Book Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (5/5)

10 Aug

I have mixed feelings on slowly going through this series. On the one hand, it means that now that I’m ready for the final book, it’s out and I can dive in as soon as I want. On the other hand, I could have fallen in love with this characters years ago. This series has been so much fun and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’m looking forward to writing this gushing review.

Cover image via Amazon

Before the Devil Breaks You (Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

Other books by Bray reviewed on this blog:

The Diviners (Diviners #1)
Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2)

Summary from Amazon:

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’d forgotten that I was in love with Evie and Sam. I forgot how much I loved getting a chill up my back while I listened to this series. I’d forgotten how much fun super long books can be! This book was a pure joy from beginning to end. It could have easily suffered from some middle-book-syndrome, but I found it wonderful. It’s setting up for a major final battle and I’m excited about it.

The characters are amazingly diverse in this book and we dig into it even more. Either I’d forgotten or it was newly revealed that Ling is LGBTQIA+. I find her incredibly interesting, though I’ll admit I was skeptical of a character introduced in book 2 and how she’d fit into the group. I think Bray has done well and my skepticism is long gone and I’m back to admiration. All of the other characters are great because they seem so unique. I like that they’re all keeping something back, all of them not showing their full hand. It keeps them very dynamic and keeps me very interested in them and seeing how they develop.

Libba Bray
Image via Facebook

Theta was my favorite character this time around. She had a lot to deal with between Roy and Memphis and I could really feel her stress and anguish. She had a lot of different pressures weighing on her and I thought her behavior was very appropriate to the situation she found herself in. I wish she’d opened up to Henry a bit more, though. I think that the relationship was strong enough to take it.

These characters are just starting to push away from their childhood and into their adult lives more fully and I related to that. They’re pushing away adults who cared for them and venturing out on their own. It seems young, knowing many of these characters are around 18, but that’s also very appropriate for the 1920s. This isn’t exactly a coming-of-age story, but it’s a reminder of life after college for me. Well, except for the ghosts. I didn’t run into any ghosts.

Theta’s showdown with Memphis and Roy was my favorite part of the book. I loved how forgiving Memphis was able to be when faced with the truth and realization of what Theta did for him. I think her character will come into play in a big way in the final book and I really look forward to her future with Memphis.

Mabel’s story was the least compelling for me this time around. Her fight with Evie seemed unnecessary and I think it pushed her way too far toward radical than it should have, knowing her character. I knew something extreme was going to happen the more she broke away from Evie. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll stop here.

The audiobook was narrated by January LaVoy, who did the first two books. She’s incredible in this series. Honestly, the voices she does for Sam and Evie are so different that I’m amazed it’s the same person. She’s very talented and I look forward to hearing her bring the series to a conclusion and then searching out some other books she’s narrated.

The Diviners have to trust each other a lot, which can be hard to do. We see them grow into a ‘framily’ during this book and their reliance on each other is incredible. I think that reliance and trust are going to be very important in the end. Every paragraph I write is making me want to forget my other books and just dive into the end of this series!

Writer’s Takeaway: When writing, a writer is always advised not to ‘head hop,’ to go from one character’s thoughts to another’s within scenes. That’s Bray’s style and she makes it work. Within one scene, we might get two or even three characters’ thoughts, especially when the topic touches on something that they are keeping secret or something that makes them nervous. It’s so well done that I’m not sure I’d notice if I wasn’t looking for it.

A great book and one that’s got me excited for the series to continue. Five out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Before the Devil Breaks You | The Librarians Toolbox
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray | the words gremlin
Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners, #3) | Belle of the Library
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray | Review | ambsreads
Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) Review (Audiobook) | bookloversblog

4 Responses to “Book Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (5/5)”

  1. letterstostorm August 11, 2020 at 8:29 AM #

    I often feel like series books would be too much to commit too, so I rather not yet. Maybe I am sometimes missing out on good books !


    • Sam August 11, 2020 at 9:54 AM #

      There are series that I absolutely love. I think the longer format gives more character development which is my favorite. I find that I prefer to wait until the entire series is published first, however. Happy reading!


      • letterstostorm August 11, 2020 at 10:48 AM #

        Yes that might be something to look forward to



  1. Challenge Update, August 2020 | Taking On a World of Words - September 1, 2020

    […] Before the Devil Breaks You // Libba Bray (5/5) Old Baggage // Lissa Evans (2/5) The Narcissism of Small Differences // Michael Zadoorian (4/5) In the Shadow of the Banyan // Vaddey Ratner (3/5) […]


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