The Diviners by Libba Bray Review 

  
Synopsis – 

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. 
Goodreads rating – 3,96/5 stars

My review –

I absolutely loved this book, to the point where it may be one of my favourite reads of the year! Libba Bray’s writing was beautiful and I thought that the characters were great, especially Evie and Memphis. I will admit that It was a bit slow to start but when it picked up I couldn’t put it down and flew through it in two days, which was surpring considering the book is almost 600 pages long.  The World building was great and plot was pretty good too, even if it was a little difficult to keep up with in the first 100 pages. Overall the novel was enjoyable! 

 The references to the Bible and the really intense and realistic  occult setting was a pretty big part of plot and certainly made the book creepy and entertaining . Reading this book in the 21 century is great, because Libba Bray was able to really make the novel authentic. The idea of religion being a big aspect of their lives, the introduction of science as an evolutionary explanation, sexism and racism were all portrayed really well. At some points I was cringing because if we acted the way the characters  did in this novel in our modern day society we would have to deal with major consequences. 

What I loved about the characters was that each one was so perfectly crafted and had such vivid personalities that you couldn’t get them confused. Evie was portrayed as a typical flapper from the 1920’s – selfish, naive, and quite a trouble maker! She was full of life, which had a strong influence on the characters she meets and her own character development throughout the novel. Memphis is an African American teenager living in Harlem, where he is trying his best to take care of his brother and write poetry in his free time. I loved the idea of “forbidden love” in the 1920’s and how everyone’s stories were somehow connected. 

Naughty John is the antagonist of the novel and just wow… Did he scare the living day lights out of me. I was warned against reading this book in the dark and I will carry on those words of wisdom. The thing that made this book so real and touching for me was the authenticity. That is also what makes it so creepy and horrifying because Naughty John believes with every ounce of his being that what he is doing is the right thing, the will of God, and it is necessary to humanity. This can strongly be related to the problems we have in our modern day society with ISIS, who attack innocent people because they believe that it is the will of God, and could be classified as a cult. This book really does make you think outside of the box. 

My rating – 4,5/5 stars 

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The Jewel – Amy Ewing Review 

  
Synopsis – 

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. 

Goodreads rating – 3,82/5 stars 

My review – 

The storyline of the book is very original. I’ve never read a book like this before but the writing did remind me of The selection by Kiera Cass as did the main character. I was very intrigued with the story when I started to read it and I couldn’t stop. The idea of young girls having to carry the royalty’s babies was certainly unusual and a refreshing read. It’s a very easy read, though it go a little complicated at some point with the world building, overall the writer did a great job creating the image of this society. I really really liked this book and I can’t wait to know how the story develops in the next two books. 

The downside of this book was the main character – Violet, our heroine, was a little boring. Nothing about her made her stand out in any way.  The author obviously tried to make her unique by naming her Viole because eyes are like a light purple, violet color. However this just makes the novel seem childish and unoriginal. 

So other than the boring name, Violet is just like any other protagonist. She’s kind, puts her loved ones first, naive and stupid when it comes to boys and romance. Why do all YA novels have a naive and stupid protagonist that turns out to be extremely brave. They can never create a character with a unique personality. Being at an institution with only girls for the majority of her teenage life, may have had an effect on her teenage brain,but STILL! She’s a surrogate in a royal house, completely aware that she is not allowed to have a relationship with anyone and what does she do? Find “forbidden” romance.

Overall I did enjoy the book and am very excited to read the second book! I would recommend it, but it is not very original. The storyline is, but the characters are so boring, but it’s a fun read. 

My rating – 4/5 stars 

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