Creepy crawlies and boop-oop-a-doop

A review of The Diviners by Libba Bray

I'm going to be completely honest about this: I had been looking forward to reading The Diviners for most of 2012 but when it first showed up on the hold shelf for me and I discovered it was 578 pages, I paused a little. OK, I paused a lot, like, for 28 days, and then had to bring the book back to the library without even having started it.  So I placed it on hold again and decided to dedicate myself to it when it next arrived. That time is now.

Here's the scoop: Evangeline (Evie) O'Neill gets into trouble for telling fortunes at a party in her small Ohio town. Her fortune telling skills are a little too spot-on and she finds herself facing a lawsuit. Her parents send her away to live with her uncle in New York until the scandal dies down. Her uncle runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (otherwise known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies") and it just so happens that several spooky murders have recently taken place. Evie's uncle is called in by the police to consult on the murder investigations and his spunky and helpful niece gets caught up in the investigations as well. 

I've only read a couple of books so far in 2013, but this is my first five star book of the year. Here's why:

I love Libba Bray. She's an incredibly clever writer with an expansive knowledge of whatever setting or time she chooses to write in. This lady likes to research. 

I love the setting and time period in which The Diviners takes place. 1920s Manhattan. Prohibition is in full swing. Flappers. Gin. Ziegfeld Follies. You get the picture.

I love the subject matter. Diviners. Mystics. Soothsayers. Oracles. Seers. Fortune tellers. Again, you get the picture. In addition, I can only believe that Ms. Bray is paving the way for a whole group of jaunty guys and dolls-type "X-Men" with healing powers, the ability to disappear, burn things, and more, in the future books in this series. This excites me.

And finally, it's a truly excellent mystery. The author's Gemma Doyle Victorian mystery trilogy is hard to beat, but I think she's topped herself here. I cannot wait to find out what's next for Evie and her gang of Jazz Age superheroes.