Publisher: Allen & Uwin
Release Date: November 2012
Series: The Diviners #1
Genres: Historical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Paranormal, Young Adult
1920s New York. A teen clairvoyant. An old evil.
It has begun…
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old home town and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City – and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled! New York is the city of speak-easies, rent parties, shopping and movie palaces, and soon enough Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that 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 it. Even Evie’s new pals – hoofers, numbers runners and activists, but all swell kids – are drawn into 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…
Historical novels are a passion of mine. I love the past, it’s really interesting to see where society has come from and how the ideals have changed over time. However, I usually stick to pre-1900’s stuff. Once or twice I’ve read books set in World War II, sometimes World War I, but never the 1920’s until now. THE DIVINERS was a fantastic, fun, and hilarious introduction that not only revealed the segregation and issues of society at the time, but managed to have an intriguing plot embedded in it that really creeped me out. I was scared to sleep after I read the first murder. Bloody ghosts.
The world of THE DIVINERS is fantastic. A great cast of characters are present, each a complete individual with their own problems and nuances. Evie, our main character, is a loud, selfish, attention seeking party girl. From the sounds of things, I wouldn’t like her. Yet I love her. She’s fantastic and smart and funny. The events in THE DIVINERS and her relationships with others are really starting to shape her. She’s growing up. Other characters (there’s so many I could mention) haven’t had as great a life as Evie have (there are some incredibly harsh pasts among them), and are already very mature and wise. They are still experiencing hardships, many have to keep secrets from society, and sometimes it breaks your heart.
Writing wise, THE DIVINERS is… I don’t know how to explain it. The 20s slang is hilarious. So much fun to read. I loved it. But there was so much more to the writing than just the slang. Some of the thoughts expressed by characters were just so accurate I couldn’t help but stop and gape at the truthfulness of the statement. And then there were some of the descriptions that just left me gobsmacked. Like this one which ended one of the murder scenes, I believe:
And as the walls began to whisper, he lost his footing on the precipice of reason and began the terrible fall into a hell beyond imagination.
Overall, the plot was great. Slightly predictable because we knew who the killer was from the beginning (at least I did), yet still very entertaining. The mystery plot is only one of many entwining strings that make up THE DIVINERS. There’s a wide range of things going on, and I don’t know the meaning of half of them. We get shown a lot, and there’s no explanation. Which is good because we don’t want to be told everything, and bad because I want to know what it all means!
The reason I’m giving this three stars instead of four is because a) it was sort of slow. Not unbearably slow, just there could have been more action and dark scenes. And b) I feel like this book is only the beginning of something great. At the end, there are so many little clues drops and I have no idea how they connect. I just sense they will combine into something bigger, better, and more amazing than any story I could possibly imagine. I cannot wait for the opportunity to discover exactly what this mysterious story ends up being. All I know is it’s going to be great, and I will be very disappointed if it’s not.