Trigger warnings: ableism, abortion, alcohol, animal sacrifice, death of an animal, child abuse, cult, death, death of a sibling, drugs, eugenics, gore, racism, rape
Another day, another series I’ve fallen in love with.
I am only including the synopsis for The Diviners (book 1 of the series), as the rest contain spoilers.
I’ve recently binge-read all the books from The Diviners series that have been released and am now eagerly awaiting the final instalment.
The Diviners by Libba Bray (series):
The Diviners (Book 1):
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
This is such an under-rated series that I wish more people were talking about. Each book on its own is stellar but they collectively form an epic tale of the power of finding your identity, ghosts and tackling the demons within ourselves. On top of that, it’s casually diverse, with disability, LGBT+ and BAME representation within the series.
Libba Bray drops little hints throughout Book 1 that seem like inconsequential details, but really they’re part of this intricate, well-plotted overarching story. Every reveal just brings up more questions, which I love.
Also, she doesn’t shy away from the dark side of this period of history as well, with loads of little history references that make someone who’s fascinated with history (me) pos-i-tute-ly estate. It tackles racism, eugenics, feminism, mental health, classism, homophobia and that’s just to name a few!
I found the characters, whose numbers grow with each book, absolutely compelling as they were all given some space to shine. They’re all flawed and allowed to grow within the story (apart from redacted whose actions in Before The Devil Breaks You can’t be redeemed for me). They all narrate different chapters in different books and with them come well-rounded story arcs, which was part of what really drew me into the books.
It’s a very character-driven series, especially Lair of Dreams (book 2), so the pacing is a bit slower but the action certainly counter-acts that. I loved each individual character study and just seeing them grow over the three books.
I will quickly add that there are some terrifying scenes in this series, especially in Before The Devil Breaks You, but they are so well written and really just add to the already spooky atmosphere of the dark side of 1920s America.
Essentially, between this and Beauty Queens, Libba Bray has proven herself as one of my favourite authors. She’s a hugely underrated talent, in my opinion and I will be on the lookout for more of her books.
The Diviners is a dark, spooky and superb 1920s supernatural mystery series that’s absolutely perfect for a wintery evening. A solid four and a half stars from me.
Over To You:
So, that’s my thoughts on The Diviners series, but now I’d like to know what you think. Have you read this series and if so, what did you think? If not, would you consider reading it in the future?