By Libba Bray
Aside from adult romance, young adult seems to be the most oversaturated genre in the industry at the moment. As a result, it can be hard to find quality YA novels without having to read through the hordes of books that feature the snowflake main protagonist with their OP superpower and their picture perfect love interest. I know there isn’t anything new under the sun, but I feel like it’s almost difficult to find YA that isn’t reminiscent of the Hunger Games or Divergent in one way or another. As it is, I think I can count the number of YA novels I actually enjoyed reading on my two hands! But every now and then, a YA novel jumps out at me and reminds me why I love this genre so much.
The Diviners is the first in Libba Bray’s series of the same title. I picked up the audiobook which was incredible. January LaVoy deserves serious props for this one. She’s put up one of the best performances I’ve heard in a while – doing all the different voices, landing every nuance in the various New Yorker accents she even sings!
Now, where do I start? The Diviners is a fantastic novel. Without giving too much of the plot away, the novel follows a young lass, Evie, who gets caught up in a supernatural murder mystery while trying to figure out her own secret powers. The premise sounds standard, but the execution was divine (ers). -laughstoself-
The novel is set in early nineteenth century New York and captures the sepia atmosphere perfectly. From the fashion to the entertainment, even down to the social climate – language, sexism, racism. There’s a really smoky, sexy feel to the novel that just feels so legit. To top it off, there’s an inordinate amount of sass, through both the characters and the setting that’s just delicious.
“You can’t blame a fella for kissing the prettiest girl in New York, can you, sister?” Sam’s grin was anything but apologetic.
Evie brought up her knee quickly and decisively, and he dropped to the floor like a grain sack. “You can’t blame a girl for her quick reflexes now, can you, pal?”
The humour can be hit or miss at times – I sometimes have trouble with picking up sarcasm or irony, but I think listening to the book alleviated some of that misinterpretation. When the novel wasn’t being funny, it was being creepy and I think Bray did a fantastic job in creating spooky atmospheres without going over the top. A great example of this is the opening paragraph of the novel, where a bunch of kids decide to bust a Ouija board out at a house party and the atmosphere goes from sleazy to terrifying very, very quickly.
“In them, she saw the sham of her life laid out like a book, the foolish belief that she, that anyone, could escape the consequences of this world, could flee from death. That was the deceit. The true serpent in the garden.”
On that note, if I haven’t sold you on this already – I implore you to go and read the opening chapter. I’d actually bought this audiobook months ago and was really hesitant to start, but that first chapter had me hooked immediately and I ate this book up in a few days.
I know I’m a little late to the party with this one, and I’ll be giving myself a break before continuing on with the series, but this is definitely on my TBR for next year!
Hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday season ❤