Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Diviners

The Diviners
by Libba Bray
592 pages
High School+

Evie O'Neill is in trouble.  Again.  While at a party in town, she was not only drinking (NOT allowed during Prohibition), but she also decided to tell secrets.  Secrets she should have no way of knowing.  When this gets her in hot water, Evie gets shipped off to New York to live with her uncle for a little while.

While Evie didn't expect Uncle Will to completely hip, she gets the creeps at his place of employment: The Museum of  American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult—also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies." Filled with haunted and sinister looking things.  While thrilled to be in New York with all the glitz and glamor, she is not as thrilled with the Museum.   But together with her uncle's assistant Jericho, she is now helping show the few visitors they get around.

 One day, when a policeman asks Uncle Will to consult on a bizarre murder, Evie decides to come along for the ride.  At the murder scene, she is moved to pity for the victim, a young girl who is now missing her eyes.  Filled with sympathy, Evie bends down to straighten a bow on the shoe, and is suddenly seeing images from the girl's life.  This is what got Evie in trouble in the first place: when holding something connected to a person, she sees into their lives.

Pulled into the mysterious murders, Evie must help her uncle solve the cases.  Why are the bodies missing parts?  What is with the strange verses left at the scenes?  And will Evie's talent be more help or will it endanger her and her friends?

On this book I am a little torn on if I liked it or not.  I liked the characters alright, the story was interesting, great setting, good background, but the length and pacing of the story bugged me a little.  It took forever before things really started moving.  I can tell it is building up to more than just this book, but there was almost too much building, and not enough happening.  While interesting, it took me a while to get really involved in the characters.

Those issues aside, I liked many other aspects of the book.  The setting is great: New York during Prohibition!  Hidden clubs, jazz music, and flappers!  Glamor and bright lights!  A great setting for a ghost story and the world being in danger.  The setting was very vivid, and I liked the glimpses of so many different points of view.  Everything from the show girl, the activist, the poet, the scholar and the flapper.  The characters are all great studies of life at the time.

Overall, while the scenery was great, I felt like to much time was spent building up the story and not enough on the story itself.  This does build up to another book, and I will probably read it when it comes out, but probably won't try to reread this before.  Good story, great setting, alright characters, but I would have liked it a little more condensed.  I rated this for high school mostly because of the grisly details at murder scenes and scary stuff like that.  I'm not a big fan of scary movies or books, and even as an adult, I tried not to read it right before bedtime!  Good creepy book, if that is your thing!

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