Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 18, 2012
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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-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
Libba Bray has written one of my favorite kinds of historical fiction books: those that are really an experience to read, the ones that really transport you to the time period in which they're set. It's easy to remove computers and iPhones from your pot and say it's set in a certain year, but Libba Bray's really gone all out and put her entire story in 1926 from the characters, to their surroundings, their phrasing, their actions and reactions. From page one, you're right there with them.
Until we're able to travel back in time and really experience different time periods, books like Bray's The Diviners are the next best thing.
As much as I adore the time period and how fully it's implemented, I did still have some trouble getting into The Diviners. There are a lot -- a lot -- of characters introduced in the beginning of the novel. Each with their own story line, most separate from that of the other characters, too.
Once the characters stories started overlapping a bit more and we got more into the action of the story, it worked better for me. I wouldn't take away the introductions, especially knowing that this is a series, they were just slow going for me.
Something did keep the characters' stories and the central plot from completely clicking and being truly amazing for me. I'm not sure if it was that it initially didn't click and so I read the book slower (and not in one go). Which could have lead to a cyclical problem of it not clicking because I wasn't reading it continually but not reading it continually because it wasn't clicking . . . Or if there was just something not there that would have made it click for me.
That said, I still had a great time with this book. The characters were something great -- from Evie who is one of those characters that you want to be real even (especially?) if it means knowing her now as an old woman, to the guys she encounters and her uncle -- and the plot was very inventive. This is actually one book I'm giving as a Christmas gift this year!
I can't wait to see where the second book in this series takes the characters and the story after The Diviners' great ending.
thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for my egalley for review