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Audie Award Nominee, Best Teens Category, 2013
Something dark and evil has awakened....
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 her uncle will 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 is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened....
This audiobook includes an introduction read by Libba Bray.
If you could sum up The Diviners in three words, what would they be?
Captivating, thrilling, and historical.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Diviners?
The most memorable moment for me was when Blind Bill put his hands on Isaiah and caused him to go unconscious. I was so shocked and pissed off that he would exploit a child's gift in order to better himself. I know he's a bum, but I did not see that coming. Then, I did not understand why he threw Ms. Williams under the bus to Octavia? There are others but it will spoil the book.
Have you listened to any of January LaVoy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not listened to January LaVoy before, but she is my favorite narrator now! She did a phenomenal job separating the characters through voices and accents. I was blown away! She made the story come alive for me and I would have not gotten that experience if I had read it myself.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, I was anxious to know if they would figure out that they were dealing with a demon and how the heck they were going to destroy him!
Any additional comments?
If you love the 20s and paranormal stories then you will love this book! The author did an amazing job at creating solid characters and a smooth plot using a historical background. I wanted to know if there was actually a person that killed people under the persona naughty John in New York.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I purchased this because I had enjoyed the author's previous works, even though the premise and blurb didn't really sound that enticing. I didn't know much about the '20s, and wasn't that interested in it, but I needed an audiobook for the commute so I took a chance. I'm so glad I did! The author brings the '20s and all its sparkling energy to life in this book, and I really felt immersed in it, in a way that I rarely do with YA novels. The narrator did an excellent job giving each character a unique voice, and capturing the inflection and tone of speech in the '20s. She even sounded great singing some of the songs!
Unlike the other reviewer, I thought the characters were well fleshed out and true to life. I liked reading from all of their perspectives, even though there were a couple of characters that would probably annoy the hell out of me if I knew them in real life.
Best of all, the story moves FAST, which is especially impressive considering how complex and layered the plot is. There's a lot of stuff going on at once, but Ms. Bray manages to keep all the balls up in the air and the pages (figuratively) turning. The scary parts of the book are genuinely scary--another thing I have never seen in a YA novel.
One caveat: the story starts out a bit slow, and the main character, Evie, comes off as a brat when we are first introduced to her. It also takes a while for modern ears to get used to the '20s talk without snorting and thinking of one of those cheesy noir detective movies. Hang in there. It's definitely worth it.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Diviners?
Two main things about the book disappointed me:<br/><br/>1 - Evie. Good lord - she is "positootly" annoying. I figured Bray was creating a character for you to dislike - not hate - but dislike and then have some revelation that turned her around. Nope. Annoying through the book-ski. <br/><br/>2 - The story just sort of ended. I guess I didn't realize that there was a follow up. But they hit the climax with a few chapters left. Figured we were going to have one of those "oh he really wasn't dead" sort of moments. We did not and the story just sort of ended.
What could Libba Bray have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
I think we understood it was set in the 20's. I think she could have used the colloquialisms much lighter.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Sweet jesus-ski. The chipper-ski dialog was the just the elephant's butthole. Yeah, that all got really old.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
The author does a good job fleshing out each of the different characters and giving them a unique voice. Evie in particular is good example of how to do a flawed protagonist (she can be quite selfish, short sighted and even annoying at times) who is still heroic. Of all of the point of view characters so far I’ve enjoyed Memphis and Theta the most. Hopefully in the next books Mabel, Henry and Sam (not to mention the Chinese waitress) will get a little more attention.
Be warned that a lot of the mysteries surrounding the characters are not resolved, and are being saved for future books.
Overall the reader is good giving the characters distinct voices.One problem though is that she should really brush up on her pronunciation. There are quite a few words she just doesn’t say correctly (rifling in particular is used often enough in the book to be very annoying).
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The story wasn't awful, but I wouldn't recommend the book just for the story. The characters don't develop much, the plot feels formulaic (or classic, I suppose, depending on one's point of view), and there's a lot of extraneous descriptive detail to make it clear that the author did a LOT of research about the time period. It's the narrative performance by January LaVoy that puts this over the top from "meh" into "highly entertaining" territory. She's very good, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Diviners?
The era, the 20s slang, the ominous threat of supernatural doom, the realistic and palpable frustrations of the young heroine, the variety and diversity of the characters! Great stuff.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The main character Evie is great, not too Mary Sue-ish but a bit naive and a little insensitive. I loved the complex and troubled Theta, and her roommate Henry seemed like a sweetheart, too. Uncle Will? Mabel? Jericho? Sam? All wonderful. But my favorite? Naughty John! Otherwise they wouldn't have had anything to do...
Which scene was your favorite?
The opening scene! A ouija board! A carefree flapper party! And a terrible evil unleashed upon an unsuspecting world!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I wished I could have read it when I was 17.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It was a fairly enjoyable listen (largely due to the fine narration), but the story leaves quite a bit to be desired.
I believe that a young adult novel at its best will appeal to all audiences. Every adult has survived adolescence and can relate to that tender age - exciting, frightening, heartbreaking. But the characters - young and old alike - are significantly underdeveloped. Their dialogues and backgrounds often feel cliched and contrived and while I don't dislike them, it is difficult to empathize with them.
The story is an interested premise. I loved the backdrop of 1920s New York City. Add a mysterious serial killer with a supernatural twist, and you have the beginnings of what could be a fascinating tale! Unfortunately, the story often gets lost in melodrama and conclusion-jumping. The connections between events fall short for me. And the characters are always surprisingly calm (and sometimes even seem excited) about the horrifying events that are unfolding around them.
The story is a strange juxtaposition between writing that seems to be intended for a younger audience, but with subject matter for an older one. This story had a lot of potential, but despite my best hopes, it was largely unmet. Perhaps the second book will bring more depth to the characters and their stories.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
I've been hopping along from one book to another this past year. I'd run out of books by most of my favorite contemporary authors like Leanne Moriarty and Ken Follet, stumbling from readers lists to kindle recommendations until a badge popped up on my audible app. Before the first chapter was over I was hooked and before the end I was delighted, not only with the story but the setup to a series. I'm getting on Amazon right now to download the next two books. The performance was good overall but I couldn't help but feel like I was missing something special while listening to the reader's voices for characters like Jericho and Nasty John. You'll love this book. Try it out with Audible if you are in the middle of a different book or like to listen in the car (if only to get you a started ).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Please do not be deterred by the annoying protagonist. I agree with many reviewers that Evie is a total brat. I almost reached a breaking point with her attention-junkie antics until I reached the mid-point of the story when she gets knocked on her butt and is forced to act like a decent human being. I'm not promising that you will come to like her later in the book but she becomes much more tolerable when she decides to become useful. Aside from the main character, this book is worth an audible credit. The paranormal mystery and world-building can't be beat! Guess I'll have to endure Evie in the next book since I'm hooked into the series.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
As with many Libba Bray books,the ending got away from her. That being said, the beginning is always good enough that I am willingly, knowingly, prepared for a confused finish.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This is awesome. There's a murderer in New York leaving gruesomely displayed corpses with arcane messages. Teenage flapper, Evie, has disgraced herself back home and been sent to stay with her uncle in Manhattan as a "punishment". He's an expert in the supernatural and is called in to help the police. Gradually we meet a cast of diverse characters who all have secrets in their past and some of them have powers they don't fully understand. 1920s New York comes alive around you. I love all the jazz age slang and historical scene setting which is never heavy handed and adds to the atmosphere of the story.<br/><br/>I thought it ended a little bit abruptly but is clearly setting up a series which will doubtless focus on different characters and I can't wait to listen to that too.<br/><br/>January La Voy is FABULOUS. She is almost as good as Rupert Degas which is the highest praise I can give to a reader. Her characterisation is spot on. Every character has a distinct and clear voice of their own. She only fails on an Irish accent but as it's an isolated incident I can forgive her.<br/><br/>One tiny tiny tiny quibble about something that wouldn't be a problem on the page. Right at the beginning, some words are spelt out on a ouija board and it's done letter by letter quite fast with no recap so I had to go back and listen a couple of times to get the sense. Derp!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
o I finally read my first Libba Bray novel! I'm so glad I finally picked up something from this author, but I have to admit this was a lengthy story. Although, I didn't have to read it, because I was read to by the January LaVoy. LaVoy joins Rupert Degas as one of my favourite narrators.
Evie comes across as frivolous and superficial when the story begins. She's determined to live life to the fullest and is a compulsive liar, simply because she's living life at a thousand miles an hour. Why slow down and give a truthful, uncomplicated answer when you can reel off a fantastical tale. Initially, I was really disappointed that she was the main character, but slowly I started to sympathise. Sure she's enjoying life, but that's the superficial tale, and she believes it and others do...but what's really driving this desperate clutching at parties, people and distractions? What happened to her relationship with her parents after a family tragedy, and could this be at the heart of her lifestyle choice, her desperate attempts to be seen and recognized and praised?
Set in the roaring twenties (1920s) the dialogue is filled with slang and the obsession with celebrity rivals our modern times. I didn't expect the story to get more and more sinister. I thought the murders would be described in a detached way, after all there was just a slight hint at the supernatural to start with, but then all of a sudden there are gruesome murders and such gory, skin tingling, hair raising nastiness that I found myself creeped out!
The Diviners offers scares, thought-provoking sub-plots and wonderful characters. Evie is joined by such a wonderful cast of supporting characters that I'm desperate to get my hands on the sequel to find out what happens to everyone next. Domestic violence, racial discrimination and even a sci-fi element feature in the lives of her friends. I'll be counting down the days to the next installment :)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This was a wonderful story. Libba Bray really knows how to weave a creepy tale. January Lavoy is a great narrator.
Great story, great narration and great fun! I can’t wait to listen to/read the next book in the series.
I have nothing bad to say here. Story was engaging and quite different. The performance however made the listening experience rather epic. One woman voice army!
I had no expectations of this book and narration as I didn't know the author's work. What a fantastic surprise. The narration was also superlative.
It was read beautifully but unfortunately the plot didn't really pick up until half way
This is a good book. You will not regret spending your time here. I sure as hell didn't. This book had been recommended to me over and over again, specifically in audio format, so I was excited to start.
The setting and tone really sell this book. Spooky 1920s New York? Yes please. Most of the characters are incredibly real and so full of life. There are a couple I found to be a little bland and/or annoying at times, but for one of these characters I think that it is just a representation of his personality, but for the other I think just missed me. He is supposed to be a very interesting love interest, and I just wasn't into him.
Evie, the main character, I found to be very likeable. She's outgoing, spunky (there's a word I don't use often!), and makes honest mistakes. She's brave and we both share a certain morbid curiosity.
The only negatives I can say about the book is that I found that it dragged a little in places, seemed to be a bit on the long side for what was going on, and most of my favourite parts of the book seem to have been set up for future books. I plan to listen to Lair of Dreams, the sequel, next month, so I have my fingers crossed that my favourite characters will actually have a chance to shine.
Definitely give this one a go.
The story is good but what really drew me in to this story was the fabulous voice acting. Definitely recommend for YA and even adults who like a good story.
This book grabbed me right away and held my interest. The 1920s lingo helped to create a period feel. I'm not easily spooked but there were some genuinely creepy moments. I can't wait to read the next book.
I tried, I really did. One word: "boring".
I found the beginning really interesting but then it changed so much it felt as though I was listening to a completely different book. The main character is a stuck up nasty piece of work and I found the story lacking. Listening at night put me right to sleep.
The narration is superb which is why I felt a little guilty at leaving part way through. But for me, that was the only good thing about this audiobook. It felt like a chore to continue to listen.