“Before the Devil Breaks You” by Libba Bray

I really enjoy this series. I’ve even started to consider it a favorite. I own none of the books, but believe me, I will get myself the boxed set, if there’s one, soon.

I also want to read more books by Libba Bray. Does she only write YA novels? I’m not big on YA, but I’ll read whatever she has written because the Diviners books are SO good and I need more.

I have one more book to go in this series, which I’ve been buddy-reading with Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile and which we’ve both been enjoying and having loads of great discussions about. Things have built up to such a height in this book that I wonder how we’ll get down from it. How will things be resolved? I’m a little anxious that I won’t like the last book, but… I’m trusting Bray on this. Trying to stay positive here, and I NEED to get my own copy of these books!!


Historical Fiction; Paranormal


Diviners, book 3



Quick summary

The sleeping sickness has stopped, but all is not back to rights. Ghosts are roaming the city, some of them malicious, and the Diviner crew is even more curious about their abilities, how they got them and to what extent can they use them.

Frustrated with the lack of answers, the Diviner crew turn away from Will and Sister Walker who, despite saying they will be open and honest, are still harboring secrets. In an effort to promote her Secret Seer image, which is suffering from the rise of a new star, Sarah Snow, Evie begins a Diviner service where the Diviner crew can be called on to remove creepy, harmful ghosts. They even make it to an asylum that’s plagued with spirits causing ghastly accidents where Evie hoped to gain some answers about her brother from Luther Clayton, the dude who tried to shoot her. But they encounter there the King of Crows and even more questions about their powers and what’s coming.

While the Diviners are doing that, Mabel is off joining a group of individuals who seem interested in the same social causes as she but kicks up their efforts to help others to an extreme that seems to border on terrorism in her parents’ eyes. But Mabel wants to do more than just hand out pamphlets. She wants to bring about real change and Arthur, the leader of the group, believes extremes are needed to force the change.

Jericho, however, is off with Jake Marlow being experimented on to become some sort of superhuman. At Evie’s insistence, he gives in to Jake’s request to be tested so that he can search for the card reader machine at Marlow’s estate which Evie and Sam hope will provide more answers about Sam’s mom’s whereabouts. But while on Marlow’s estate, Jericho realizes that Marlow’s experiments extend to something much more sinister involving the Diviners and the King of Crows.

And while all that’s going on, there’s also drama in the love department. Evie is still vacillating between Jericho and Sam. Henry is trying to move on from his past lover, while Theta’s past has caught up with her causing a rift between her and Memphis, and Ling seems to have found someone as well. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

So far with this series it seems that I’ll like each book more that the one before it because I found this installment much richer than the second book. In addition to the great writing, how atmospheric the story is, and characters that leap off the page, I enjoyed this series because of how detailed the story is. You can tell that Bray did a lot of research for these books. I just love that the story easily came alive for me and I felt so immersed in it.

And, despite it being set in the 1920s and focusing on several characters who love to have a good time, there are more than a few creepy parts in this book that made me a little unwilling to read it at night when no one was around. I do scare easy, so you can take this part with a titter because it’s possible that the story isn’t as creepy as I’m making it out to be, but… Bray’s storytelling is so immersive that I felt chilled while reading those scenes where the characters confront the ghosts and the King of Crows.

I also like how the characters are developing. Evie is not as annoying to me anymore and I think that’s because we get so many dimensions to her. She seems more fleshed out with each book, and it’s the same with the other characters as well. I also admire their friendship and pity them as well because of the issues they are up against. I liked the turn in Blind Bill’s character too, although he’s not fully back in my good graces.

One thing that does annoy me, though, is that Evie is still torn between Sam and Jericho, although she doesn’t want to admit her feelings for Sam. I am so tired of love triangles that this really niggled me, and although she made a decision by the end of the book, I don’t like that it’s because one of the guys tried to take advantage of her. It was out of character for him and… I just didn’t like it. I’d rather that didn’t happen and she’d made her decision because she does prefer one over the other.

(Some spoilers here) The deaths were shocking. I knew some people would exit the story, but I wasn’t expecting Will and Mabel. Will’s death made me immediately feel sorry for Evie because they hadn’t yet healed their relationship, and Mabel’s death was a shock. I can see her becoming some sort of martyr, and I didn’t want that.

Other than that, I enjoyed the read and loved that although it’s set in the 1920s and touches on issues of that time, it also relates to issues we are dealing with in the present. Basically, I love how relatable the story is, not that those issues and ways of thinking are still ongoing and haven’t yet dissipated.

Overall: ★★★★★

Another great read that made me realize that I need to get my own copy of the books.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Quotes from the book

“My name is Lost. For I was stolen. What is stolen haunts.”

“Names are erased. The conqueror tells the story. The colonizer writes the history, winning twice: A theft of land. A theft of witness.”

“In this life, you have to work with people you dislike. You find compromises. But sometimes you find that a person’s beliefs are so harmful that you must speak against them. You can’t let such harmful statements stand without challenge. They have a tendency to grow into tumors.”


12 thoughts on ““Before the Devil Breaks You” by Libba Bray

  1. These sound very immersive and how fun to do a buddy read. I’ve just got through Alex Hayley’s “Roots” with two other bloggers and have an ongoing read-along with my best friend that is looking to outlast the lockdowns as have have five or six more books picked out to go for!


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