Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray is a creepy paranormal mystery set in New York City in the Roaring Twenties.

Evie O'Neill's parents don't know what to do with her. When one particular scandal nearly leads to legal action, Evie is sent to New York City to live with her bachelor uncle Will, curator of a museum of occult paraphernalia known colloquially as the "Museum of the Creepy-Crawlies." Shortly after Evie's arrival. Will is asked to consult on a police case involving a serial killer, because some strange and possibly occult markings have been found on the corpses. What the police don't know is that the killer is actually a malevolent spirit, intent upon using a macabre ritual to bring about the end of the world. Evie is determined to help her uncle with the investigation, especially since she has a paranormal talent that could prove useful. However, investigating a murder (and attempting to exorcise dark forces) is not a game -- and Evie's life, and the lives of the friends she has made in New York City, could be in jeopardy.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel, and I'm glad I did. Narrator January LaVoy proves herself to be a virtuoso, with a great range and the ability to make me forget that I was listening to a story read by just one person. Beyond that, this is just a really interesting story. Evie is a sympathetic yet flawed heroine, and the plethora of secondary characters are likewise interesting and well-written. The plot is intricate and fast-paced; I never felt like the story dragged even though I was listening rather than reading. I will say that 1920s slang is "positutely" the most annoying ever, but it is at least authentic to both the period and Evie's character. The creepy factor of this story is about at my personal creepiness threshold, as I don't handle horror stories well at all -- there were definitely some moments when I wanted to yell, "No! Don't go down those stairs by yourself; are you stupid?!?" but nothing that I couldn't deal with. (It probably also helped that I listened to the story while driving, during daylight hours.) So, if you like the 20s, paranormal stories that are a little bit scary, and plucky heroines, give this book a try -- the audiobook particularly, if you are so inclined. You won't regret it!

(Reviewed from an audiobook borrowed through my library system.)

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