First Lines: Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel beam, each tower of bricks carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting.
Eep, I’m falling behind on my reviews! Ok, so this is a mammoth book that I just had to grab when I saw it, whether I had time to read it or not. It certainly wasn’t this cover that made me pick it up, though. Jeepers, it’s…ugly.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Evie O’Neill outed herself as a Diviner after a supernatural showdown and is now known as the “Sweetheart Seer.” Media darling and new It girl, Evie has it all…except the love of the other Diviners, who are rather ticked that she’s bringing their talents to national attention. Meanwhile, pianist Henry DuBois and Ling Chan are struggling to keep their dreamwalking abilities a secret. Because as Evie is ruling New York, a deadly sleeping sickness is slowly invading the city. As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives for a life she will never have, they will have to beware. For the sleeping sickness has taken on a malevolent edge…and somehow involves a man in a stovepipe hat who reeks of mystery and danger. Can the Diviners keep their city safe?
This book was essentially what I always hope to get when I pick up a Libba Bray novel. The characters were great, the plot was entertaining, the magic was interesting without overpowering the story, and the snark from the characters was excellent. God, how I love the snark.
The multiple story lines that intertwine feel completely genius. I mean seriously, I’m pretty sure you’d have to be a genius to write it because it’s hard enough to see all the connections as a reader. We follow at least 8 different narrators throughout the story, and that’s not even counting the random characters who only show up for that chapter to narrate something! On top of that, each character knows only a portion of what is really going on and a different portion between all of them! I can only imagine what a nightmare the editing process was, but the result is genius. Kudos to all involved.
Like I mentioned, the characters are great. For following so many of them, you really do get a good sense of each one. From Sam the conman with secrets he’s desperate to hide to Memphis the healer who just wants the best for his family and for people to stop judging him because he’s black. From Evie the Sweetheart Seer who seems to be on top of the world to Ling the dreamwalker who is faced with challenges because of her Chinese heritage. I feel like I know them all.
The story was definitely interesting, though I will admit that it takes some time to really get into the story. At over 600 pages and a number of main characters, it takes a bit of time to set everything up. Still, it picks up and you become invested in them all. Normally when there are multiple narrators, I rush through some of the chapters to get back to the one that I like best, but that never happened here. I liked them all.
And the best part of it all? A cameo appearance by a character from A Great and Terrible Beauty! I. Freaked. Out. And now I really really really want to know how she ended up in New York.
Loved it. Just didn’t love the cover. For real. Can that get redesigned?