Here’s our spoiler-free review of The Diviners by Alesha Escobar Get your copy by becoming a member today and then join us in the member portal to get your questions answered by Alesha!

Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt, Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts, Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts

Kelsey Diviner is from a long line of powerful shamans. Magic has been part of her life whether she wants it or not. Now 24 years old, Kelsey has accepted her lineage and begun to train under her father. While much of her work includes restoring the mind, body, and souls of her clients, there is the occasional ghost to deal with. Oh and the Night Lord, the shaman-draining monstrosity from another plane, is trying to enter the human realm.

Between the unknown motivations of a tech billionaire, the shaky morality of a supernatural-crime-fighting organization, and the threat of the Night Lord, Kelsey is lucky to have her family to lean on while she grows in power and learns to use her skills. She also forges relationships with the people around her, which she’ll need when her father is threatened.

Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts, Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts

The first thing that captured my imagination was the spirit world. I love when magic is around any corner of our real world, and some people can pierce the veil and see beyond the mundane. That also means that danger is beyond every corner, too, and Alesha Escobar writes some good monsters!

I also like when the capricious, inhuman nature of spirits, gods, and others are revealed. Kelsey can’t just control the Air, it has to be in a good mood first! Likewise, her father’s familiar won’t accept her right off the bat, no matter how long he’s known her.

Another concept I liked was the idea that trauma harms the soul and the mind, but that good deeds can help heal a person.

But really it was Kelsey who drew me in. Kelsey has already had her rebellion — at 14 she decided not to be a shaman, and left her father’s house. But now she’s returned, accepting herself and her powers. Unfortunately, the ten years she spent as a normal person meant she wasn’t training her powers, so she isn’t a full-strength shaman. But she does know who she is, and where she wants to be. She’s still discovering herself but she’s grounded, and powerful, and decisive.

I also liked that things don’t necessarily come easily to Kelsey. She’s not a Chosen One stereotype, she has to learn and earn her skills like a normal person. But you can tell, one day she’s going to be as formidable a shaman as her grandma.

For all these reasons, The Diviners gets 15/15 on the Scale:

Her Story Arc Scale of Inclusivity image, a yellow number 15 inside of a pink Venus symbol

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