Sunday, November 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Diviners

Appetizer:  When her parents threaten to send her to New York City to live with her uncle as punishment, Evie O'Neill has to pretend to look like that's the worst situation in the world instead of the best.  However, she couldn't have expected that after leaving her hometown in Ohio, that she'd be caught up trying to prevent a supernatural serial killer from completing his plot to end the world.

Switching among the perspectives of a number of diviners living in the city during 1926, some of the characters will meet momentarily, others will come together to prevent more murders. 

As I listened to the audiobook (which was a pleasant rendering), The Diviners reminded me of the first season of Heroes combined with a bit of Supernatural spice.  I enjoyed the novel, but since its plot development felt so familiar, I can't really say that I was blown away by it.

At first, I found the 1920's slang really unnerving.  Instead of feeling like authentic dialogue, it seemed as though the book were being ironic towards its own setting.  This could be because the only time I ever hear such 1920's slang is usually in a cartoon spoof or the slang is used to show how outdated a character is.  So, now, when I read a character saying, "and how!" it's hard for me to take her seriously.

I was impressed how Bray handled different dialects though.  I loved the diversity of experiences and backgrounds among the diviners included in the story.  However, as more and more diviners were introduced, it started to feel like normal people were the rare minority in this world.

Plus, despite many of the characters' hopes for their future, it's had not to read the book with a sense of sadness--not only because this is the start of a series and more drama is sure to come--but because I imagine most of the characters will not do well when the Great Depression hits.  Silly, I know.

Dinner Conversation:

"In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.  There's a party going on--the last of the summer.  Out on the terrace overlooking Manhattan's incandescent skyline, the orchestra takes a much-needed break.  It's ten thirty.  The party has been on since eight o'clock, and already the guests are bored.  Fashionable debutantes in pastel chiffon party dresses wilt into leather club chairs like frosted petits fours melting under the July sun.  A cocky Princeton sophomore wants his friends to head down to Greenwich Village with him, to a speakeasy he heard about from a friend of a friend.
The hostess, a pretty and spoiled young thing, notes her guests' restlessness with a sense of alarm. It is her eighteenth birthday, and if she doesn't do something to raise this party from the dead, it will be the talk for days to come that her gathering was as dull as a church social.
Raising from the dead." (p. 1).

"Deep in the cellar of the dilapidated house, a furnace comes to life with a death rattle like the last bitter cough of a dying man laughing contemptuously at his fate.  A faint glow emanates from that dark, foul-smelling earthen tomb.  Yes, something moves again in the shadows.  A harbinger of much greater evil to come.  Naughty John has come home.  And he has work to do." (p. 9)

"Evie O'Neill pressed the sagging ice bag to her throbbing forehead and cursed the hour.  It was noon, but it might as well be six in the morning for the pounding in her skull.  For the past twenty minutes, her father had been beating his gums at her about last night's party at the Zenith Hotel.  Her drinking had been mentioned several times, along with the unfortunate frolic in the town fountain.  And the trouble that came between, of course." (p. 10)

Tasty Rating:  !!!



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