Actual Rating: 4.5 stars
My initial rating given to The Diviners was a full, glowing five stars, five stars being the knee-jerk rating I give to books I love. However, sometimes, when writing a review for the books I give five stars (or really any other rating), I realize that there were some certain things in the book I'm reviewing that would result in me taking away stars from my initial rating. Of course, there are some instances where I fully acknowledge the faults a book has, but give it five stars nonetheless, the most recent case being with Ultraviolet. But then, of course, there are some instances where, even if I love a book to bits, I fully acknowledge its faults and just can't give it the full five stars. This is the case with The Diviners.
As a disciplinary act, young and rebellious Evangeline - or, as she is more commonly called, Evie - O'Neill is sent from Ohio to New York City by order of her parents, to live with her uncle, Will Fitzgerald, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult - or, as that is more commonly called, The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. However, unbeknownst to her parents, Evie is incredibly anxious to escape from the clutches of her parents and those in her hometown who judge her to the buzzing New York City, where people are bound to accept her rebellion and promiscuity. And maybe, while she's there, go to a speakeasy or three. But Evie also has a secret: a special ability that may just come in handy as she is thrown into the crazy world of The City That Never Sleeps, as well as a creepy and ritualistic string of murders.
Going into The Diviners, I wasn't entirely sure what I would get considering the murder mystery, only provided with the knowledge that the murderer ended up creeping out quite a few friends of mine. Me, however, being the 'nothing can scare me!' person that I proclaim myself to be, didn't expect much from the murderer, and was at least hoping to find an entertaining plot behind the murders and murderer that were clearly not going to scare me. Y'know, 'cause I'm tough like that.
I stand corrected.
I'm going to play the 'I didn't know it would be like that' excuse as the reason why the murderer creeped me out so much (because I need to save my image, don't I?), and then I'm going to pretend this never happened and go on with saying a fictional murderer never scared me. (I got'sta save my face, people!)
So, yeah. Watch out for Naughty John.
Now, if you're like me, and before even picking up The Diviners, you were intimidated by its daunting length (because, seriously people, this book is a weapon), then fear no more. Once you get past the first hundred or so pages, which is mostly exposition (but it's in no way boring to read or a slog to go through), you will find yourself turning pages faster than you'd think you could turn pages. The only reason it took me a whole week to finish The Diviners is because I've been extremely busy (explanation for my absence on Goodreads and my lack of content on the blog lately).
Another thing, aside from its length, that intimidated me about The Diviners was its multiple narratives. If you've read any of my reviews for books with multiple narratives, you'll know that they rarely work out for me in the end. I like to think it's because the author generally isn't skilled enough to write multiple narratives, while making the narratives distinguishable, and not just because I'm an overall 'impossible to please' reader (though this book is pretty much a testament to that being false, no?). Ultimately, my intimidation concerning the multiple narratives in The Diviners was to no avail, because the multiple narratives were expertly handled. I was able to easily distinguish the narratives from each other, and I can say that each narrative had its own little thing that made reading it never be a chore, unlike some other novels with multiple narratives. *eyes Defiance*
The characters in The Diviners, especially Evie, are incredibly well fleshed-out and are met with an immense amount of character development throughout the novel, and the relationships between Evie and her friends, and Evie and her love interest, were also expertly handled. And, while we're on the topic of Evie's relationship with her love interest, I just want to point out to all you young-adult writers out there: this is how you write a realistic relationship. I want the main relationship in The Diviners to be taken as an example for young adult authors everywhere. This relationship is well-developed, believable, and there is not an 'I love you' in sight.
However, through all of this gushing, there is a fault to be found in The Diviners that, unfortunately, was enough for me to lower my rating by half a star. That fault being that the last fifty pages (give or take) were so rushed, and that I really wished Bray would have taken her time with the conclusion. I mean, she wrote a nearly six-hundred page book, I think she'd be forgiven for writing a more thorough conclusion (one that doesn't leave me confused, maybe?). I realize that there are upcoming additions to come following The Diviners, but honestly, I think this could have easily been wrapped up in one book, while leaving readers satisfied, as opposed to stretching it out in a series, and leaving readers unsatisfied with the ending of this.
But, despite the rushed and confusing final fifty pages of The Diviners, I really did love the five-hundred or so pages prior, which, when putting into perspective, really is something, isn't it? I only hope that Bray is able to maintain the quality of The Diviners throughout the series, without going into overkill, because The Diviners was an incredibly fun, creepy, and thrilling read, and I'm eager to read more.