An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

The Diviners

The Diviners - Libba Bray Two stars for this book (too long, over written), but I will definitely be checking out the sequel to see where Libba Bray takes this story and these characters (by far the best part of the book). I gave The Diviners two stars for the book it is on its own. But I would rate it four stars for its potential as a start to a series. (I know someone out there is thinking, why don’t I just split the difference and give it three stars, but it’s definitely not a three star book).I really wish the Diviners had been written as a set of companion novels rather than a series. In most books that clock in around 600 pages, the book is much longer than the story. The Diviners is one case where the story is much bigger than the book and really needs more space than it gets. This book spends a lot of time setting up characters who might become more relevant to the story later on, but who served little to no purpose in this book.I do appreciate that Bray’s characters are diverse.* The problem is so many characters are introduced and so many of them are inconsequential to the story and/or are murder victims and/or just don’t show up ever again that it’s difficult to keep the main characters straight and to know who is actually important. It seems that some characters who aren’t essential to the plot of this book will become important in the later books (eg Blind Bill has a somewhat interesting subplot that goes nowhere in this novel but is leading to something big), but it is a little frustrating when the story keeps cutting away to these minor characters when they aren’t related to the plot in this book.The story could have been much tighter if Bray concentrated solely on Evie and her story and cut everyone else’s subplots. There are too many characters and the book is drawn in too many directions. It takes too long to get into the plot and then the plot moves too slowly. There is also a lack of tension. The characters are often in dangerous situations, but I never felt the tension in the scenes which makes the fight/flight scenes very boring to read.The prose is overwritten at times, a problem I encountered on the second page and which never really lets up throughout the book. 20s slang is also heavily featured (to the point of distraction) at the beginning, but that drops off about halfway through. Bray clearly did her research on New York City and life in general in the 20s, but the setting added nothing unique to the plot that couldn’t be fabricated in other times (other than perhaps the lack of cellphones/internet?).Speaking of non-unique things: The Diviners does have a love triangle. One side of the triangle is hinted at throughout the book, but the other side comes out of nowhere towards the climax of the story making the triangle feel forced and lopsided. I don’t understand why Bray felt the need to include this triangle especially since there’s another romantic subplot that is more interesting and much more organic.The Diviners is a book that is very good, but I definitely would have enjoyed it more with a few changes. In the end it didn’t live up to my expectations and was a disappointment. But it’s a well-written disappointment about interesting characters. That said, I’m holding out hope that some of my favorite side characters (Theta, Memphis, and Sam Lloyd) from the Diviners feature more heavily in the sequel and will be checking it out when it’s published.*You cannot name two black characters Viola and Octavia without conjuring connections to The Help.