York, and I actually got a bit of a shock when I read another review that said the lingo was too strange, unfamiliar, and distracting: turns out 1920s lingo is pretty common in my ends of the Middle of Nowhere, Australia, and I can’t quite imagine how that is, but I heard a lot of terms that reminded me of my childhood. The worldbuilding was intense and immersive, and I loved listening to the aspects of the culture, fashion, and language of the time and place. I also enjoyed being read to by January LaVoy who was talented at expressing the emotions and dramatics of an attention-loving 17 year old flapper.

So overall: the writing was strong, the worldbuilding engrossing, the characters, while not always ‘likeable’, were enjoyable to read about, the plot was chilling and engaging, and I’d really like to listen to the second audiobook.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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