The Divinity of the Diviners – Series Review!

audiobook2What a devilishly delightful series! Amazingly atmospheric and pos-i-tutely petrifying at times, this 1920s New York ghost story will give you a run for your money. I listened to the audiobooks for this series and every step of the way was a real showstopper. January Lavoy did an unbelievable job bringing the world, characters and writing to life! It’s the best performance I’ve heard in a while!

While this does carry a lot of the hallmarks of YA- which we’ll get to later- this certainly stands out from the crowd. Taking countless twists and turns, these books are jam packed with plots and subplots. Admittedly that’s because these are hefty tomes, so if you pick them up, you’ll be in it for the long haul (especially if you go with the audiobook version- which I’ll push forever 😉).

However, given this is such a character driven story, a lot of the time is spent getting to know the stars of the show inside and out. For me, what makes these books special is how much each of the personalities shine in turn. I especially loved book 2, Lair of Dreams, with its focus shifting to my favourites, the adorably debonair Henry and the lovely Ling! Even my least favourite heroine, the rather sanctimonious Mabel, had a real crisis of personality, realising she couldn’t just believe in her own goodness to win out. And that’s just one example of the brilliant multi-faceted complexity! 

I also loved that these books were brimming with romantic subplots. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, it even had a love triangle that really works! Not only was it done in a believable way, it also doesn’t contain cheating! (it doesn’t hurt that my ship sailed!) And if that trope doesn’t tempt you (which I get) then have no fear- this also has forbidden love, hate to love, fake dating, slow burn and more!

Now, for me, there were a few downsides. As much as I appreciated the general idea that history rises from the grave and that we have to learn to hear the ghosts of our past, I did think the messaging took over from time to time. Once again, this was a case of me not enjoying the insertion (of what was ostensibly modern) politics into fiction. Granted, I believe there was an attempt at rousing people into being better… but when there are passages on the tragedy of massacred buffalo, I had to come to the conclusion that this was not about taking the good with the bad. This was the story of a nation that has fallen out of love with itself. Perhaps it is witnessing the fires burning from across the pond, but I personally find that rather depressing.

Then there was the ending. Though I divined bits and pieces, I didn’t entirely see where it was heading. There was betrayal, heartbreak and horror. I thought victory would come at a high cost indeed… until a last second change that robbed me of that emotional impact. Now, entering *spoiler territory*, so highlight to read on… I personally felt like it made sense to have Isaiah defeat the King of Crows. When he realised that there was no story in the coat, it was reminiscent of the boy in Emperor’s New Clothes. But to have Isaiah come back from the dead just felt cheap. Yes, it was in the spirit of the story, yet it would have been better for the story to have him defeat the villain purely for the good of his family and move on. Dark as that might have been, the story would have been more beautiful for it.

Still, even if it wasn’t perfect, I enjoyed the hell out of this series! It delivered every emotion, from genuine *chills* to romantic *feels*. The perfect YA series for Spooktober that’s for sure. And I really can recommend the audiobook version- it was ab-so-lutely the cats pyjamas!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So, have you read the Diviners series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Sadie: Some Stories Just Need to be Heard

 

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EPISODE 1

[Soundtrack plays]

Orangutan Librarian:

I’m not much for audiobooks- I’ve rarely given them a chance and mostly only used them to squeeze in some non fic I wouldn’t otherwise read… until now.

sadie

Sometimes a book comes along and it completely changes your perception of things. It makes you open your eyes and your ears and wake up. Sadie did that for me in more ways than one.

The story itself is hard to listen to. There is no way around that fact. It’s the story of missing girls- a disappearance layered on top of a murder mystery. Of course, I was aware while listening that this was not a true story, but what struck me was that it all too easily could have been. And that, to me, is why this is such an important book. It strikes at the reality for too many girls; it brings such an important topic to light (and to life).

Often, when I’m listening to a book, I’ll want to speed up the book, so I cram in as much as possible, as fast as I can- but I didn’t do that here. I wanted to savour every moment of this agonising, engrossing, devastating story. To engage with this is like witnessing a train crash- you know it will have a horrible outcome, but you can’t tear yourself away.

The tension is made even greater thanks to the inclusion of Sadie’s story. Flashing back in time, before the podcast takes place, we hear Sadie talking in her authentically teen voice. In stark contrast to the radio show host, her words are stuttered and frayed and sharp around the edges. We don’t get a clear or concise narrative from her. It’s not an account polished up for the media. It’s every bit as raw and emotional as you’d expect.

Thanks to the author’s brilliance, we get to the heart of this complex character and vivid images of the people she meets along the way. The different styles blend perfectly and this is what makes the audiobook so mind-blowingly good. Rather cleverly, this even included ads like a real podcast! For the first time on this blog (and probably not the last) I’d say it’s 100% worth trying the audiobook version. It’s an experience.

An experience that admittedly just about broke me. Because naturally I was sobbing by the end and I’ve been struggling to write the review because I tear up every time I think about it. It is worth every bit of the hype- and then some. Sadie is beautiful and sad and simply amazing. Read, or better still, listen to it.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Did it make you an emotional wreck like it did me? Let’s cry about it some more in the comments!