Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. 592 p. 2012. Little, Brown. Hardcover $19.99. ISBN 9780316126113.

What can I say about The Diviners? It's like Libba Bray sat down and said, "Now, Allison, I know you're a big fan of my work. What would YOU like me to put in my next book?" Because I swear this book was practically tailor-made for me! Let's take a little inventory of the things I loved about this book:

  • Extensively researched 1920s setting. 
  • Plucky heroine with snappy dialogue. 
  • Diverse cast of characters. 
  • Fascinating Victorian/early 20th century spiritualism.

Yep, it's awesome! And creepy. Awesomely creepy! Creepily awesome? It may seem a little daunting at nearly 600 pages, but the intricate plot and strong pacing kept me riveted. Bray introduces a large cast of characters, and juggles their intertwining storylines with grace. This is the first volume in a four-book series, and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.  

I was thrilled to get a chance to meet Libba earlier this year at the ALA Annual Conference and chat with her about The Diviners. She is just as awesome as you would expect!

While I was reading The Diviners, I kept thinking about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, a small retailer that creates all-natural, hand-blended perfume oils with a "dark, romantic Gothic tone." I could see the Lab having a field day crafting the most incredibly evocative scents to compliment the eerie imagery from this book. In fact, there are already several scents in the Black Phoenix catalog that remind me of The Diviners. For example...

Lush parlor rooms draped in thick velvets and gilded in gold, unearthly whispering in the distance, fleeting flashes of wraithlike figures rushing just outside your vision, the chill of a phantom presence brushing by your cheek, the inscrutable knowledge that disembodied eyes are peering at you from darkened corners-- this is the essence of Victorian-era spiritualism: rosewood, oak and teak notes with wispy blue lilac, tea rose, dried white rose and ethereal osmanthus.

Deep, mysterious, and full of dark portents: oakmoss, juniper berry, myrrh and patchouli.

Sleek, dark, and ominous. Violet and neroli mingled with iris, white sandalwood and dark musk.

A sultry, exotic scent that inspires devious plotting and clandestine affairs. It is a scent painted in artifice, veiled in deceit, and slithering with whispered secrets. Black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes.

A quiet scent, soft, calm and enigmatic. A perfume of mystery, of whispers, and of secrets behind secrets. White sandalwood, lilac, gardenia, violet, orris, lavender and ylang ylang.

Are you convinced that Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab goes perfectly with The Diviners? Then I have a giveaway for you!

This giveaway includes the following:
  • Diviners pendant on a black cord, in a small burlap bag.
  • Sample vials of Ouija, Veil, and a few other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes that remind me of The Diviners. (To be honest, I have quite a collection of sample vials, so I'll throw in some random ones just for fun!) 

To enter, just comment on this post and tell me:
1. Your favorite thing about The Diviners (or what you're most looking forward to about this book, if you haven't read it yet).
2. The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scent that tempts you the most. (Take some time, browse their catalog! They offer hundreds of scents and the descriptions are alluring. And no, I am not affiliated with this company in any way- just a big fan.)

Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so I can contact the winner. Contest is open to US residents only. Enter by November 8th for your chance to win.


  1. You, my dear, are the biggest enabler. I blame you for my Twilight fixation. And then you and Jessica got me hooked on BPAL. And now I have The Diviners sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read. Oh, and also, I just finished Grave Mercy. It's all your fault. :-)

  2. Hi! I am loving your blog, there is a lot of good recommendations on here. I just downloaded Possess because I read your review. And now, I'm going to have to get The Diviners next. I enjoy reading about the twenties here in America so this seems interesting, especially with the elements of creepiness and spiritualism you have described.

    I am also a fan of BPAL, but haven't been able to afford anything in a while. The scent that tempts me the most is Zombi. I love the roses enhanced by the smell of fresh dirt after a recent rain. The dirt smell might not seem appealing, but it really enhances the scent when combined with the deep rich tones of the rose.

    My email address is The Ouija scent sounds absolutely divine! Thank you for this opportunity!

  3. I am DYING to read The Diviners! I'm currently in the middle of A Great and Terrible Beauty and absolutely LOVE Libba Bray's voice! That, combined with the 1920s setting (SWOON!), is what I'm most looking forward to when I FINALLY get my hands on this book.

    I'm also a big fan of the BPAL. I'm currently coveting a number of scents in the Wanerlust scents. In particular, I'd really love to purchase (when I can) New Orleans. Or maybe Amsterdam...

    1. CRAP. My email: tina_crossgrove(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. I have not read The Diviners yet, but it is the next book on my list,i really like that it is set in the 1920's.Iam a fan of BPAL and Snake Oil tempts me the most.

  5. This is awesome!! I adore Libba Bray and just saw The Diviners in a bookstore the other day and almost fell over with excitement. I can't wait to read it, I have it reserved at the library. What am I most looking forward to about it? Everything! If I have to pick, the setting and time period. I devoured the Gemma Doyle series and often wished Bpal would make sents for the main characters!
    Favorite Black Phoenix scent is hard...I'd say Snake Oil and Sugar Moon 08 but there's a lot I'd like to get my hands on. My e-mail address is

  6. I read that book, and it's great and enjoyable to read, and also I recommend to others, I found that book when I try to search some topics for my essay, and finally found that from write my essay for me cheap uk, and this place it pretty wonderful too.


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