Before the Devil Breaks You was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year. It is the third book in The Diviners series by Libba Bray (who I’ve been a fan of since high school). I loved the first book in this series, and think it’s overall just a really fun series. I’m already eagerly anticipating the fourth (and final) book.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) 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.
Like I said, I absolutely loved The Diviners, which is the first book in this series. The second book, Lair of Dreams was great, but not quite as good as the first one. And I think Before the Devil Breaks You fell into the ever-so-slightly-dissapointing camp as well. I enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t quite as good in my eyes. I had trouble connecting with the characters from the very beginning (which, to be fair, might have been because it has been a while since I’ve read book two). But I think this book lacked the creepy atmosphere that I loved so much about the first two books, and it made the entire book less exciting.
The characters were pretty much the same as they were in the previous books. There was a tiny bit of character growth – with the exception of one character who FINALLY got confident – but I don’t feel like it was in the right direction. I struggled to become invested in their story, and I honestly didn’t feel all that much when bad things happened to them, albeit with a few exceptions. One thing I will say is that this book had so much great diversity – the other books in the series did, too, but this book upped the ante. It was easily one of the things I loved most about this book, and there is one character in particular that got a brilliant diverse storyline, and I loved it.
Overall, I did enjoy reading this book, even though it took me a good two hundred pages to really get into it. It was a decent continuation of the story, but I wish more had happened, especially considering how long this book is. I couldn’t help but feel like it was filler, with a few plot points, between books two and four. I’ll have to wait until book four to call it, but it seems like this could have been a trilogy. I’m hoping the fourth and final book is a bit more exciting.
★★★★☆ – I wavered between giving this three or four stars, but ultimately rounded up. As much as I didn’t like about it, I still thought it was more enjoyable than not, was wonderfully (and organically) diverse, and it didn’t dissuade me from continuing this series. Perhaps if I had reread the first two books, I might have gotten more out of it. Final verdict: not my favorite book ever (or even by Libba Bray), but this series is still worth reading.
Before the Devil Breaks You is in stores now – you can pick your copy up on Amazon.
If you’ve read Before the Devil Breaks You, let me know what you thought of it in the comments.
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