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Evie O’Neill lives in America in the 1920ies and next to having her very own mind she makes her life much more difficult by using her special powers when she really should not do that. When she touches an object – and this object played a significant role in its owner’s life – she can see that person’s past. It is quite practical but nothing to gloat with on a party – which is exactly what Evie is doing. After being involved in a minor scandal because of that, she is sent to New York to live with her uncle Will. That does not really look like a punishment, does it?
At first, it really is not and Evie enjoys herself together with her friend Mabel. Then, however, a girl is found dead; it appears to be a ritual murder. The police look for her uncle’s advice and Evie gets entangled in the investigations as well. While they are trying to find the murderer, it also gets clear that the Diviners’ time has come – the time of people with very special abilities. People like Evie.
Oh, Evie O’Neill! She does not only lay up trouble for herself but probably puts also some readers on the spot – at least she did so with me. It is not exactly a love-hate relationship but it goes into that direction. On the one hand, Evie is a very funny character who will not let things get boring; on the other hand, this is what nagged me. If I were Mabel and Evie my friend, I would have shouted at her by now, especially when she acts as if her own lifestyle is the only sensible one.
But this is what makes her authentic – who is perfect and loved and liked by everybody?
It is the same with the other characters, though we do not get to know them as well as the 17-year-old whirlwind. Evie is the main characters, so there are only a few chapters left for Memphis, Mabel, Theta, Sam and Jericho, but they offer a nice insight. Plus, it is obvious that there is more to come.
I really liked how each chapter added a layer to the already formed picture. In many books something is going on, but it usually concerns only the plot (if anything at all); here, we constantly get new information about what is going on, about the characters and their past, creating a new picture all over again.
“The Diviners” might be an introduction to the “big plot”, but we get enough information in order to not be frustrated after reading. On the contrary: my curiosity is excited.
When it comes to the murders, “The Diviners” is an independent – and partly very mean – story with hints towards the next book. We get to know who did it and still want to know what is going to come next. Who and what exactly are the Diviners, and what is their purpose? How do some of the other characters fit in here? Hopefully, the second book will answer those questions.
I also do hope that some developments will seem more logical then. This might be a partly fantastic story, but some details still did not seem to fit. However, it is not all over yet and if it gets explained properly, I am the last one to complain.
Linguistically, it sounds like the time it is set in – at least that was my impression. I am not an expert of American English, never mind the English of the 20ies. Others know more about that and if you care a lot about whether the language is authentic, you better ask them. If you do not care that much about it and are content when it feels right, then rest assured: it does. The vocabulary and expressions did not remind me of today which might cause inexperienced readers of English some problems – I am convinced that you will get used to it quickly, though. In the end, the language does a lot to bring alive the atmosphere of the “Roaring Twenties”.
“The Diviners” by Libby Bray is a good book. While the protagonist Evie makes herself and the reader sweat, other interesting characters wait in the background and make the next book seem even more promising. You do not have to be afraid of a cliffhanger as the book has a closed ending, even though not every question is answered – some information is left for the next instalment. The language is convincing as well, so if you are someone frightened by the amount of pages: do not be, reading “The Diviners” is worth it.