Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Hi Blisses,

TITLE: The Diviners
BY: Libba Bray
SERIES: The Diviners #1
GENRE: Historical, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
PUBLICATION: September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
NOTES: POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020


The story sets off with a group of teens in Manhattan playing with an old Ouija board, unleashing an entity, something dark and evil, that soon sets New York in fear through a series of murders.

Complex but a strong plot nonetheless…

The Diviners requires full attention. Though it started as just some kind of serial murder story with a bit of magic in it, the plot thickens. It becomes more and more complicated as a plethora of characters are introduced and the mystery of the murders is slowly becoming clear. Sure, from the start, it’s obvious that magic, and that’s something demonic is what’s responsible for the murders, the story has its own way of diverting the reader’s attention from the main conflict and instead focus on the individual story of the characters. By the time, the whole picture is clear, the reader is overwhelmed with how complex and intricate the plot is. And it’s perfect.

With the help of the author’s imagination, the plot makes the reader loves History…

History is a main part of the story- both the imaginative and the borrowed information from our real history. Sure, the history that was borrowed is embellished for the sake of this book, still, it’s really done well. I’m no fan of History but I enjoyed every bit of the Diviners. It painted 1920s New York so vividly in my mind. But of course, the best part is the embellished and imagined history. It’s so rich and obviously, carefully weaved. I love all the elements about the Brethren and the Diviners. It’s really great that there’s still a lot to know more about the Diviners even after Book 1 ended and it made me more excited for book 2. I liked the concept of the Brethren having their own Bible and that the murders are based on some ritual that is both scary and fascinating.

A convincing villain knows how to scare…

I was expecting The Diviners to be atmospheric and dark, but I didn’t expect it to be REALLY scary. I’m not easily scared so I thought it won’t scare me. Besides, it’s supposed to be just another fantasy/paranormal-ish story with a monster as a villain. I was wrong. I read this at night till wee hours and I was so engrossed from the very first murder that was described. It’s so chilling. The atmosphere is perfect. I give the credit to the villain. The villain is so convincing and he’s called Naughty John. Yeah, the name is a bit corny, if you ask me, but the corny ends there. There’s nothing corny about Naughty John. He definitely knows how to kill and what to do about his victims. His belief and the reason why he’s doing what he’s doing is as convincing as the advertisements of all the religions in our world. His backstory is also good and believable, which makes his entire existence not corny. I believe if it’s a different villain in another book, I might find the concept of a monster from the dead corny, but Naughty John is really good.

An amazing set of characters…

The dynamics of the characters are amazing. It’s also obvious that each one of them is given the same amount of attention by the author. I’m not saying that each of them has equal spotlight throughout the novel, no. All I’m saying is that each character is well-structured. All of them with interesting backstories and personalities, and yes, interesting powers for the main characters.

The Diviners, being just the first book in the series, has given more of the spotlight to Evie. Evie O’Neill, 17-year-old, has been exiled from Ohio to live with her Uncle Will in New York for being a troublemaker. But for Evie, New York isn’t a punishment for she loves sparkly things and she has ambitions. Some might even find her vain, childish, selfish and sometimes annoying. But she’s the kind of character that grows on you. I actually find her lines funny, especially if she’s with Sam Lloyd, one of her love interest. Besides, I find Evie’s powers fascinating. She can read objects just by touching them, which is very helpful in solving the murder case in this book.

Since this is the first book of a quartet, I guess I’ll introduce the main characters one by one so I can just refer to this post in my future reviews of the next books in the series

Sam Lloyd – Russian pickpocket. He can make others not see him. His mission in life is to find out what happens to her mother. He is rakish and charming. I love his first meeting with Evie.

Memphis Campbell – He’s black and extremely good-looking. Of course, he’s also charming. He takes care of his brother along with his aunt. He used to have a healing ability.

Theta Knight – She’s a dancer and running from a past. Her ability is not yet clear.

Henry DuBois – Theta’s roommate, queer, and a musician. He can walk in his dreams which is really fascinating.

Mabel Rose – She’s Evie’s best friend and pen pal and she has no magical ability. She also has a huge crush on Jericho. really, she’s so cute.

Jericho Jones – He works for Evie’s Uncle Will and is keeping a big secret. The reveal of his past and his current situation surprised me the most.

Uncle Will – He’s not a diviner and obviously, he’s older than everyone, being Evie’s uncle. But he plays a big role in the story and I’m pretty sure, in the whole series.

Finally, the romance…

It’s there but it’s not the focus. That I think is one of the biggest part of The Diviners because it made the reader focus on the main plot and knowing the characters. This is just the first book anyway so it’s more important for the reader to be familiarized with the setting, characters, and concept for now.


Overall, I highly recommend The Diviners especially to those who love atmospheric reads.

Have you read this book? Or planning too? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

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