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Sunday, July 1, 2012

'The Diviners'

Libba Bray

One summer night, I decided to immerse myself into a comfortable fantasy book: The Diviners by Libba Bray - bound to be a good read. Despite its 608 pages, I managed to read this in - yes - one night.

Evie O'Neill, a true 1920s flapper girl, is "banished" from her home in Ohio to her uncle's museum in New York. New York, the city of risk (risqué), love, stars, and pretty much everything Evie could hope for. Then, when a flurry of occult murders occur, Evie (and her uncle) are determined to catch the killer. Evie is not unprepared - she has a certain secret that can help her catch the killer - but the killer is not what anyone expected, and far more dangerous than Evie can handle.

I only had two problems with The Diviners: it started off quite rocky; a party where the bored hostess takes out an Ouja board and summons a spirit. Basically, the beginning was boring. Not promising at all. It was meant to be scary, but completely and utterly failed. It only succeeded in making me notice the atrocious spelling mistakes (there are a surprisingly high number of errors in this galley - some are almost hilarious). The second problem was that Evie was completely unlikeable to me. She was always doing the predictably stupid. She would do everything you'd see in a teen horror flick - open the closet door, not run when she hears strange noises - and meanwhile, you're sitting there, yelling, "Don't do that, stupid! Idiot, the murderer is there!" That was extremely irritating.

Otherwise, the plot was decent, the setting was fantastic (Oh, the parties! the music! the drinking! Bray captured the spirit of the 20's perfectly.), the characters were okay, and there were countless unresolved subplots. If they make a sequel (ooooor a movie), I'd read/watch it. I'd give this book a 3.9 (the little things bothered me too much to give it a better score), and it's a dry steak. It's delicious by default - it's a steak, after all! - but it wasn't delicious. It was okay, in terms of steaks.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Concord Carlisle Young Adult Galley:

    I'm an author with a new collection of YA short stories, Ugly To Start With (West Virginia University Press).

    Will you please consider reviewing it?

    I've been writing and publishing for twenty years--more than one hundred stories and two novels--and Ugly To Start With is my best work.

    My first novel, The Night I Freed John Brown (Penguin), won The Paterson Prize for Fiction and was recommended by USA Today.

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    If you write me back at, I’ll send you a PDF of my collection for your consideration.

    At this point, my small publisher is out of available review copies, so I hope and politely ask that you consider the PDF.

    I would be very grateful.

    Thank you so much.

    John Michael Cummings


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