The Diviners

The Diviners - Libba Bray

I wanted to read an innovative YA novel that would satisfy my curiosity with the occult instead I got a dull mystery loaded with cardboard characters, trying to convey some moralistic message. And of course any self-respecting YA has to have some love triangle and a not so endearing female protagonist. Lovely.

It's obvious that the author spend more energy in trying to represent as faithfully as possible the vibe of the Roaring Twenties instead of giving substance to her characters. They practically all fell into stereotypes. Mainly Jericho's behaviour in the second half of the book bothered me. I think the author had a completely different plan for him half way through the book, somewhere when it was clear that a bit sappy romance was needed.
Every character's past gets treated in flashbacks which interrupts the flow of the reading process, especially in a mystery novel. Surprisingly they all had a difficult past except for Evie who behaves and speaks like a spoiled child.

Despite its 500+ pages the book feels incomplete. There supposed to be a grand scheme beside the ritual killings but although we are given some hints, the author never gets to the core of it. That would have been a more exciting note to end on instead of the uncomfortable romance. A 'romance' that grew out of a desperate attempt of the female protagonist to hook the love interest with her best friend who had a huge crush for years on said love interest. I think I would have appreciated the story more if there wasn't any romance at all.

But let's give credit where its due. Mrs. Bray has a vivid writing style. She evokes 1920's New York in a very persuasive manner. And admittedly Libba Bray can keep the suspense during the whole book. There were plenty of passages that kept me on the edge of my seat. But that's not enough to make the book redeem itself.