BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba BrayThe Diviners (The Diviners #1)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.


People tend to think that hate is the most dangerous emotion. But love is equally dangerous.

If there’s one thing you need to know about me when it comes to books or movies or anything, really, it’s that when I fall? I fall HARD. If I love something it becomes my most cherished thing, my baby, my obsession. I go through a few books a year like this. Wash, rinse, repeat. I love books HARD. But, I have to say, I was just talking to my bloggish buddy [Jen] the other day, and we noticed I hadn’t had any series obsessions in a long, long time. If you look through my feed, or on the blog, even, you’ll see that standalones have been my jam in 2018 and no series has really just made me go crazy with feels and anticipation-you know, that Chelsea peril I so love and crave. And, though peril may be a bit stretched here in my normal sense, I think that I’ve finally found my latest drug.

The second thing you should know about me? I am a big. Fat. Baby. I get SCARED. I get scared TO THE BONE. So. Thus is the nature of the reading business, for me. I have been saving all the creepy crawly type books for my favorite month of the year-October. And, okay, people say it’s not that bad. Oh, it isn’t, is it? Well, define terrifying for me, and I’ll give you my definition in a series of questions as asked below:

-Do you believe in ghosts?
-Even if you don’t-does the idea of ghosts terrify you?
-Better yet, what about the idea of ghosts watching you?
-Does the idea of a sinister evil that is in corporal form give you the chills?
-In an abandoned street at night, while all alone, does a whistle that reverberates off the sidewalks and dark alleys creep you out?
-Or maybe a jaunty tune that goes along with a whistle?
-What about an old, abandoned house [at the top of the hill, no less] that a murderer lived in?
-Dark alleys?
-Whispering walls?
-The feeling of a house being alive while, yes, abandoned?
-What about all of this in one night, happening at once?
-Or spread out over a series of nights as the days count down to the ultimate worst case scenario..
-What about if you have to go into said house, with said sinister evil, with whistle and tune bouncing off the walls, with said sinister talking walls…all alone?

If you didn’t say yes to ANY of these questions-I question your sanity. And I didn’t even ask about creepy children, flashbacks, and being paralyzed while you are prayed upon. I didn’t even ASK. I shouldn’t have to because, this book? It’s terrifying. It doesn’t need bells and whistles-and that’s the most beautiful thing about it. And, okay, what the HELL is it with all the most wonderful romances…being set in such hideously addicting scary books? Because Sam and Evie??? My Lord. I can hardly stand it.

“This fella asked for your uncle, but I told him you were in charge, Your Highness.” Sam returned the bow.
Evie replied with an eye-roll. “Do you think you can manage to not steal anything while I’m gone?”
“The only thing I’m trying to steal is your heart, doll.” Sam smirked.
“You’re not that talented a thief, Sam Lloyd.”

I’ll admit, as I know everyone already knows and has already seen or heard of this because I am seriously the last person to read this series, there’s a love triangle and I just seriously am obsessed with it because, okay, who doesn’t love a good old fashioned jelly boy fight? No, this doesn’t really happen and NO, there’s no huge romantic sweeping gestures in this story but-BUT-there’s the beginning of something beautiful. A spark. A flame. A look here and touch there. A kiss. Connections. Thoughts of what-if? I’d go so far as to say either hate-to-love or enemies-to-lovers is in the works, but I can’t say she hated Sam or that they were necessarily enemies-just the last people who you would ever think would fall in love. And even Jericho, there was never hate, Evie and he just never really hit it off or were close in the beginning.

(Sam and Evie)

But, since romance isn’t the point of these, it is a slow-burn that happens between the scary scenes, the murders, the investigation and exploration of powers old and powers found. The unraveling of secrets and making of secrets and friendships and tests of loyalty. Banter and haughtiness and just…all around this book is just the berries. Can we talk about the lingo for a second? I’m a big fan. I just LOVE how they talk-it really adds something spectacular to an already excellent book. And, as many have said before (what can I really say that hasn’t been said before?) the atmosphere in this book??? It’s OUT OF THIS WORLD. I really felt like I was in this book, like Evie and Sam and Jericho and Theta and Mabel and Will were right next to me, like I was on the street with them. Which…explains why I was so utterly without breath and terrified the whole time.

And Evie-I really really really just love her so much.

She goes from being a spoiled brat to someone who would do anything to solve the murders and save the world as they know it.

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.

I am obsessed with her and I just love her friendships and her thoughts and her lingo and, honestly, how funny she really was. And her banter with almost everyone, especially Sam, just made me so happy. Her and Theta really get into it in the next book and it really cracks me up how Theta just wants to slap her lol.

Which brings me to my next and possibly final point because I could go on for days: I already finished book two. Forget writing a review. I can’t even put these books down long enough to get a review put together. Hell, if I didn’t have time right this second, I’d probably have started the third! Nothing can keep me away from these books-nothing. My poor husband hasn’t seen me at night for like a week-I scurry to the living room the minute my girl goes to sleep. It’s honestly pathetic…and I haven’t been organizing at ALL. Man. I have lost my marbles for this book. I curl up in a ball with the lights blazing, put a blanket on, and read until my eyes hurt-and it’s still not enough and I can’t possibly read fast enough.

Got too scared typing in (ghost, creepy wall, ghost watching sooo this Is what you get):

And, if you read my pre-review, you know that I couldn’t even BREATHE at the end of this book because, frankly, this is what nightmares are made of, for me. A creak in the floorboard, the rustle of wind, the scrape of a hand and whispers in the dark. I don’t think I need to elaborate further-This book got to me, and got to me good. Chilled. To. The. Bone. I couldn’t even go to bed because my heart was pounding so hard after the final page was turned. Chills chills chills.

But, I do have to say, even though it’s right at the end of my review, this story trigger me a little. I don’t like animal deaths, yet this author seems to love them. Just for those people that care like me, get disturbed like me (all of it was disturbing, to be honest, but I truly believe everyone deserves to know because it disrupts your reading and it makes you sad, so), and who need a break after such things- I will tell you when not to read. Animal variety: View Spoiler »Of the child/baby variety, though more subtle: View Spoiler »There might be more, but those are what disturbed me and hurt my heart. And, lastly, though it’s made to be overexaggerated because these people are batshit crazy, religion plays a large part in the murders/motive. Just an FYI, but it didn’t bother me and most people agree, from what I can tell. 😊

“Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time.
So why wasn’t she ever enough?

This book was beyond amazing and truly there are not enough words to express what this series has done to me. I love it, despite said flaws, with every fiber of my being. I just wish it wasn’t SO DANG SCARY so I could read it again, already. But, alas, this old girl can only handle so much, so, I’ll move forward and hope for a brave moment in the future when I can pick up my [future] hardback beauties and hug them and squeeze them to death with my affections as I read them many more times.


This book literally-and I do mean literallyscared the crap out of me. I even took precautions-I finished the last 40% in the light (I’m not dumb)-I mean, literally every light in the main part of the house was blazing. Yet, as the end neared, my breathing was labored and I couldn’t stop looking all around me for ghosts and spirits and, honestly, listening for that damnable creak in the floorboard. I couldn’t sleep a wink. My heart exploded and thundered even when the AC came on. So. Yeah. Wussiness infinity.

I went to bed thinking this was a 4-because it did have things that were a personal trigger for me-but woke up and I cannot stop thinking about this excellent, addicting gem of a book. If that’s not a 5, I don’t know what is.

“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.”

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  1. Lindsi

    I have the audio for this! I borrowed it from my library. Like you, I am easily scared. I avoid the entire horror genre, but I really like Libba Bray! I save any potentially scary books for October (also my favorite month), and just get them all out of the way at once! I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
    Lindsi recently posted…My Weekly Pull [43] & Can’t Wait Wednesday [13]My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Ahhh well I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I did!! Just so so soooo good. I have the LARGEST book hangover from this series and I have NO clue what will get me out of this funk!! I’ve not wanted to read anything else since I finished book three last week. UGHHHHH Sam and Evie are WAY too addicting.

      You’ll have to update me when you finish it…believe me, the scares are MORE than worth it! <3

  2. Raven

    I haven’t read this series but I’ve heard great things about it. Thanks for this wonderful review! It sounds like my kind of read! I’m definitely adding it to my TBR list! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…Ebba-Viva Fairisles: Stolen Princess(Pirates of Felicity#2) By Kelly St. Clare [Review]My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Ahh I hope some day you can read and love it like I did!! 😀

  3. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    The Diviners is still my favorite from the series – Naughty John is absolutely terrifying. I will admit that Sam and Evie aren’t mu ship though 🙈

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      via GIPHY

      THEN WHO IS YOUR SHIP?!!!! I cannot even….unless it’s a non-Evie ship entirely, then-MAYBE- I can forgive you. Theta, Henry, Ling, Memphis-they all deserve love, too 😉

      And omg I have to agree-the first got me the worst, followed by two….but one was more about that dang HOUSE for me. Good lord how freakin’ creepy! I could hardly breathe!

      • Amber Elise @ Du Livre

        haha it was DEFINITELY an Evie ship. I think Diviners was the scariest of the three books so far, Lair of Dreams was really emotional and the third book was just so damn sad. I think I cried at least twice. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up in the fourth book!

        • Chelsea (Peril Please)

          NOOOOO Jericho?! I actually can’t believe that (I haven’t heard anyone ship that one soooo it’s hard for me to fathom).

          Then I guess you were super upset at his turn of events.

          I love him, but not as much as the rest-to me, he is a plot device to make his and Sam’s banter funny. To be fair, though, I knew going in who MIGHT be endgame. So it wasn’t fair-I generally used to-back when I was naive-fall for the first guy-luckily I’m a crafty SOB and I try to stay streetwise….’cuz when this chick loses her ship, she gets just plain nasty 😉

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    Okay, that last gif is a bit terrifying. I FINALLY read this one around this time last year, and I’ve read the second too, but I still need to read the third. I do really love them, but they are long so it takes me a bit to get through them. Hopefully I can get all caught up by the end of the year, though who knows when the fourth book will come out. LOL

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Local Tourist: The Month of October 2018My Profile

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