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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
The Diviners (The Diviners #1) - Libba Bray I think this is the first Libba Bray book I’ve had mixed feelings on. (1. I gave it four stars for reasons that shall be explained; 2. technically I had mixed feelings on A Great and Terrible Beauty but less than my reasons for this and also Rebel Angels took everything great about the first book and made it more awesome.) It’s good and I did enjoy the hell out of reading this, but there’s something about The Diviners that didn’t quite push into the absolutely love it territory.It is nice to see Libba Bray going back to gothic paranormal mystery. I loved the twenties setting, I liked that she really gets to explore the emerging feminism of the time period with our main Trio of girls. (Following Libba Bray on Twitter, you notice a lot of “Oh I see what you did there” lines in regards to her own personal beliefs. Like a line from Uncle Will about how the country is turning into a bunch of “idiotic creationists.” It’s not overly distracting, but I did pick up on it.) And I do like the life she breathes into the setting, especially the Harlem scenes. I loved everytime she switched to Memphis’s POV because there was just so much there and she really illustrates the separation and racism of the period.I did really like Evie. I have some issues with her, but I can still like her. She’s witty, she’s very capable and intelligent even though she doesn’t seem that way at first) and I kinda liked that she’s a non-villified party girl. There are reasons for Evie lashing out against her parents, but I never got that her angst was just tacked on. Evie’s recklessness and immaturity did get annoying at times—especially her stunt at the end of the book—but I feel that she has room to grow over the next two books. And I even got the idea that she is trying to be a good friend to Mabel and Theta (especially Mabel), but she just hasn’t gotten onto the fact of giving those two a chance to speak for themselves. And on that note, my main issue with Evie: WHAT THE HELL? You make out with your best friend’s crush? Granted, Evie acknowledges this was wrong and she feels bad about it but…no! Libba Bray, I expect better of you! Beauty Queens! Gemma Doyle! Please tell me this isn’t going to be dropped! On that note, Mabel. Oh I loved Mabel. Maybe because I can relate to her on several levels, but I really just wanted her to blossom. The scene with Mabel at her mother’s rally and being ignored and everyone ignores her all the time—my heart breaks for the poor girl. I’m really excited to see where her character’s going. I wasn’t as a huge fan of Theta—to be honest, I kinda called part of her backstory whenever Evie sees the vision with the glove. (Although I loved the Gypsy Lee Rose parallels of Theta growing up in vaudeville.) I do like her, but much with a lot of my feelings of the book, I don’t have that much of a grasp on her and I’m waiting to read the next two books to cement my feelings. And while it’s very tempting to compare these three to the Victorian Foursome of the Gemma Doyle series, it’s definitely not a retread of Bray’s earlier characters who’ve just been updated thirty years later.MEMPHIS. Hello new literary crush. Anytime he’s on screen, I was in. I loved his devotion to his brother and to his friend Gabriel; and that he really wants to be a great poet, but is always second-guessing his talents and never shows his work to anyone. I loved his anger about losing his healing power and his father abandoning him and his brother Isaiah . There’s so much about Memphis that just works so well. Oh, and I loved his emerging romance with Theta—it’s a little too fairy tale-esque, but I think they work really well together. I also like Henry, and I really want get more of his backstory and powers, especially in relation to the disappearance of his lover, Louis. (As I quipped to a friend, “Well, no lesbians, but gay men cruelly torn away from each other. That’s new.”) Jericho was…okay. I liked some of his sneak snark—like with Evie offering to beat up Sam, and Jericho says “I’ll watch.” Not a fan of his potential romance with certain characters, but the big reveal about Jericho was interesting, so yeah. We’ll see. And Sam—I’m blatantly shipping Sam/Evie, just because how well those two work together. I liked Sam right from the moment he shows up in Penn Station and his back-and-forth with Evie is some of the best dialogue in the book. My one big misgiving with the book overall is the plot. There’s so much to be made of the overreaching plot with the Diviners and this apocalyptic event that made me want to know more about what’s going on with that. Especially since it drags in tons and tons of characters and events that made me want to throw up my hands and give up keeping track what was going on. (The ending for one thing—nearly everyone with a speaking line gets to have a Return of the King-style ending where it just drags and drags and how the hell did I have 20% of the book left?) The main plot was solid, albeit a bit…overreaching. (To be honest, I couldn’t help but think of Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star—it’s a very similar premise, and I think that Libba Bray handles it a lot better in this book, but still I couldn’t help but make comparisons.) The writing and descriptions are fantastic, though. The opening prologue of the party and the wind racing throughout the city with the recurring motif of “Ain’t We Got Fun?”—that was mood-settingly creepy. Overall my big issue with the book is that this is book one of a trilogy and there is a lot that’s set up in this first book. I wanted to know more about the Diviners and what they’re meant for; I wanted to get more into the characters who were introduced offhandly (the Chinese girl with green eyes, she was awesome for the three pages in which she popped up!) There’s a lot of potential here, and that’s why I gave it a higher rating, knowing that there’s more to come. If you were a fan of the Gemma Doyle series, I’d recommend checking this out; however, if you liked Libba Bray’s satirical work better, tread with caution here.