Book Review: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Release date: September 18, 2012

Rating: 5 stars – LOVED IT TO PIECES!

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Do you believe there are ghosts and demonds and Diviners among us?

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. — Goodreads


I literally just finished reading this book about an hour ago. It was POS-IT-TUTE-LY brilliant! I enjoyed every single minute of it as I was thrust into a world full of ghosts, demons, and Diviners. What is a Diviner, you may ask. Here is a direct quotation from the book:

We are the Diviners. We have been and we will be. It is a power that comes from the great energy of the land and its people, a realm shared for a spell, for as long as is needed. We see the dead. We speak to restless spirits. We walk in dreams. We read meaning from every held things. The future unfolds for us like the navigator’s map, showing seas we have yet to travel.

Evie is a Diviner, she has the power to read an object, gathering information about its owner. Evie believes that she is alone with her gifts, but as the story unfolds we discover that the people she’s met in New York – her close friends – also are Diviners. Though, unlike Evie, they do not know what they are. All they know is that they can do incredible things like walk through dreams, see the dead, and prophesy.

Amidst the mystery of their gift there is an evil awakened, stalking the streets of New York. There is a murderer, who seems to be committing his killings as part of an occult ritual. The religion is like a perversion of the Christian bible. They speak of a the Beast and how he shall rise again after the eleven offerings are served. That is the murderer’s intent, while Evie, Will, Jericho, and Sam (yes, him too, even if he didn’t go on some of their more important and dangerous adventures!) try to find out who the murderer is.

Being a Christian I found the perversion of the Bible a bit…uncomfortable. I just couldn’t believe that people would outright believe in the Rising of the Beast because it was what God commanded.

One of my favorite things about this book was the fresh characters and riveting era. Just by reading I knew that Libba Bray went through a lot of trouble with research. It stayed true to the time period and it was thoroughly enjoyable and captivating because of her hard work. I imagined myself walking the streets of NYC with Evie, Mabel, and Theta as they went to the theater or one of the speakeasies. I loved it so much that one night I couldn’t even put the book down because it was SO GOOD. I kid you not. I had to get up at 7 am the next morning, but I just couldn’t stop reading. I ended up going to bed at 2 am and hating myself for it a couple of hours ago.

For the characters – I LOVED THEM ALL. Every single one had a significant importance throughout the novel. They each held a piece to the story, giving Evie the opportunity to unravel the mystery of Naughty John – the murderer. Evie was a strong lead with spunk, but was also relatable. She has a lot of sass and flaws, which makes it refreshing of a typical YA female protagonist. She steadily grows throughout the novel in a way that doesn’t make it seem rushed at all. My favorite parts were actually reading her p.o.v’s along with the few chances we had the privilege to see inside of Jericho’s mind. I SO LOVE JERICHO. I am a Jevie shipper.

Then there is a Memphis Campbell, who is a young African American numbers runner with the gift to heal. He aspires to be a writer, while being haunted by dreams of a symbol and a dark figure. I have my suspicions about the man, that he is the new threat at the end of the novel. I really liked that Libba Bray included diversity in her story. Why? Because it’s not often seen or spoken about. His culture and life, in my opinion, was greatly told and true to what life must have been like for an African American teen. Memphis’s race isn’t revealed until the middle of the story after he gets into a mess of trouble. I liked this device, because it conveyed – for me – that it doesn’t matter what race the character is. It’s about who he is as a person, what his life is like, and so forth. The other thing that I liked about it was the struggle between interracial relationships.

There are so many other characters like Mabel (Evie’s best friend), Theta (a Ziegfeld girl), Henry, (a pianist), Gabe, Isiah, ect. There was no character left to the side, unused. Like I said, every character that is mentioned is important to the plot and I can’t tell you how much I REALLY LIKED THAT.

In case I have a few romance lovers out there – I will say that the romance aspect in this book was very subtle, which I loved. It was a chance to see small signs that Jericho and Sam showed to Evie; the latter professing his LIKE more so than the former. I also liked the romance between Memphis and Theta because it was out of blue, but at the same time was there because of their mutual understanding they shared between one another. The romantic relationship were very natural and realistic. I actually grinned whenever I was given just a bit of secret caresses and/or kissing.

All in all this book was honestly one of the best books I’ve EVER read. I completely fell in love with it and I wish that I could have read it sooner – like back in November when I bought it along with some other books. If you are a fan of Libba Bray, you won’t be disappointed in this new, gripping, and captivating series. If you love historical fiction – read this book. If you like books – READ THIS BOOK. It won’t disappoint you one bit. You’ll be devouring the pages well into the morning light.

Leave a comment


  1. This book has been catching my eye consistently in Barnes and Noble. Your review puts it on my actual “pick it up” list – done and done.

  2. Yamini

     /  February 5, 2013

    OMG the trailer is amazing! I’ve been wanting this book for so long now i feel like I NEED to get it!

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