The Diviners | Book Review

Serena Bosco, Reporter

The Diviners, by Libba Bray, is a fictional four book series which takes place in 1920’s New York. It revolves around Evie O’Neill, Sam Loyd, Theta Knight, Memphis Campbell, Henry Du Bois, Jericho Jones, and Mable Rose, all of which find themselves dealing with supernatural events related to the Museum of The Occult and Supernatural, owned by Evie’s uncle. In the first book, Evie, Sam, Theta, Henry and Memphis each learn to live with their recently discovered special abilities, struggling to suppress them and to regain a sense of the person they once were, all while a series of bizarre murders are the talk of New York. However, as the characters get closer to the answers they need, more mysteries pop up, leaving them, as well as the readers, with a lot of unanswered questions.

The first book takes its time to construct a setting, putting enough care into the worldbuilding that the reader will soon feel familiar with it. This allows the second book to delve straight into the action, immersing you in its compelling mix of supernatural, suspense, adventure, mystery, and a bit of horror, with which the first book left off.

Once the action does begin, you will find yourself unable to take your eyes away, as the connections between all the character’s stories slowly weave together. The plot leaves you hungry for more, and the climax does a very good job in not disappointing — which seemed likely given the feverish build up — as well as leaving just the right number of things left unanswered, as a background for the second book. The sequel satisfies questions and develops relationships that were put on hold in the first book, or that had been left behind as the plot intensified.

A puzzle begins to click into place in front of your eyes, one piece at a time, as every point of view contributes a new perspective, allowing the reader to actively participate in the mystery. And, as seemingly unnecessary details turn out to be at the center of the action, the pacing of the book allows the shock or dawning realization to hit both reader and character at the same time.

The characters are very well rounded and each have their own unique individuality, which matches well with that of the other characters when friendships begin to develop. Their backgrounds, as well as being interesting, reveal themselves to be deliciously dark. The characters all go through an arch, and in some way, undergo a change — some for the better, some for the worse — so that they seem to grow and develop on their own, resulting in a cast that is anything but flat. The dialogue between the characters is quick and rich in 1920’s slang, which adds an amusing quality to the book.

The events which unfold during the course of the two books are themselves very intriguing, and not only the supernatural events. The book takes advantage of its setting and delves into some historical matters such as the prohibition and the Chinese Exclusion Act. As well as bringing to life the Roaring Twenties, when dance marathons and Rudolph Valentino films began to explore the glamour, which itself was a mask to conceal the darker, sadder problems and conflicts of the age. If you like a compelling page-turner, sharp-witted characters, and creepy cliffhangers, you’ll like the Diviners series.