I just finished this book by Libba Bray. Set in during the time of Prohibition, the main character, Evie, is a flapper who is banished from Ohio to the care of her uncle in New York City as a punishment for some misfeasance at home. Evie is also a “diviner” or a person with some supernatural attributes. She is able to hold an object belonging to a person and sense secrets about them. This is the skill that gets her in trouble, but which comes in tremendously handy when she ends up in the middle of a murder investigation in New York City.
The Diviners is an ambitious book. Libba Bray mined the American tradition of religious zealotry and bigotry to great effect, using temperance, speaking in tongues, cult behavior, mass suicide, and eugenics. This is combined with a cast of characters that is very interesting, from Evie (who is frankly, not a terribly endearing character being reckless, self-absorbed and often immature) to Mabel, Uncle Will, Jericho, a Ziegfield girl and a young black poet, two very creepy old ladies who live upstairs, and a murderous ghost named Naughty John. The main conflict is nicely resolved in this book, but it is clear that there is a much bigger story to be told in future installments. I will definitely read the next installments.
I love Maggie Stiefvater. The Scorpio Races was absolutely one of my favorite books last year, and I was really excited about the release of The Raven Boys. This book did NOT disappoint.
If Maggie Stiefvater isn’t the most lyrical wordsmith writing in the YA genre right now, then I don’t know who is. Her prose is frequently gorgeous. The Raven Boys of the title are a group of 4 young men who attend a prep school. They become involved with Blue, the main female character, who is a townie and a local girl, and who is fated to kill the boy who kisses her first. She is quite adamant that she will never fall in love.
This is also the beginning of the series. It involves a quest for a dead Welsh prince, ley lines, and an old murder. There are a lot of twists and turns, and the ending is a little bit unsatisfying because it is so clearly the first in a series. Along with The Diviners, this was one of my most anticipated releases this year and it was worth the wait.
The book begins with the main character, Meg, and her best friend Minnie, being dropped off on an island for a weekend house party of boys, booze and fun. Things rapidly deteriorate, and the other eight teens on the island begin dying in rapid succession. The first two deaths are chalked up to, first, suicide, and second, accident. By the third death, however, it is clear that someone is killing the teens, and things rapidly descend into chaos, as suspicion and fear take over. Characters who have known each other for years cannot overcome their distrust and truths better left hidden start to be revealed.
The last book that I’ve read since my last round-up post is Unspoken by Sarah Rees. This book has an absolutely gorgeous cover, and I have to confess that one of the reasons that I bought it was because of that cover.
I did like this book, but it is fourth out of the four books discussed in this post. I think that it suffered by comparison with the other three books that I read in the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure if I will continue with the series.
The writing was good, but not as beautiful as Stiefvater’s. The story isn’t nearly as complex as Bray’s book. And I am a sucker for a good mystery, so it just didn’t grab me the way that Ten did. There’s nothing wrong with it – but having just read three other really fun books, this one wasn’t all that special.