“What's not to like about this book? It is set in the 1920s, there is mystery, a variety of characters and an interesting plot. I loved the main character Evie; spontaneous, outgoing and a lot of fun to read. This was a long book but it was enjoyable and I don't and that it is the beginning of a...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“Wow, 578 pages later...what a waste.
“What's not to like about this book? It is set in the 1920s, there is mystery, a variety of characters and an interesting plot. I loved the main character Evie; spontaneous, outgoing and a lot of fun to read. This was a long book but it was enjoyable and I don't and that it is the beginning of a series. ”Emily P wrote this review 5 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wow, 578 pages later...what a waste.
This book was highly touted, I however did not like it. Maybe because I am not much of a fan of fantasy.
If you want a view of what the roaring 20s might have been, this is okay for that.
I liked Going Bovine, alot, but his book of Libba Brey just isn't my cup of tea.”
“So far this historical fiction is amazing. Love the battle between good and evil, the supernatural elements and the Roaring twenties! Quite a mix and as always Bray is a master storyteller. ”Kirsten Down wrote this review 7 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really enjoyed it. YA
Enjoyed the time period and characters.”
“Great entry for Bray in the Historical Fiction Horror genre! I have not been a huge Libba Bray fan in the past, but I really liked this flapper-era story based in NYC. It follows several intersecting story lines, but the main character is Evie O'Neill a plucky young woman of 17 sent to live with her uncle in New York after running into some trouble in her hometown in Ohio. Evie is able to "read" items and see into a person's life. After her uncle gets called in to consult on a murder investigation, Evie and several other characters become involved in a chase to stop a serial killer. First in a series.”Jennifer B wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Totally brilliant!”Mrs. French wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a great book! pretty lengthy, but worth it. I listened to the audio book and I highly recommend it, a great performance! This story takes place during the roaring twenties with Evie O'Neill being sent to Manhattan after a social mishap in Ohio to live with her bachelor Uncle and foster son Jericho. Evie re-connects with an old friend living in the same apartment building, Mable, and meets new friends such as Theta and Henry. during the day she helps her Uncle out at his museum, Museum of the creepy crawlies as they call it. A serial murderer is on the loose and they use Evie's uncle to help solve the mysterious natures of each victim. Read this book to find out if they find the killer, and how Evie has a special gift that isn't so special in Manhattan; it seems as though everyone has a secret to hide. Great read for ages 13 and up! Mystery, suspense, spooky and historically fitting! ”Ms. Schirm wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“YA novel”Mona R wrote this review 13 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Find my full review on my blog: http://667bakerstreet.blogspot.com/
Characters: This was flaw Number One of this book: none of the characters are likable. And in a book that has about ten different protagonists - maybe more; I didn’t count, - one should be able to like at least one of them. Evie O’Neill, the main protagonist, is selfish, spoiled, frivolous, immature, causes a lot of her own problems by making very stupid decisions, and in short the sort of protagonist I hate. That said, I have to admit that there was something about her vivacity and spunk that I did find somewhat appealing. She was a genuine flapper girl, and I have to admit that when I was a teenager, I wanted to be a flapper (albeit a well-behaved one). Still, I can’t say that I liked Evie. I was able to tolerate her, and if it weren’t for the story’s other flaws, I would have been okay with this. But I so desperately wanted a character that I could actually like! Sam Lloyd was kind of funny, but I didn’t care much about him, or Jericho. Theta had too many problems, Henry . . . Well, he had problems, too, and Memphis was just plain two-dimensional - not to mention pointless. I kept waiting for him to do something useful - something important, - and he never did. I liked Naughty John - the villain - from the standpoint that he was a genuinely creepy dude, but even he had his flaws (more on that later). Mabel was okay, but a bit of a stick in the mud, and a socialist.
The Romance: The promised love triangle between Jericho, Evie, and Sam wasn’t horribly prominent in this installment of the series, which I was glad. Jericho, I’ll admit, would be good for Evie. He might calm her down, make her a bit more mature and responsible. While the relationship between her and Sam just seemed like a “really good friends” sort of relationship. Almost a brother-sister attachment. I could see this love triangle getting very annoying in the future.
Plot: Serial murders in 1926 New York City! A creepy, mysterious guy called Naughty John! Characters with mysterious powers that sometimes do more harm than good! Sounds exciting, right? Especially the murder part - I love murder mysteries that take place in an exciting era like 1926. Well, if the plot hadn’t been so massively steeped in Satanic powers and evil, vengeful spirits manifesting the Beast on Earth through ritualistic sacrifices, the plot might have appealed to me more. For people who aren’t bothered by demonic imagery, they will probably really enjoy the plot, but I personally have an issue with such stuff, especially considering how immersed The Diviners was in it. I couldn’t read this book before bed, and it isn’t because I am easily scared. It left me disturbed in a wholly negative way; I didn’t want my dreams filled with such dark, downright evil imagery. Naughty John is genuinely scary, as I said, and it’s because he is spirit accidentally released during a party, and Naughty John goes about his Satanic business, trying to bring about Armageddon and manifest the Beast to devour sinners. The fact that this was literal, and not just some crazy killer pretending to have mystical, demonic powers, is what made it too much. It’s one thing to have a serial killer who thinks he can call down demons, or is trying to convince the world that he can, and it’s another to actually have spirits and demonic powers at work. That said, I’ll admit that the story wasn’t boring. At 578 pages, one might suspect that the story lags, and the book probably could have been edited down by a few 100 pages (considering how little Memphis does, most of his scenes could have been cut). But it isn’t really necessary, because it doesn’t screech to a halt at any point. I kept wondering what would happen next, who would be killed next - because this Author isn’t afraid to kill somewhat prominent characters off, - and just in general, curious to see how much weirder things would get.
Believability: We’re dealing with spirits and demons and supernatural powers; believability isn’t entirely applicable.
Writing Style: This is where the story won. It is very clear that the Author was in love with the era she set the story in. Her writing made the 1920s pop and sparkle in such a way that I was completely swept away. She was spot on with the slang, and the air thrummed with the jazz beat and old classic radio songs. Really, the writing surprised me; from the very first sentence, I was captivated. However. The Author also suffered greatly from interjecting her personal opinions throughout the story. She hammered every possible minority issue that she could with no respite, and she attacked practically every form of Christianity, portraying the Christians the protagonists encountered as either completely batty or judgmental, rude, and violent to the point of being criminal. None of her protagonists believed in God, and every single one of them made a point to make comments to the effect of, “What’s the point? God can’t exist because he won’t give me handouts and won’t fix all of my problems.” For someone who doesn’t seem to care for sermons, she sure as heck does a lot of preaching. She hits all of the big issues: gays, abortion, racial abuse, religious intolerance, unions (in support, naturally), rich people and industry, eugenics - all of the big tickets. While I agree with the characters on eugenics being ridiculous, it was also an unnecessary addition; the scene in which eugenics is addressed is completely pointless and seemed to only be there so the Author could preach about something else - as if she hadn’t done enough of that already. While writing about certain eras, I realize that certain issues cannot be totally ignored. Set a story in William Wallace-era Scotland, you can’t ignore the general Scottish opinion of the conquering English. But there’s a difference between acknowledging the era’s political and social issues and getting on top of a wagon and raging against it.
Content: 1 g--damn. The Author addresses a lot of delicate things in the book: physical abuse, abortion, homosexuality, hallucinogenic drugs, gristly murders, and of course spiritualism. For the most part, she doesn’t go into details, except with the spiritualism. I have expressed already my thoughts on the demonic imagery, and I will just stress again that on this point she doesn’t shy away from dark and nightmarish descriptions. For anyone who is bothered by such things, they’ll definitely be disturbed by it.
Conclusion: To be fair, the Author blessedly didn’t drag out the final showdown between Naughty John and the protagonists, and she wraps up each important character’s stories in a very neat manner, setting the stage for the sequel with lots of foreshadowing. It makes for a tidy and comprehensive end, and I did like that. But my overall thoughts on the book: the writing style was beautiful - I absolutely adored it. But the book is filled to the brim with Satanic content, the Author gets preachy to a point that it feels like she’s hitting her Readers over the head with a sledgehammer, and none of the characters are especially likable.
Recommended Audience: For people who aren’t disturbed by demonic imagery and don’t mind the Author inserting her own opinions, they’ll be able to enjoy this book, because it is a good mystery and the 1920s are brought to life with amazing descriptions. Girl-and-guy read, older teens due to content and imagery.”
“Your mission Libba Bray, should you choose to accept it, is to write a historical fiction novel that will be interesting to today’s teens. As always, should you fail in this mission, the publisher will disavow any knowledge of your actions and promptly remainder all unsold copies. Mission Accomplished! Good listen on Playaway.”Joy A wrote this review 4 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No