Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The DivinersThe Diviners
by Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #1
Published: 18 September 2013
Atom, Hardcover, 592 pages
Source: Library

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It’s 1920s New York City. It’s flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It’s after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it’s the opportunity to party like never before.

For Evie O’Neill, it’s escape. She’s never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she’s shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she’s always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.

But New York City isn’t about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren’t crimes of passion. They’re gruesome. They’re planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can’t solve them alone.

Evie wasn’t just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer – if he doesn’t catch her first.


Rating: ★★★★½

Libba Bray is one hell of a writer who never fails to impress. I first fell in love with her Gemma Doyle trilogy back when I was 13 and The Diviners turned out to be just as amazing – or dare I say, even better!

A master storyteller, Libba Bray weaved an intricate web of mysteries surrounding each of the utterly original characters. All these little enigmas contributed their own important part to the story as a whole, creating a captivating plot that was intense, mysterious and filled with myths and legends yet not too complicated as to confuse readers.

It would be extremely tedious to list every one of the aspects of The Diviners that swept me away but the two that simply must be mentioned are the characters and world-building. Every single individual in the story was filled with life and perfectly flawed in their unique ways, even those who only appeared in a scene or two. All of them were so real and raw it was almost creepy!

As for the world-building, there’s no way the roaring 20s could’ve been better brought to life than in The Diviners. Every event, motion and utterance oozed the jazzy atmosphere of Manhattan in the 1920s, very much as if I had been transported back in time. However, like the tagline on the cover said, “Bright lights are hiding dark secrets…”, The Diviners had a very dark aspect to it too, similar to that of the Gemma Doyle trilogy although based on different legends.

For those of you expecting romance in the story, there will be some but it’s far from playing the main role in the plot. Despite that, do expect to start majorly shipping some of the characters because Libba Bray has the uncanny ability to garner support for subtle and understated romantic relationships.

To end this off, I’ll definitely recommend The Diviners to possibly everyone! It’s like a mind-blowing, peculiar, ominous and fascinating story wrapped within a gorgeous cover. Having everything from secrets, horror and the paranormal to romance, humor and the equally dazzling & bleak lifestyle of Manhattanites in the 20s, The Diviners is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser.


5 thoughts on “Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

  1. thebookheap

    I’m going to be re-reading this in the summer because the sequel comes out in August (although personally I was hoping it’d remain a stand alone but hey ho, series are cash cows I guess). I loved this book, I think my hair stood on end throughout most of it because it was so damn creepy in parts


      1. thebookheap

        how do you feel about the cover change and the title etc? @.@ I’ve seen mixed reactions. Personally, I’ll never understand why publishers feel the need to do that…


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