Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: Before the Devile Breaks You by Libba Bray

*** This is the third book in a series. If you have not read The Diviners and Lair of Dreams proceed with caution, there may be spoilers. Also, read those books because they are amazing. ***

Title: Before the Devil Breaks You
Series: The Diviners #3
Written by: Libba Bray

Published: October 3, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: New York City.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

I love this series so much and thereforeI was anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. After two years and couldn’t wait to read this one. It was another inventive story from Libba Bray with great characters.

In three books I have become incredibly attached to these characters. This is a book with a ton of different characters and a ton of different perspectives. I am not always a fan of that but I think in this case I enjoyed it because I really do just live all these characters. Some more than others, of course, but in general I think every character is fantastic and complex. With each book different characters get more of the focus and attention. This book gives us a lot more of Theta which was amazing and Mabel which was interesting. There was also plenty of Sam which I appreciated. And while each character was good on their own, they were even better together. They all have great banter and relationships. Plus they make a great team.

But the other great thing about this book is the world building. I’m a big fan of historical fantasies and this book is a perfect example as to why. It’s the kind of book that balances history, mystery, and fantasy. The historical setting here is New York in the 1920’s. Which is such a lush setting prime for adventure and intrigue. Libba does a fantastic job at immersing the reader in that world with the slang from the time and incorporating actual things from the time including flappers, jazz clubs, the Follies, and more. It’s such an interesting and fun period and this book definitely takes advantage of that.

But there are also fantastic supernatural and mystery elements to this book. Here we get to learn a lot about The Diviners and their powers. I really enjoyed getting a bit it of history and learning more about Project Buffalo. There is still a lot more to learn but I am very intrigued by where and how it is all going. And then there is the supernatural elements. Of course we have the Dinivers powers and seeing them use them which was really interesting but there wasn’t a lot of attention on them. There was also plenty of ghosts and those sorts of elements here but this book was definitely not as spooky and scary as the two previous books. It really downplayed the horror elements I think. There supernatural elements but I didn’t find myself on edge in the way I was previously. I think probably this one felt more fantasy and less horror.

I will say, however, that my biggest criticism of this book is that the overall plot here wasn’t as good for me because it didn’t fell very self-contained. The thing about this book is that it didn’t have it’s own storyline really. It built on elements and storylines from the first two books and set things up for the final book in the series but it didn’t really have something unique to itself. The plot was good and it was interesting but I just wish it had something a little bit more two it. More of it’s mystery maybe, more to solve, more or a big reveal. Just more.

But I also want more because I want the final book in this series. The way this book ended I am really itching for the final book in the series to find out what happens to these characters that I love. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for it.

Overall this was a good book with great characters, an engaging historical setting, engrossing fantasy and mystery element. It was another good book in a fantastic series that I am completely committed to and engaged in.

I give Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you liked the first two books in this series definitely check this one out. And if you like historical fantasies and haven’t read this one then don’t waste any more time and read it.

Have you read Before the Devil Breaks You? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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