4 out of 5 stars
It’s a dark and stormy world inside The Diviners series, on both the mortal plane and beyond.
The good-timey, gin-soaked razzmatazz of the 1920s has worn off for our gifted heroes, and the Diviner’s New York has become a scary place.
Before the Devil Breaks You delves even more deeply into the world of the supernatural. In The Diviners, Evie discovered the paranormal and, for better or worse, thrust it into the spotlight. Then Lair of Dreams, centered on Ling and Henry entering the world of dreams (and the dead), while Evie, Sam, and co. did their best to keep the balance between light and dark. In Before the Devil Breaks You, the the darkness has finally come.
Hungry, angry ghosts have become real enough to kill. The government’s secret projects split wide the barriers keeping evil from this world. The King of Crows scrapes closer. And while the Diviners risk their powers and lives to fight against him, the world around them seethes.
These books are deep. Not in a profound way, rather the story has so many layers, each small victory a glade floor, revealing another mystery below it. It boggles the mind to think of mapping out this storyline.
Before the Devil Breaks You has adds fuel to the fire in this series. The truth of the Shadow Men is revealed, the fate of Evie’s brother learned, Jake Marlowe’s role defined. Powers are exposed, they’re strengthened and lost. It all fits into Libba Bray’s excellent social commentary: racism, bigotry, religion, and fear all snap back in the faces of our heroes.
The premise of The Diviners is outlandish, yes. But suspend your disbelief, accept that another dimension of evil supernatural lurks beneath ours, waiting to drown the world, and The Diviners series will satisfy immensely.
My only ding to this book is one character playing weak. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a YA trope that drives me mad: a character you know will do the thing you want takes forever to just freaking do it. The weebling and wobbling, the whining… UGH. No matter how well written the internal conflict, the eventual outcome is so obvious is makes this development annoying – and worse, dull. The character deserves better. Hopefully he/she will get it soon.
Hurry up with that fourth book, Libba!