After waiting in line for nearly 2 hours at BEA 2012, I figured I had to give this book a shot. Back in 2006 when REBEL ANGELS came out, I’d tried to read A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (the name alone made me want to read it). And I just couldn’t get into it. I haven’t picked up a Libba Bray book since. But boy, am I glad I did!
A great evil is coming upon the world. It’s up to a select few (known as the Diviners) to help stop that evil.
The book has a slew of characters, but focuses on the story of Dr. William Fitzgerald, his neice Evie O’Neill, his ward Jericho Jones, and pick-pocket Sam Lloyd. They must stop the ghost of John Hobbes from bringing about the apocolypse – in the name of Christ. Can they do it in time? (Sure they can!)
I liked it. I love the spiritualism movement of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, so I’m always drawn to that type of storyline. Bray weaves the idea of spiritualism into the novel flawlessly. And she writes it so that “beginners” of the idea will understand. It’s explained as the characters are finding out more about their abilities and what they are able to do.
The plot with John Hobbes was really interesting. It all comes to a head at the climax of the book, of course. However, the ending (SPOILER ALERT) leaves the reader guessing if he’s really, really gone or not. Maybe it’s just me – but I was a little confused about the Man in the Stovepipe Hat. However, this does set up for a second book.
The characters are great. I loved every single one of them. However, I think Bray could have left out the lesser important characters to cut down on pages. Most of the characters – I have a feeling – will end up showing up in subsequent books, but she could have focused on just illustrating the main characters and their “gifts” without getting into backstory about minor characters. (Truthfully, I’m thinking for those readers that will look at a 577 page book and freak out.)
Overall, it’s a great read. I think that most young adults might be put off by the largeness of the book, unless they’re avid readers. For that reason, more adults might pick it up. It certainly has adult appeal. I’ll recommend it to both, even those adults who don’t usually read YA.
In case you missed it, Katie’s review can be read here.
Keep an eye out – After the Last Page might be doing its first giveaway of a signed ARC of the Diviners in the next few weeks!