What: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray
Who: Allen and Unwin
When: September 27th 2017
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Allen and Unwin for review.
RRP: $24.99 (AUD)
After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Randall’s and Ward’s Islands sits two mental hospitals full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovetop Hat also known as the King of Crows.
With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the asylums to bring down the King of Crows.
Before the Devil Breaks You would have to be the most intense Diviners book so far. All the stakes are raised, the danger is looming ever nearer, and the Diviners are finally all together.
I would be hard pressed to tell you which of the Diviners book is my favourite because there are certain things I adore from each one. If I was forced I would probably say Lair of Dreams, simply because it’s all about Henry, and Henry is my love. But Before the Devil Breaks You is certainly on par to the magic and the mystery of the first book in the series. I fell completely and absolutely in love with it from the moment I began.
If you thought that the previous two Diviners books were creepy then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet (bum, bum, b-b-baby). Before the Devil Breaks You is most certainly the creepiest of the three so far, and I loved it. The creepiness was so on point, and the characters I care so much about were right in the middle of it, which made everything more intense. I absolute cannot wait until the last book to see all of this creepiness cultivate in what I can only expect to be The Creepiest Book Ever.
While The Diviners centred mainly on Memphis and Evie, and Lair of Dreams centred mainly on Henry and Ling, Before the Devil Breaks You didn’t centre on anyone. All of our gorgeous Diviners, plus Jericho and Mabel, were pretty evenly in the spotlight. I thought I might be disappointed to have less concentrated chapters on my favourites, but the more evenly distributed chapters worked incredibly well for the story. And there was plenty of my favourites to go around, anyway.
I can always tell when I really adore a book because when the characters are placed in a dangerous or negative emotional situation my heart kind of clenches. Sometimes I even whisper at the book because I just can’t bear the thought of anything happening to the characters that I love so much. Before the Devil Breaks You most certainly had my heart clenching, and my mouth whispering ‘no’ and other, less G-rated things at the pages when things were going down. I won’t tell you what – no spoilers here – but there were moments that I just wished our characters could go back to the first book, when things weren’t so dire and dangerous and heartbreaking.
One thing that had me incredibly excited when reading Before the Devil Breaks You was the revelation that Ling is ace-spec homoromantic. Which means she is on the asexual spectrum and feels romantic feelings for girls. I knew from Lair of Dreams that Ling liked girls because her relationship with Wai-Mae, but to have it confirmed on page was amazing. Also, the fact that Ling is ace-spec is incredible. I say ace-spec because obviously in the 1920s there weren’t words for how Ling feels, and I felt from her description that there’s a possibility she might be grey-ace or demisexual, so I think ace-spec is more respectful and accurate to her feelings and how she described them.
I could probably talk about Before the Devil Breaks You for a long, long time. I could talk about the ships, I could talk about the friendships, the highs, the lows, the magic, the world building, the writing style. But I feel like you should just go in knowing that Before the Devil Breaks You is amazing. That there is more to love than the things I mentioned here. And that the moment you finish you’ll be begging for book four.
© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning: rape and sexual assault, physical assault, abduction, murder, gunshot wound causing paralysis, explosion, reference to bombings, reference to bombings resulting in death and loss of limbs, reference to mass shooting, reference to death via fire, multiple murders, ableism, use ableist language, racism, homomisia, antisemitism, death via drowning/suffocation/burning water, reference to pedophilia/child molestation by the church, blackmail, multiple arson offences, classism, attempted murder, reference to animal abuse, reference to death of a lover, reference to death of a sibling, unlawful experimentation, torture, thievery, reference to assisted suicide, and hostage situation in this novel