Friday, October 27, 2017

Saturday #Review - Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Diviners # 3
Format: Hardcover, 560 pages
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy

The Diviners are back in this thrilling and eerie third installment by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.
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.
Heart-pounding action and terrifying moments will leave you breathless in the third book of the four-book Diviners series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray. 

"Before the Devil Breaks you, first he will make you love him."

Before the Devil Breaks You, by author Libba Bray, is the third installment in the authors The Diviners series. The book features a sprawling cast of characters and multiple points of view. One of the reasons this series is so popular, I believe, is that it is a mixed bag of genre's. You have a historical setting of 1927 New York City where Prohibition is still in place, with a paranormal threat that affects every single character in this book. As the story begins, the Diviners have helped rid the city of the sleeping sickness but that doesn't mean that the public is all in accepting them.

Since the end of the second novel, there have been subtle hints have pointed The Diviners (Memphis, Isaiah, Theta, Evie, Sam, Jericho, Ling and Henry) towards a man in the hat who apparently has been around since the secretive Project Buffalo was still operational. A project that the Diviners are still uncovering what really happened and how it affected them. A Project that will cause a major rift between those who were involved in the project, and the kids who it affected.

What they soon come to learn is that the man in the hat is actually called The King of Crows. The King of Crows and his Forgotten are spreading evil across the country. There is a tear in the world, a crack between our world and another dimension. There is a battle between good and evil, but evil may have a huge leg up thanks to a group called the Shadow Men who truly hates the Diviners. They believe that they are traitors and instigators but are willing to work with Jake Marlowe in riding society of undesirables. 

I would love to characterize the Diviners as an off shoot of the X-Men. They even train to use their powers and abilities together to face off against the King of Crows and his forgotten across New York City. Each of their individual powers get a power up every time they use them as a team. I think the most interesting twist in this story was that both Mabel Rose and Theta Knight take center stage. Mabel's life has been centered about her family and their socialistic views on the world. She is still Evie's best friend, but Mabel goes out on her own this time around, and not only finds her own voice, but perhaps, her own calling as well. Theta's backstory was brilliantly revealed as was the fact that she has some wicked cool powers that really make the rest of the team look like a bunch of amateurs. I also believe that Theta's issues are issues that still face society today. I am glad that Theta got an opportunity to be something other than a character who loves Memphis. 

Bray has a tendency of dropping plot twists in the most unlikely places. Example, Evie's brother James and what really happened to him. Is he really dead, or did something more nefarious happen to him and his unit? Curious that Bray uses a character named Conor Flynn in this story. Not sure what the overall point was since he's like a one hit one. Here today, gone tomorrow. Pay close attention to who the forgotten actually are. I think you will not be surprised that Bray uses a bit of social activism to push the stories of certain aspects of the population that were used and then tossed away like yesterdays garbage. 

**If you haven't read about Eugenics in a while, please go back and refresh your memories. Eugenics is the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed ... Eugenics was taken to its horrifying extreme during the Holocaust, through forced sterilizations and breeding experiments. **

One final comment: I am one of those who wishes that the covers would stop changing. Stick with one formula and stay with it until this series ends. 

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