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The Diviners by Libba Bray

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Pages (format): 578 (hardback)
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
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”.

Well, well, well… I’ll simple put it out there and be done with it: this book disappointed me. There, I said it and you don’t even know how hard it is for me to say this. I remember buying this book last year (yes, last year!) but instead of picking it up I wanted to wait. I don’t know if my opinion or my reading experience with this one would have changed if I had read it when I bought it but know we will never know, sadly.

I was trying to write a coherent review when I just realized it was gonna be impossible. So, instead I’m gonna make a “list”, to try and explain all the things I liked and disliked about The Diviners and at the same time, making sense. I had a few problems with the book that I’m gonna talk about first and then, I would tell you what I liked. I hope this turns out well at the end. 

The pace. The story was incredibly slow, I mean, boring slow. I was not expecting that and it affected my reading. I was reading and hoping that things could have happened faster. This is a chunk of a book, okay? Almost 600 pages and one might think more action would happen but it didn’t. There was action but not really related to the case. I don’t even know how to explain myself (I told you I had troubles trying to write this review). A lot of stuff was, at least for me, unnecessary. But oh, well it also true this is the first book in a trilogy so I assume there was a lot of stuff that obviously didn’t make sense because is probably gonna be related to the next book. At least I hope.

The book started alright. It actually caught my attention from page/chapter 1 and I kept reading and reading but then, I got to page 150 more or less and the whole story started to get boring, a lot boring I mean, and it lasted until page 400 and something. You might guess what I’m trying to say here because it is related to the pace. You can’t have a mystery book with paranormal aspects within it and let the story get boring in the middle. It’s like screaming for disappointment! Anyhow, the ending was okay, a bit rushed taking into account the slowness of the whole book but alright nonetheless. 

Another problem I had was the main character, Evie. She, as the story, started being great. You know, we have this sassy and witty female character that is misunderstood by a lot of people, including her family, because she is a wild animal, we can say. She has one hidden talent: she can read and see people’s thoughts/experiences by just touching something of theirs. Because of that, she is sent to New York to live with her Uncle Will. As I said, I liked her but then the serial killer strikes and she instead of, you know, being careful goes out and has fun with no worries at all. I mean, girl, you’ve seen firsthand what this psychopath can do and you don’t even take caution? Are you stupid? Please, I was just asking for a bit of common judgment here. Nothing more. But then again, in the end, she proves herself and she showed me that she had a brain she could use. Regarding the other characters, besides from Jericho and Theta (and Henry sometimes), I didn’t really care about them. What was wrong with me? I just could have read the entire book erasing the other characters, to be honest and I’m not afraid to tell LOL

Now I’m gonna talk about Naughty John, our serial killer. He was the main reason for buying this book in the first place. I heard a booktuber talking wonders of it and saying that the reader was gonna read from his point of view. Maybe I was the one who just made it up in my head but I understood that we were gonna know what was inside the psychopath mind. Apparently, not. We do get to read, as an external reader I mean, what is happening with him and who is he killing but we don’t know what is he thinking, as I thought I would and that disappointed me as well. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t eerie and disturbing and the way he kills is horrible and pretty much disgusting but I hoped to get inside his mind, so there’s that.

Rereading what I just read it seems that all I have to say is negative. No, don’t worry. I loved the background to the story and learning more about the 20s because is one of my favourite time periods, especially the clothes and the music and the secrecy of it all. It’s true I had to get used to the way the dialogues were written because Libba Bray used slang from that time and I’m not used to that, none a bit but after a while I had no problems with it. This takes us to the writing style, I thought it was beautiful. Even though the story was boring the writing style was still beautiful and I think is one of the reasons why I kept reading. That, and knowing if they were ever gonna find out who was behind the killings. Because that’s the thing, we know but they don’t. And as I said before, I liked the ending which is another positive thing because I’ll probably read the next book and see if all the stuff that didn’t make sense during this book would have an answer in the second one. Oh, and I forgot to say that there is almost no romance in this one which was another positive thing for me. It was not focused on that and I really appreciated.

To sum it all up I have to say The Diviners disappointed me and maybe it was my own fault for having loads of expectations that were not meet. I do think as well I was not in the mood for this one, don’t know why though since I’ve been dying to read it for such a long time but then again, maybe that was the problem. Never mind, I would read the second one once it comes out and decide if the trilogy was worth reading or not. Sorry for the longest review ever but I just didn’t know how to write everything I wanted to say without writing a Bible LOL.

My Rating:

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Or not? Are you planning on reading it?


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