Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones." 

The Diviners is the first book I've read by Libba Bray but I can assure you it wont be the last. Before we go any further I should probably tell you that the 1920's has to be one of my favourite era's,  the Flappers, prohibition it just makes the perfect setting in my mind so the second I heard about this book I new I would love it and now onto why I loved it so.

Evie O'Neil is rebel, she is sent from Ohio to New York as punishment for what her parents and the townsfolk deem the slander of their Angel boy. Evie is sent to live with her Uncle Will who is the curator of the museum of American Folklore aka the museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie can't wait to get to New York and escape the oppression of her parents and be free the lead the glamorous life she believes she was born to lead. Along the way Evie meets some interesting characters and as we gleam throughout the book they all have something special about them including Evie herself, she is able to see the history of an object and the person who owns it.

This book isn't just a paranormal book its also a murder mystery and what a book it is. Let me say I've never been scared before by a fictional murderer but this one really creeped me out. Sitting in bed at 2 o'clock in the morning and reading the ending to this story, every little sound in my house sounded like Naughty Johns whispers to me and it definitely had me spooked.

Libba Bray is an expert in character development, there are very few young adult books out there that manage to create such well rounded characters and develop their interactions as well as Bray does. Evie's interactions with her friends and love interest are believable, especially with her love interest (who I'm not going to name), their relationship is slow burning and even at the end you can tell they have a long way to go, its how real relationships work. Can I just say how much I loved Evie, she was fun, flirty and a hell of a rebellion, she came to New York to have fun and have amazing adventures and she is going to do everything she can to make sure that happens. She isn't afraid to be seen and heard and in fact goes out of her way most of the time to make sure people do notice her. I wouldn't mind having a little bit of Evie in me.

The book isn't entirely from Evie's point of view, we do manage to get small glimpses into the other characters minds and I thought that this was handled wonderfully, each character has their own distinct voice that it isn't hard to work out who is talking. I liked how not everyone's chapters was necessarily about Naughty John, their were a lot of clues setting up the next book and a lot of hints as to who the Diviners actually are and what they are capable of. Plenty of story lines left unfinished which can sometimes be infuriating (and to be honest was a little for me, I normally like a conclusion to novels) but I suppose it leaves many avenues to explore in the next book.

My only negative about this book would be its slow start, it does take the first 100 pages of so to really get into it, but once you past that its one of the easiest books to read and not because the writing was simple but because the writing flowed so beautifully and the story was fast paced,I was completely hooked, each chapter left my in suspense and most of the time I couldn't put it down, 600 pages seemed like a breeze.

Overall the Diviners manages to mix historical fiction with paranormal fantasy, it has such a magical quality to it you wont want to miss out. A book that will creep you out and immerse you into New York in the 1920's so much so you won't want to leave.

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