By Libba Bray
“I thought research would be more glamorous, somehow. I'd give the librarian a secret code word and he'd give me the one book I needed and whisper the necessary page numbers. Like a speakeasy. With books.”
― Libba Bray, The Diviners
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but it just didn't spark for me. First thing you should know is that this book is a BEAST. It's huge! And honestly, not in a good way. It's clear that Libba Bray did a ton of research and had a lot of interesting characters and plot ideas, but it was overkill; there was just too much going on in the story to keep track of everything and everyone. I was listening to the audio book (the reader was very talented, particularly with finding different voices for each of the characters, as well as the occasional singing), and we hit the major climactic scene at the end of the 14th track, so I figured the 15th track would be pretty short for the wrap up, but NO, it was another HOUR. It also had Return of the King style multiple-ending fake-outs. You think the story's done, then WHAM!, another character gets a wrap-up. On the one hand this helped a bit with some of the story lines that were left hanging, on the other hand, just end already!
The villain and atmosphere were certainly eerie, but since I was reading this for a book group and had to rush through the audio, I turned up the speed of the audio-reading. Turns out, some of the creep factor is lost when you're listening to it at super speed. I won't say the reader started to sound like a chipmunk, but it was close.
Then there's Evie, our heroine. I'd like to categorize her as "too stupid to live." I get that she had to do certain things to move the plot along, and likewise escaped certain situations for the same reason, but COME ON. If you're in the midst of supernatural phenomena, and there's a haunted house, noise in the basement, or a sinister character doing something shady, DON'T INVESTIGATE! Particularly if you don't have mad-demon-hunting skills, a la the Winchesters, and instead just whine and pout a lot.
I know a lot of people really like this book, but it just wasn't for me. And I guess that really surprises me, because everything about this book, from the time period to the paranormal elements, are generally right up my alley. I won't come out and say you shouldn't try it, but know that if you DON'T like it, you're not alone.