BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba BrayBefore the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)
by Libba Bray
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Synopsis:

New York City.
1927.
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.

 


A thin stream of tears trickled down his cheek. He tapped his head gently against the back of his chair: “The land is old, the land is vast, he has no future, he has no past, his coat is sewn with many woes, he’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows.… He’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows, King of Crows, King of Cr—”

Tell me. Tell me what’s next. Tell me what to do. Tell me what to do with my life. I spent a month reading this series, and it’s almost as if I’ve lost a family member now that I’m all caught up. And, more than that, I have no desire whatsoever to read. It’s as if food has lost its taste. As if the wind and the trees and the birds singing are nothing. Life has lost all meaning.

This was what Henry ran from. This was what the jokes masked. It wasn’t callousness. It was pain and loss so great he could only let it in a little at a time, filtered through the safety of melody and rhythm.

Okay. Whatever. I’m eating a home-baked cookie right now that defies all logic of deliciousness that I just found the recipe for BUT YOU GET MY POINT. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.

I had a whole list planned for the month of October-no real set reading order, I just knew that I at least wanted to get Hidden Bodies and The Diviners read-I’d heard nothing but amazing things about the The Diviners, only that it was scary-ish and beyond addiciting, so I knew I had to save it for now, when I had an excuse to scare the living crap out of me. So I decided to start it first-seemed logical? Then I could read the second one in the middle of the month and the third at the end, for Halloween.

“Why would somebody put that here?” Memphis said. “It doesn’t look like the others. The others are hopeful. This…” He shuddered. “This is a nightmare.”
“Hey! Come see what I found,” Jericho called.
Sam turned to Memphis. “See, when somebody says that to me in a dirty, creepy hole of a cellar, my first inclination is to run.”

Well *bleep* sakes, I couldn’t wrap my head around any other book after I had put down the first and I just knew what I had to do-Binge read for the first time in YEARS. And see? SEE WHY I DON’T DO THIS?? Well, and, to be fair, no series has made me WANT to binge in this manner in forever. Like…WHY.

Jericho glared. “It’s more complicated than black and white, good and evil. Don’t forget: Jake Marlowe saved my life once upon a time.”
“And for that you owe him your blind loyalty?”
“Okay. You two crazy kids,” Sam said, laughing nervously. “Tell me the truth: What have you both got against fun? Was it a childhood trauma? There is no prohibition against fun. Yet.”

And here I am writing an incoherent review that really isn’t necessary but really is necessary because this is my last outlet for fangirling about my lovable and amazing FAMILY. Yeah. I’ve upgraded them. They are truly my life my love and my sole reason for living, atm. But then there are darker things that surround this series, such as the wait for the final book, the sadness at the end, and, once again, how scary it was and the many, many deaths.

A guard waited at the front gate. He frowned. “Only Miss Knight is expected.”
“Oh, but I’m her sister and her chaperone,” Evie bluffed, putting a hand to her chest as if the idea of Theta going into the Hollywood viper pit unaccompanied was unthinkable. “And this lovely lady is her secretary, Miss Ling Chan, and this is her personal seamstress, Miss Mabel Rose.”
“I’ve made all of Miss Knight’s costumes for the Follies,” Mabel said, falling right in. “I love to sew.”
The guard eyed Ling suspiciously. “And I love to… secretary.”

These are some dark books, and I think people should know that. It’s YA, but I think it pushes that envelope. I mean, it’s not TOO much, but it just is very dense and it covers a lot of topics. I never expected that-I never expected to care about so many things…yet here I am, loving every little thing about it-aside from the darkness of animals. I just do not like the mauling of innocent things. And perhaps I’m too tender-hearted, but I refuse to think any differently. If this was gotten rid of, and less child death (I don’t have any specifics for you, just know that it does happen and it is NOT shied away from), I really would have zero complaints besides wanting to sleep with all the lights on.

“You see him?” Sam asked as they peeked around a noisy boiler.
“Huh-uh. And I don’t like basements. Nothing good happens in basements. That’s where one-toothed murderers always live,” Evie whispered. “In basements.”
“Well, my mother used to put pickled herring in our basement,” Sam said, inching forward.
“See what I mean? If it’s not ghosts and one-toothed murderers, it’s pickled herring.”

And it’s no secret that I am in a legion of rabid fans who would DIE to see Sam and Evie together…but do we get to see that in this book? Or does she end up with Jericho? Or neither? And what the heck happens at the end that effected everyone so? These are the questions that should plague those who haven’t gotten around to this beauty yet (or so I think AHHAAHA).

He opened the door and held out the rose. “Welcome.”
“Aww, Freddy, you shouldn’t have,” Sam said, taking the rose and threading it through the buttonhole of his coat. “This is so sudden! I don’t know what to say. Oh, okay. You’ve won me over, you big brute. The answer is yes.”
With that, Sam jumped into Jericho’s arms.

I honestly was expecting something a bit…bigger. But, as always, I am a peril loving fiend and, though this was dark as dark gets, it wasn’t big enough to make me go crazy-though I did love it wholeheartedly all the same. I’m sorry, I’m just waiting for some hero saving the damsel in distress to happen, and I haven’t gotten that yet-and I don’t think I’m likely to…and it kind of bothers me. I don’t know why, but I just really expected that to happen, at least once. And the two opportunities where I expected it to happen, it didn’t. Poo.

But nothing was braver than letting somebody really know you, warts and all. Nothing was braver than trying to love and be loved.

No, Libba is more about the subtle chaos and mayhem and destruction of our souls-and this seems to really resonate with people. I don’t know, something about it being more realistic *mumbles to self* Hmph. That’s not to say I didn’t love the ending, though, because I did. Either way, this book is by far the darkest, and I suppose I never expected it to be so bleak.

And I really really really wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something about my baby Sam-What?! I’ve been so so good, haven’t I? I love all my characters, I really do, but Sam and Evie just shine. They are my absolute favorites and they never cease to make me smile. And I think their character growth over the last three books has been wonderful-if not even separately, together.

They have the most wonderful relationship and it radiates warmth and glows like the sun, even as Evie rolls her eyes and acts as if she can’t be bothered by it all. She has her eyes set on Jericho this whole book…and it literally kills Sam. My heart. I LOVE IT SO HARD.

“Well, maybe you can give him a noodge?”
“A what?”
“A noodge. A little prodding,” Sam explained. “I’m getting antsy here.”
“Fine. I’ll send him an urgent letter.” At the door, she wrinkled her nose. “Noodge? Is that a real word?”
“It’s Yiddish. Like… Ikh hob dikh lib.”
Evie narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “What does that mean?”
Sam smiled. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you.”

Their friendship, despite the banter (or maybe because of it), is so strong and they clearly have a strong connection-something that has grown from the last book that they never wanted, needed, or anticipated. It just…it rings wonderfully authentic and precious and you can’t help but love them, even if they don’t end up together, and even more if they do. He will always support her no matter her horrible decisions, and he’ll always implore her to be herself, because who else should she be but the girl he thinks is just the best? And it’s for this reason I am ride or die, and I it really makes my love for this series infinite with it’s exponential growth-and don’t even get me started on how wonderful Evie is and how she has become someone to love and admire, even when she’s being silly (which I’ve always loved).

“But I got my own kind of smarts, from the streets, and when I go after something, well, just try’n shake me off. I’m an odd fella, but I know I’m an odd fella. What I can’t figure out is why you gotta make yourself crackers trying to be somebody you can’t ever be instead of just letting yourself be the one and only Evie O’Neill.”

And, lastly, I wanted to say that this one will be hard for some-there are a lot of deaths, and some I just didn’t expect-one for sure. I never would have guessed…because it’s such a BIG deal!! And man…it shook me. I am shooketh. Though….eh, I won’t say it. But I’m certainly thinking it lol. Sad as it may be! And another…like wtf? That was soooo not expected, but maybe because it was so out of left field-I don’t know! It was like oh lots of death la la la these people are off to the side, I’m sure they’re fine and then BAM!!! HE/SHE GONE! Like WHAT?! Libba, you devious Minx. And then…a couple were so grisly like….omg poor poor souls :/ Oh, and one death?! HAHAHA BRING IT ON. TAKE THAT, YOU-YOU-YOU WHATEVER YOU ARE!

AND DO NOT GET ME GOING ON THAT MENTAL ASYLUM OKAY?! I thought it was going to be the whole book, but turns out Libba wanted things to come to a head, to get darker…and oh boy, they so did. I did not expect that plot to change…but I’m glad it did, because that hospital killed me. IT WAS WAY TOO SCARY I COULDN’T EVEN READ IT! So, for those of you scared of the asylum…get past a certain point and you’re good! (I mean…kind of) lol

One minute, they were a group; the next, they were a mob. And that was what scared him about the dead things inside the fog: They were the blood-fever of those wild nights on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. They were the dark corners of the refuge where the priests didn’t bother looking.

**

We wish you love. And dreams. And hope.
We wish we could keep you from making the same mistakes.
We wish we could extinguish your hate.
We wish we could walk among you just to be close to the living.
Sometimes, we do.

So yeah. This crazy review happened. I know it’s a little off the wall odd, but what review by me isn’t? When I love something, I love it with every fiber of my being…and this series deserves all the praise. I just hope I can last until that final book comes out…because Ms. Bray literally holds my heart in the palm in her hand.

We are the dead.
We are the keepers of the stories.
We hold the history of blood and promises.
We are speaking.
Are you listening?
Will you hear?

**********************

My heart. My poor damaged heart. My literal obsession and month long life is now over and my heart. There’s no release date for the fourth and my fucking heart. Now what?

RTC.

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