Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.”late 1800s song sang by the villain of the Diviners
This book was crazy good! I’m completely in love with this cover, I’m completely in love with the setting (I’m always had this dream to live in New York during the Roaring 20’s,) oh, and I’m completely in love with this story! The book is quite literally the cats meow. It’s pos-i-tute-ly great!
This won’t be one of those books you’ll fly through. You won’t read it in one day. At almost 600 pages, this book is what some would call a slower turner. The pacing is rather slow, but that’s for the plot. It adds suspense, and makes you want to continue to turn the page to figure out all that is going down. There are details upon details in this novel.
Now, as I read this book, there was quite a lot of research down. I’m grown up learning about the the 20’s through the 50’s, so I like to think I gave myself a little PhD in American history during these decades. I was surprisingly ecstatic to see how much truth were behind Libba Bray’s words. Typically these kind of books are just slapped together, little to no research completed. But Bray was fantastic. From the slang/lingo to the references of the NYC area.
I honestly felt like I was living the flapper life because of the detail and the research. So, great job, Bray!
I really enjoyed the atmosphere Bray wrote for us. It was spooky and scary during some parts. I got chills a few nights reading this in the dark. I will probably not be doing that with the next book. I don’t think I could handle the tension, and holding the sides of my bed hoping that John Hobbes didn’t make an appearance in my room, lol!
The creep factor alone is enough to give one nightmares. Every last murder described has a new twist; and the house? Where this all originally began? It reminded me of the kid horror flick Monster House.
There is a minor warning thought, I sense a couple love triangle’s forming. But also be warned, I have my ships I’m sailing, and there will be a riot if I don’t get what I want.
The characters were rather well developed. I had a bit of a hard time trying to keep with all the mutliple POVs, but I managed.
Evie turned out to be a relatable character. I didn’t like for the first quarter of the book because I thought she was rash and bratty and annoying, but it actually added to her character as I grew to know more about her and her past. I’ve never read of a character with so many flaws, but it made it somewhat easier to sympathize for her. And she does develop.
Bray did a good job with character development.
Back to Evie. She’s almost everything I’ve wanted to be. And in ways, her and I are very similar. She’s extroverted where I’m introverted, but I’ve always wanted to be the opposite. She loves to party-I don’t think I would want to die-hard party, but I think it’d be fun. She doesn’t take things seriously; I wish I could get away with that. She’s pretty funny at times, too, so that’s a plus.
I suppose I should mention the uncle, Will. He’s normally known as “Unc,” at least that’s what Evie calls him. He runs a Museum centered around the paranormal and supernatural. He teaches to young men as maybe side cash? The museum isn’t doing too hot. Will is a man of secrets, and not a lot are revealed, so I imagine the next book is going to be a big secret dump for not only Will, but a lot of other characters.
Memphis was one of my favorite characters. He’s African American, he dreams of one day making it big as a poet. His writes in the cemetery,a little creepy but I watched the Vampire Diaries, and if Elena Gilbert can write in her diary around the graves then so can Memphis. He has this great relationship with his brother, Isaiah, which starts to tinker as one of them grows into the powers. He doesn’t really meet up with any of the characters until he bumps into the “love of his life.”
Then we have Theta and Henry who live together, but are in no way related or dating. How scandalous! It’s the 20’s, of course it’s frowned upon. I wish they were more involved in this story, but it is clear that there’ll be more of this duo in the sequel.
So, Theta is disabled, but not like one would think. I won’t spoil how. She’s actually also the link to the chain that brings Memphis into our little tight knit group. He doesn’t really know everyone, but at least the chain of events has the ball rolling. And our Henry here is gay! In the 20’s! And he’s sorta open about it, too. So, yeah, as you can tell, I really cannot wait to see more of these two because of the awesoem rep, adn because I adore each of their characters.
The next two, Mabel and Sam, aren’t in this book as much either. To be honest, I don’t really care for either of these characters, but I think I do like Sam more than Mabel. Mabel just didn’t attract me at all. She’s a product of her parent’s political standing and marriage, she’s afraid to stand up for herself, and she’s a follower. She flips out on her only best friend, Evie, because Evie is the exact opposite, and it’s clear Mabel wants to be like her, but she’s shadowed by her parents.
As for Sam, he’s set up for something, that much is obvious. And I didn’t care too much for his character in the beginning, but as he hung around the museum, he began to grow on me. I almost supported him and his romantic interest, but stopped for a few reason I will not state. He’s one of the few characters who doesn’t say who he truly is. He’s a Russian boy run from his home.
And lastly, we have Jericho. He’s a bit on the bland side, but I think Bray wrote him that way to throw readers off his trail. There is definitely more to him than meets the eye. I cannot wait for more about him in the next book. And I say this because the reader finally does get insight towards the end, you will grow to love him. Like, can I have my own Jericho? I kinda do though (my boyfriend is similar to him in some ways.)
There are a handful of other characters like Blind Bill Johnson who has a minor part to play, there’s the Proctor sisters who live in the same building as Evie and Mabel, and then theirs a man named Arthur who is interested in Mabel’s parent’s way of life.
The romance was spectacular. Not at all the way I thought it would turn out. I don’t want to say too much about Evie and her romantic interest because it would give away the subplot. But all I’ve got to say is I feel bad for one guy even though I didn’t want Evie to want him. And I feel bad for one of the other female characters-I won’t say who,-but not as much as I thought I would because she’s got someone on the side now…
I do wander if Bray will ever go back to the first chapter with the Ouija board in the sequel because I’m curious as to what happened to the girl who started this whole mess. I’m sure she’s dead, but nonetheless I need to know.
The story building is fantastic.
Everything is tied together, there are no strings not attached.
The backstories will tear you apart.
And one quick thing. I have a mini rant about this book. I know I’m not alone in thinking this because I’ve read a few reviews who’ve also thought this way. Bray has thrown in some representation, but I’ve also seen a little bit of stereotyping. And this is where I want my rep: where are the good Christians?
All I’ve seen are the crazies, the kind who like to shove the Bible in nonbelievers faces. Or even the ones who use the words of the Bible and twist it to justify their actions. So if there’s that rep/stereotyping, where are the good ones? Where are the Christians who support the Bible but mind their own business, the ones who don’t force their beliefs on every passersby.
I have a firm belief that if you’re going to showcase the bad side of a touchy subject, you need to also highlight the good side as well.
Yes, I’m a Christian. I’m not a terribly strong Christian, but when I come a across a book such as this one with a religion in it, I’m gonna grow defensive. I like to think I’m one of the good ones. I’m accepting, I don’t take the Bible literally word for word. I could care less how others lead their lives because I know I wouldn’t want to be judged for how I live my own.
Unfortunately-and don’t attack me for this-good Christians in the media (books, tv/movies) are a minority. So wouldn’t we want some rep for that? Since we into repping the minority?
I mean, come on?! I’m over here watching HBO and also attending church at least every other weekend. I read the risque books and still praise the good Lord. My grandmas who is one of those crazies claims I’ma devil worshiper for loving Harry Potter. Guess again, Grams!
So, my point is, where is my representation?
Some of my favorite quotes
She was tired of being told how it was by this generation, who’d botched things so badly. They’d sold their children a pack of lies: God and country. Love your parents. All is fair. And they they’d sent those boys, her brother, off to fight a great monster of a war that maimed and killed and destroyed whatever was inside them. Still they lied, expecting her to mouth the words and play along. Well, she wouldn’t. She knew now that the world was a long way from fair. She knew the monsters were real.Evie’s thoughts
People tend to think that hate is the most dangerous emotion. But love is equally dangerous.Will to Evie
This one in particular broke me up because this when I really started to connect with Evie. It’s sad but true, I’ve thought this way countless times. I even started to cry…
Will lectured about belief in the supernatural, but the only ghosts that frightened Evie were the very real ghosts inside her. Some mornings she’d wake and vow, ‘Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves.’ But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. But what was the point of living so quietly if you made no noise at all?Evie’s thoughts
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