Tag Archives: magic

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I’ve seen this title coming through the library for a while and I’ve avoided it. I’m almost too embarrassed to tell you why, now that I’m neck deep in it and totally crazy about it. 
book cover
Okay, with the truthiness now. The cover annoyed me. I don’t like that mask that the chica has on, and yes I understand what the mask is supposed to represent, but the mask is bad. Who did the art work on that one? Seriously? Es no bueno.

Otherwise though, great story. Extra super compelling. I love a punky kind of leading lady and a goth best friend. Hilarious duo those two, with really excellent dialogue.

The writing about the cities, especially Prague, was also excellent. I definitely felt a lot of wanderlust while reading this book, Taylor does a very good job of putting you right in the middle of a city (even one you’ve not yet visited).

There are only a couple of nagging problems with this story. I am always annoyed with angels. Sorry angel people, I know you love your angel fiction, but I think it’s dumb. Unless it’s in Supernatural, then maybe we can talk about it. I just don’t get it! Why are angels sexy now? Ugh. I’m so old I guess that we’ve run through the regular gambit of supernatural creatures and have to move onto celestial ones. Frankly the chimera were much more interesting, except…

UGH. Okay. I recently read this book, Revealing Eden. Have you read it? It’s not great. Anyhow, maybe I’m just feeling hyper-sensitive to this kind of thing right now because of the blatant racism in RE, but what is the deal with the bigotry in Daughter? Why does “high human” even have to be a thing? If I were a beast I would think that human forms would be less desirable – especially if my mortal enemy looked like a human with wings? So what’s the deal? It stands to reason that deer head would be much preferable to one that looked like the dudes I have spent my whole life trying to wipe off the face of the other-earth. Bah. I don’t know wtfbbq, but it’s something that really bugged me.


Okay. Aside from those couple of faults, this is a really fun read. The ‘verse that Taylor has created is a really excellent one and the mythos involved therein is really well thought out and has few holes (except for what is mentioned above). So if you’re like me and have been putting this title off because the cover annoyed you get thee to the library to check it out, dig in and enjoy!

It’s still 2013, baby! Keep reading and stay uncomfortable!

The Diviners

Bray. L. (2012). The Diviners. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Kindle. 

Reader’s Annotation

Evie O’Neill has been sent to Manhattan from her dull home town in Ohio at the height of New York’s Golden Age. She’s a young flapper and the world is her oyster, with the one exception of her troubling gift of reading into the pasts of people if she tries hard enough, oh… and the troubling nightmares, aaaaaand then there’s the gruesome murders all over town which seem to share a link with events from 50 years prior, but other than that Evie’s posi-tutely got it covered, you bet-ski.

Plot Summary

Told from the perspective of several characters, The Diviners is an excellent story of murder, mystery and intrigue. After Evie O’Neill uses her uncanny ability to see into the past of a well to do son of a business man she is shipped off to New York City to live with her bachelor uncle Will until the scandal, and threat of libel, die down. Manhattan in the 1920s, who could ask for more? Evie is thrilled! Uncle Will is the curator of TheMuseum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, otherwise known about town as the “museum of the creepy crawlies”. Uncle Will’s dour moods and dull life as an academic don’t stop Evie from kicking up her heels and enjoying everything the dazzling city has to offer, not even a homicidal killer with ties to the occult and series of murders that took place fifty years ago can do that!

Unfortunately for Evie, Uncle Will takes the threat of the killer very seriously. He and his assistant Jericho are working the case, with some help from Evie and the enigmatic conman Sam Lloyd, and    after Evie lands in jail after a night of wild partying Uncle Will can’t take it anymore. He threatens to send Evie back to Ohio, if for no other reason than to protect her from herself. In desperation Evie confesses to her uncle that she has an uncanny ability to read people’s pasts and tells him of the troubling dream that’s been plaguing her all these long months. Evie wins her freedom and sets to work unravelling the mystery of this gruesome killer, hopefully before he can complete his task.

Critical Evaluation

Libba Bray creates a whole new world in The Diviners. She takes her readers by the hand and transports them directly into 1920s New York City. All of the subtleties are there: references to Sacco and Vanzetti and the New York Socialist Movement, Yellow Journalism, Ziegfeld Girls, speakeasies, and the language! Bray infuses Evie’s speech with all of the colloquialisms of the age, to the point of annoyance for some reviewers, really creating a girl and a city that is just the elephant’s eyebrows.

Author Information

Libba Bray was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1964. After she graduated from high school she got into a serious car accident, crushing her face and losing her left eye. It was during this time that she learned that you can write yourself out of what seems unwinnable and into something wonderful. After she finished college she moved to New York and started writing with no more than $600 to her name. She wrote 5 plays, 3 of which were produced and 1 that won an award. She’s in a YA-authored band, called Tiger Beat, with Natalie Standiford, Barnabas Miller, and Daniel Ehrenhaft. She’s written 6 books, most recently The Diviners, which came out earlier this year.


Historical Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Ties

Literary response and analysis for grades 9 and 10:

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

3.4 Determine characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.

Reading curriculum for grades 11 and 12:

1.1 Trace the etymology of significant terms used in political science and history

1.3 Discern the meaning of analogies encountered, analyzing specific comparisons as well as relationships and inferences

Literary response and analysis for grades 11 and 12:

3.3 Analyze the ways in which irony, tone, mood, the author’s style, and the “sound” of language achieve specific rhetorical or aesthetic purposes or both.

Booktalk Ideas

How does the slang from the 1920s differ from the slang young people use today?

What kind of person is Evie? Does this differ from the kind of person that she wants to be?

How did you find the historical representation of the time? Does it agree with what you know about what was happening in New York in the early years of the 1900s?

Reading Level/Interest Age 


Challenge Issues

Some patrons may take issue with the grisly murder scenes and preternatural nature of this novel. The library strives to assure its users that they are exercising free will when they check out books from our collection, only the reader and his or her parents can choose the items that are correct for them. The library neither agrees nor disagrees with the viewpoints represented in this book, but supports each reader’s right to read. This library is a supporter of the ALA Library Bill of Rights and   challenges censorship. Forms for reconsideration are available, but all final decisions are made by the director after examination by the board.

Reason for inclusion

Great book by great YA author.