“The Diviners”—A Book Review/Sort-of-Rant

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The Diviners by Libba Bray received some pretty awesome reviews, so I decided to check it out. I gotta say, I just wasn’t feeling it. It appears the whole ghost-serial-killer thing is pretty popular right now, but this book just didn’t quite deliver as well as Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star (which I also didn’t find to be fantastic, but was definitely better than The Diviners).

Evie O’Neill has a gift: By holding someone’s personal possession, she can sort of enter a person’s mind and tell them anything having to do with the object—including any thoughts or emotions a person may have ever had while holding the object. When Evie was drunk at a party in her hometown in Ohio, she got pissed off at a big-to-do rich kid and held an object of his to discover that he had cheated on his fiancé and gotten a girl knocked up. Refusing to issue an official apology, her parents shipped her off to New York City to live with her uncle, the curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. That’s the official name, anyway—Evie and her friends refer to it as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. 

This story takes place during the flapper era, a time when bobbed hair, rhinestones, and feathers are the fashion. Evie is posi-toot-ly thrilled to be in the glamorous city of New York. She cannot wait to go to speak easies and drink large quantities of gin with her starlet friend.

During this time, though, a string of super strange killings are occurring in the area. Because of the bizarre nature in which the bodies are found, the police have called upon Evie’s uncle to help with the investigation, seeing as he specializes in the weird and paranormal.

That’s pretty much the whole premise of the book. Being completely honest with you, I couldn’t even finish it. The main character, Evie, got on my nerves like crazy. She is completely self-centered and spoiled. To her, life is just one big game and anyone that doesn’t go along with her childish whims is basically considered an asshole.

That’s basically all that has happened in the 335 pages that I did manage to stomach, nothing else happens except a small side story of a few other “diviners” (people with special abilities, such as healing and prophesying) a nerdy friend in Evie’s uncle’s apartment building having a crush on Evie’s Uncle’s assistant, and her uncle hiring a charming young thief that pick pocketed Evie upon her arrival in New York.

The only plus I would say this book had going for it was the song that the serial killer sang as he prepared to kill his victims: Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on, cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ‘em off for a coupla stones.”

I’m sad to say that, despite the great reviews others gave, I can only give this book two out of three stars.

I don’t even have any fabulous quotes to share with you…the creepy song was the only part I liked enough to note.

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