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Oh Hey! I'm Alice, I'm 22 and I'm from Belfast. Welcome to my corner of the internet!

14 Oct 2020

Why You Should Read The Diviners

I've just finished the last book in The Diviners series and I needed somewhere to dump my thoughts so I thought this would be the perfect place. This book series took me so by surprise because I would never say that I'm the biggest fan of historical fiction or of scary books but for some reason, this series has managed to worm its way right into my heart and now it's all I want to talk about. Especially now that it's coming up to the spooky season, this is the absolute perfect time to start reading these books (especially the first one).

What is The Diviners?

Okay so before I delve straight into the details I thought I'd just share a quick little summary to give you a brief overview of what The Diviners is about to pique your interest. The Diviners is a young adult historical urban fantasy series which also contains some supernatural elements. It's set in the 1920s in prohibition New York and follows a large and diverse cast of characters as they navigate their way through the city but as I mentioned, this is an urban fantasy and that means that there's magic involved. As you progress through the series you'll discover that some of the characters possess special abilities such as healing, dream walking and reading objects. Oh, and there are also ghosts.

The Characters

Honestly, the true gem of The Diviners is the characters. Each one is so well thought out and crafted and you will literally fall in love with every single one of them and they all struggle with such different personal issues which are just as relevant now as they were in the 1920s. Evie is probably the main character but as the series progresses you learn more about everyone and they all get more screen time (or page time). At first, I actually found Evie a little annoying but I guess that's the point, she's supposed to be annoying but as the series progresses she grows so much as a person and now I'm literally in love with her character and she's one of my favourites in the series. There's so much representation as well there are black main characters, there are Jewish main characters, there are LGBT main characters, there's a biracial Chinese main character, there's a disabled main character, there are characters dealing with depression, there are characters dealing with addiction and they're all just so so loveable so if you like me are a big character-driven reader then you will absolutely fall in love with these characters.

The Relationships

It's not just the characters that you'll fall in love with, you'll also be all over the different relationships in the book. There's an interracial relationship, there are same-sex relationships, there's someone learning how to love again after losing a loved one, there's someone dealing with new relationships after escaping an abusive one, there's a character who discovers she's asexual and how she deals with her budding romance, there's a whole load of learning to love themselves before they love anyone else and just a whole host of good wholesome friendship. There is a love triangle which is the one element that I'm not as big a fan of but it's actually handled very well and realistically. They make up for that by also giving me fake dating though so it's all good. I'm literally obsessed with these couples and one of them is a new OTP of mine for sure! The depictions of the relationships are all fairly tame in book one but they get a little more raunchy in the later books.

The Setting

Aah, what could be a better setting for a ghost story than 1920's New York! It's set during prohibition so there are speakeasies, tin pan alley, Follies shows and all of the slang is on point for the era, I've literally started describing everything as jake now. It also deals with actual real issues that were around in the US at the time such as the polio epidemic, racial divides including eugenics which targeted Jewish immigrants Chinese immigrants and black people as being unamerican as well as several events taking place which actually occurred in real life at the time. Without the supernatural elements, it's really just a piece of historical fiction!

The Actual Plot

Now we come to the actual good bit. What the heck is this book series even about. The first book follows a series of murders that are taking place around New York which seem to have some relation to the occult so Evie O'Neill who has been sent to live with her Uncle Will, an expert in the occult who has been called in to look into these murders to assist the police, finds herself wrapped up in a dangerous world that's a far cry from her boring life in Zenith, Ohio. Along with this it also follows a group of young people just navigating their way around this city. There are obviously some spooky and scary elements involved and some of the murders are depicted and one of the perspectives that you follow is that of the serial killer. There is so much more to this series than the horror aspects though so if that's not your jam (honestly it's not particularly my jam either) don't fret because while the spooky tone carries the whole way through the series there's actually very few scenes where the spookiness is fully in your face.

The Audiobook

So I actually listened to this whole series on audiobook using Libby through my local library and with each of the books being 20 hours long it was a bit of a mammoth task but I enjoyed them so much I was so happy to be immersed in that world for as long as possible. January La Voy is truly an outstanding narrator and it truly heightens the experience. Each character has a different voice so it's so easy to follow. Also, all the spooky bits are even more spooky when they're being whispered or yelled into your ears. I don't think I slept the first time I heard the Naughty John Song. SO if you are apprehensive about picking up a big 500 plus page book the audiobooks are just so well executed. Even as someone who listens to a lot of audiobooks some narrations just don't do it for me but January LaVoy is an absolute marvel and it truly feels like you're listening to an entire cast recording.

Trigger Warnings

I'm not easily triggered but I know some people can be so I thought I'd just share some trigger warnings for some content that's present in the books that could trigger some people.
racism, homophobia, alcohol abuse sexual abuse, attempted rape (not until book three)

I could honestly talk about The Diviners all day but I tried to keep it brief here. Have you read The Diviners? If so let me know who your favourite character is and if you haven't I hope I've inspired you to pick it up because it truly is such a magical experience (and I need friends to talk about it with).

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