Thursday, May 29, 2014

Deux Lectrices Discuss: The Diviners by Libba Bray

We're introducing another new feature! Instead of reviewing, we'll discuss books together. Feel free to tell us your opinions and join the discussion! In our discussions, we'll choose 10 questions (usually already chosen since we're aiming for a set (layout/plan/strategy? what is that word)). The questions that each of us came up with are labeled as so. Warning: these discussion posts can get wordy so we don't blame don't blame you for skimming!

Title: The Diviners
Series: The Diviners #1
Author: Libba Bray
Release date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown & Books
Genres/Subjects: fantasy, paranormal, magic, demons, psychics

01 As the beginning of a series, how do you think it stood up? (Kaniesha's) 
- Extremely well. It's a really big book but there's a lot going on but only a handful of characters so it's easy to keep track of everything. We get to see who these characters really are and that's what I love the most about it.

- I liked it. I felt like it introduced the respective threats and showed us the powers these kids had without going overboard. It left other characters to be introduced later (the girl with the green eyes in the Chinese restaurant) and other themes to be explored (OMG, THAT WHOLE DREAM THING WHERE HENRY WAS RUNNING AROUND AND THE GIRL TOLD EVIE TO LEAVE). It made me curious about everything Bray was writing and I'm absolutely glad there are five planned books in the series because I definitely want more.

02 Do you think the book needed to be as long as it was? (Kaniesha's)
- Nah. Looking back at it now, there's only a few scenes I remember better than others, so I don't truly believe everything was necessary. But there were a lot of characters and time era building, so I was alright with it. I got really immersed into the story and I think that has a lot to do with the size. However, it's pretty daunting and I think a lot of people will look at it warily when it deserves so much more than that.

- No. I love Bray, I really do, but there were sections that could've been cut. The beginning of the Betty Sue Bowers chapter for one. I felt like Theta's background could've been integrated into a later novel. But I do understand why it's as long as it is. She had a world to build and she had to properly set up the times. If you don't do that right, you get the feeling of modern day characters walking around a modern day setting and occasionally going, "btw, it's 1929!"

03 Which scenes did you like? (Heather's) 
- Anything with Theta. She is so beautiful and badass in her classy-as-hell way. I loved it. I also really loved the horror scenes because fear, that sticks with you, and Bray wrote them so well! You know those "Nooo, don't go there. Don't do it. No no NO!" thoughts you get? I love those.

- Any scenes at the museum. I loved the little feel of a detective gang working on a mystery.

04 How did you feel about the romance? (Heather's) 
- Evie and Jericho was/were weird. There were (not so subtle) hints about Jericho's crush throughout the whole book so I was waiting for it (and hoping it wouldn't happen) but I still don't like it. Evie is too much like a bird (meaning she needs to fly and do things her own way) to be held down by a boy. I can only see her hurting him in the future.

Theta and Memphis were perrrrrrfeeect. They're fine and strong on their own but I am just too excited to see what Bray has in store for them. (Fingers crossed that it's good).

- Evie and Jericho's comes a little out of left field for me, but I can kinda get it. Theta and Memphis' I really liked because I totally believed it was in Theta's character to fall for someone like Memphis and not give a care about the social restrictions of the times.

05 What would you have liked to see more of in the book? (Heather's) 
- More information about the Diviners themselves? I guess it's more of a mystery book/series so we'll be left in the dark mostly for a while but.. it'd have been nice. Where do they come from? How do they get their powers? I need to know.

- Hmm . . . Possibly more about the various powers? Definitely more about Naughty John's three other sacrifices.

06 Have a favorite quote from the book? (Kaniesha's) 
Theta blew out another plume of cigarette smoke. "Not interested. Love's messy, kiddo. Let those other girls get moony-eyed and goofy. Me? I got plans."
A clearly intoxicated man whose face was covered in lipstick pulled out a gun and fired off shots indiscriminately. One of his bullets passed through the book of poetry in Memphis's hand. Memphis stuck his finger through the hole. "That was a library book," he said, gasping.
I picked two!

Heather -
“Some mornings, she’d wake and vow, Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves. But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing or talk a little too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? “Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?”
There's a lot I love about Evie.

07 Who's your favorite character? And the inevitable question: Why? (Kaniesha's) 
- Heather below answered before me and yes, THETA. If you can read this book and like someone more than Theta, I think you're doing it wrong. Theta is everything I want to be.

- Oh, God, the whole cast is actually really great! While we get a few answers, there's still so much to be explored with them. Sam's whole thing with his mom, Evie's personality, THETA'S EVERYTHING (IF I'M NOT WRONG, SHE HAS THE FIRST OFFENSIVE DIVINER POWER AND I WANT TO SEE MORE OF HER), Mabel and her parents (plus the mystery guy who keeps popping up~). I just want more of this series!

08 How well did you think the title of the book fit? (Heather's) 
Perfectly, of course. It's a book about Diviners.

- Pretty well. You can't really go wrong titling the book after the series' title, but also it introduced the characters and talked about what they can do.

09 Did you feel the theme of the series was executed well? (Heather's) 
I personally believe that the theme of the book is directly related to who Evie and Theta are as people. The book is mainly about Evie, who decides what she wants and goes after it with her all. Theta is a bit more sly about it but she gets what she wants in the end as well. However, all the male characters are a lot different, as if they're looking for something they can't quite find. Actually, with all of this said I think the theme is living, surviving and doing what you have to do to be happy being yourself. To do your best in comparison to yourself despite what anyone else thinks. I think Bray captures this really well.

- I felt the theme was finding out who you are and I liked it as well. Bray does a good job writing complex characters who aren't sure of themselves and try their hardest. Characters who are just unapologetically themselves even when society tells them not to be.

10 Will you read other books by Bray? (Heather's) 
Yes! I want to read Going Bovine and Beauty Queens by the end of the year.

- I've read Going Bovine, Beauty Queens, and The Diviners (twice!), and I've told Kan we're definitely going to read The Gemma Doyle Trilogy at some point for our monthly reads. But I also need The Lair of Dreams so badly. -___-

General Thoughts / Things Not Discussed Above (Kaniesha's)
- This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Everything is done so well and I ended the book wanting to just stay in this "world" that Bray created. Horror, fashion, romance, partying, fun, everything included. It's so easy to get lost in this book. I can't wait for the sequel (literally can not wait, why do I have to keep waiting?) to see where and what the characters do to continue their story.

- I NEED THE LAIR OF DREAMS SO BADLY. I bombarded Kan with theories about everything after we finished this book and I just need to know what happens next. But we have another year to wait. T___T

Also, I really hope the next cover is similar to the hardback one for TD. I don't have anything against the paperback cover, but I feel like the hardback one suits the series better.

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