Review: The Diviners

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.

My review

Author: Libba Bray
Publication Date: September 18 2012
Pages: 578
Source: Library

I can't tell you how I finished The Diviners. I really can't. The story was lukewarm for me, and it felt like it was dragging on and on and on. The overall premise was interesting to me, but there is building up tension slowly, and then there is the snail's pace that was The Diviners.

The pace was terrible. It was so slow, and full of completely unnecessary details. Some character development, or world explanations are necessary for fantasy/urban fantasy, and I'm generally very open to a little more detail. The Diviners, however, had too many completely irrelevant, meaningless plots. I was curious, and I felt persistent so I finished. But, I feel like a good 100 or so pages could have been cut and the story would not have suffered at all.

Because nothing happens.

Or, excuse me, very little happens.

This is the part that disappointed me the most. The Diviners is building up several storylines when there is only one that really matters to this book. It's annoying because I was expecting everything to get to a point where a singular story could begin to unravel, and that didn't happen. We don't need to know the perspectives of many of the characters in The Diviners because they are utterly irrelevant to the climax, or the resolution. In fact, it feels like some characters are introduced ,and we are told they will be important and have to make tough choices, and then nothing happens. Their individual plotlines lack the direction to make up a contemporary, so there ends up being endless prattle about characters that do. not. matter.

Evie is the only character that really necessitates a POV. Multiple POVs are used when explaining intricate storylines that have many moving parts. This was not an intricate storyline. At least, not yet. Indubitably, Libba Bray plans to get to that point. But, until she gets to that point where all the characters actually matter to the overall plot, the reader does not need to know so much about these characters.

I think that's what disappointed me most about The Diviners: the promise, and then the failed execution. I loved reading about the flappers and the historical aspect of the story. I loved the language that was used to convey the era, and the attitude of the era in New York City. Everything was glittering and bright. There was oppression, and repression. There was the fear of the Bolsheviks. There was hope in the future fuelled by the marvellous advances of industry. I've read a few books about the 20s and Bray's has my favourite depiction thus far.

I guess my hope for the rest of The Diviners, which I may or may not read, is that Libba Bray starts the action and cuts out the preamble. I want to see stuff happening, and I want there to be much better pace. The book needs more purpose, and some more creativity when it comes to the story. The evil ghost plot was not the most exciting, to be very honest. I know all about ghost stories. I've watched 10 seasons of Supernatural, in addition to devouring most paranormal reads.The murders were gruesome, but I never felt scared because it was such overkill. For me, I think the fear of the unknown is the scariest part of a ghost story, and so the murder scenes bits took away some excitement because I was waiting for Evie to catch up.

Due to most of the characters' utter irrelevance in the overall storyline of The Diviners, I couldn't really care much about them either. They have potential, I guess.

Tldr: the pacing killed this story, even though it has promise.



  1. Aw man :/ After reading the synopsis I thought this sounded quite good but now I'm definitely not going to pick it up. I HATE it when you think a book is going to be good and then absolutely nothing happens. I have a similar feeling towards How To Be Both by Ali Smith which I just read. Though I gave it a slightly more positive review ;p Hope your next read is more interesting!

    Laura @ What's Hot?

    1. Haha, I think it's a common pet peeve. I don't know, a lot of people liked this book, but I felt like the overall storyline moved along so slowly and that irked me. :p



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