THE DIVINERS (The Diviners: #1) Written by Libba Bray (Narrated by January LaVoy)
2012; 592 Pages (18 Hours and 14 Minutes)
Genre: young adult, paranormal, historical, mystery, suspense
Last month for one of my reading groups we had the theme of Young Adult for September being all about back to school. We had a poll and The Divinersby Libba Bray was chosen. This is book one in the series by the same name. Set in 1926 – post WWI and during the Prohibition – young Evie O’Neil is rebelling too much for her parents and is sent to stay with her maternal uncle in New York City. Evie is excited to leave her boring old hometown where memories of her late brother seem to be everywhere. Also, in New York is her friend, Mabel Rose a good girl with intellectual parents who are always off protesting for a cause. Her Uncle Will, or Unc as Evie calls him, is hoping that Mabel and his assistant Jericho will keep his niece grounded and out of trouble. It doesn’t look good when she meet a con named, Sam Lloyd and another odd character, Memphis Campbell. She also become friends with Theta Knight, a Zeigfeild Girl, and her friend Henry.
Will is the curator of an Occult Museum and and expert in the occult so he is called to help the police with a murder scene with cryptic occult stuff. Evie is scared her uncle will figure out she has a secret that has to do with a special gift, but can’t help use it to help catch a serial killer. As the case affects all the characters they discover they are not the only ones with a secret…nor that something evil has awakened.
This is one novel I would recommend to adults who love young adult books. It has everything one looks for in a good story – a bit like Deborah Harkness’ The Discovery of Witches – and I really enjoyed the historical and paranormal elements. The actual case is a bit like a B-movie or radio drama from the 30s and 40s but it really fit the book and the period. While I found it silly at times I also thought it was perfect for how Bray writes this novel. The dark is balanced with humour and young adult chatter. As well as this book is written and feels like it’s written for adults when it comes to love and romance you remember they are just young people. There is nothing really explicit in this novel but with the dark theme I would say this book is for 15+. This is a perfect “mom-daughter” novel to read together. I cannot say too much without revealing spoilers but I really recommend you try it.
I listened to this novel on audio – read by January LaVoy – and found she did an awesome job in giving each character a distinct voice and even the era. You can listen to an sample on Goodreads.