My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
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.

Wow!  I just finished listening to this book as an audio book and I was blown away by the historical details, characters, and creepy story in this book.

What I Liked:
The novel is set in the Roaring 20's, and it is filled with wonderful details of this era.  The slang ("It was swell-ski"), the fashion, even the haircuts were essential details that brought this time to life.

The Characters:
The author, Libba Bray, found a way to show a variety of people in New York City, including African-Americans, Polish immigrants, and spoiled Midwestern teens.  Each character comes from a different backgroundAs their individual stories are told, they intersect with the other characters (which I found thrilling as a reader).  I loved Theta, the jaded Ziegfeld girl with her secrets, Memphis, the African-American teen who is trying to protect his family, and Evie, the flapper who wants all the excitement Manhattan can offer.

The Story:
I also loved how complicated the central mystery was.   This is not actually a whodunit.  We know who is killing people.  What we don't know is why, or howIt takes Evie and Will a long time to unravel what is happening, and they needed to explore many groups of people to do this.  This gave the author the perfect opportunity to bring in religious fanatics, unscrupulous reporters, thrill-seeking party-goers, and older adults who can't understand the restlessness of youth.

What I Didn't Like:
Teaser Ending:
Listening to the audio book, I was surprised to see that after the main event of the book was resolved, there was still an hour left to the book!  Why?  How could the wind down take so long?  As I listened, it became clear:  this was all a set up for a second book.

While I am a fan of book series, I also don't like to be strung along.  This book could have should have ended earlier.  But the author just had to throw in several unresolved plot points to ensure her readers would want to come back for more.  This was completely unnecessary, as all of this could be introduced at the beginning of book two.  They will need to be retold in book two anyway for those who have not read the first book, and for those of us who won't remember everything that was thrown at us in the last chapters.  For this reason, I am taking 1/2 a star off my rating.


Release Date:  September 18th, 2012

Genre:  YA Horror Historical Fiction!

Source:  Public Library
Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  A wild, creepy ride back to the Roaring 20's.  If you ever wondered what your great-grandmother might have been like as a teen, this book should help you feel that world.
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