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Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners)…

Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners) (edition 2017)

by Libba Bray (Author)

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1366124,867 (3.98)3
Title:Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners)
Authors:Libba Bray (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2017), 560 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:fiction, young adult, fantasy, 1920s, ghosts, labor movement, eugenics, speculative fiction, read in 2017

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Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners) by Libba Bray



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Showing 5 of 5
I gave this 4**** despite not having been thrilled with all of it, but I think a big part of my problem was that I read it off-and-on through a very serious medical crisis and didn't give it the attention it deserves. Also, I have a bit forgotten what happened in the two earlier installments. Come the fourth and final installment, I may give the whole quadrilogy a reread. I read this for the Reading Through Time group's August 2018 theme of "Between the Wars" and it does give a very dramatic portrayal of New York City in the Roaring 20s. ( )
  CurrerBell | Aug 31, 2018 |
The Diviners Series🍒🍒🍒🍒🍌
(Book 1, 2, 3)
By Libba Bray
2012, 2015, 2017

When an author is able to capture the spirit, vitality and culture of a period in history so authentically, and add characters that are true to life, unforgettable and sincere .....its beyond admirable.
Its masterful.
1920s...NYC...political and social climate...rise of eugenics and mysticism...mafia influence...racial tensions...Jake Marlowe...speakeasies...
One of the best series I've read. This one will stay with me!!
Highly recommended. It YA, but much better than most adult fiction. ( )
  over.the.edge | Aug 22, 2018 |
4.5 stars
“There was a lot to fight. The future battle was daunting. But right now, this moment, was a time for hope, too. For fresh starts. For forgiveness.”
I just absolutely love diving deeper and deeper into this fantastically haunting world the Libba Bray has created. Before the Devil Breaks You continues the adventures of our incredible cast of characters as they learn more about their Diviners powers and the ghostly threat looming over New York. The Diviners learn more about themselves and their history as they prepare for this epic battle that is sure to test them in ways they won’t expect.

Things I Liked
Ward Island and the exploration of mental health in the 1920s (including continuing to highlight the unseemly parts of US history including the forced sterilization). I also really loved how the Diviners and the Ward Island residents were foiled - where the Diviners were often revered (though not by everyone) and the Ward Island residents were rejected, even though they both have a similar 'otherness' to them.

I loved how everyone really came together in this story. We get to see all the Diviners discovering more of their powers and working together, strengthening bonds and continuing the amazing friendships we see in the first two books.

Once again, the characters in this series are standouts, and together they form amazing dynamics that completely draw me in and feel so real and genuine. Memphis and Isaiah's brotherly relationship is perfection and feels so earnest. I LOVED seeing all of the girls supporting each other and forming this incredible 1920s girl gang of amazing characters. My favorite romance in the story remained Memphis and Theta, they are adorable perfect and I love them a lot. I didn’t much care for the other romances - I didn’t hate them, I didn’t love them, I didn’t really care.

I really loved getting the flashbacks to Will, Sister Walker, and Jake Marlowe working in the Paranormal Department and seeing their history with diviners and how that shaped their views and actions now.

I surprising liked the King of Crows in BTDBY. We get to learn more about him and his origins, as well as his goals and his plan for the Diviners. He actually became a villain in this story, instead of a ghostly idea (which is what I felt he was in Lair of Dreams). And he is a real threatening presence that hold a lot of power, but isn’t infallible.

The chapter, “The Dead” was my favorite chapter in the entire book. It was raw, gripping, and thought-provoking. It was such an ambient chapter that set the tone and further established the atmosphere for the story and created a real-world, lived in feeling to all the ghostly problems the Diviners faced.

“The history of the land is a history of blood. In this history, someone wins and someone loses. There are patriots and enemies. Folk heroes who save the day. Vanquished foes who had it coming. It’s all in the telling. The conquered have no voice.”

“Rest. Then speak of what you know. Show them what you’ve seen. Witness until their comfort yields to questions. Till their eyes cry with truth. Till their ears would hear the voices of tomorrow. Till their hearts, heavy with knowledge, beat in understanding.”

“Before the Devil breaks you, first he will make you love him.”

Things I Didn’t Like
I wanted more from Henry! I loved that he really got to shine in Lair of Dreams, but I felt like we barely saw him here. He very much returned to a side character, and that was a little disappointing. Though I did absolutely love seeing more of his friendship with Ling.

I didn’t like Jake Marlowe at - he is such an awful person and I hate him. He is scum in human form. I was so frustrated with Ling because she still admired him for his scientific advancements and could separate the person from the work with Marlowe, but not with Sister Walker who was nowhere near as awful. And I didn’t really liked Jericho and Mabel’s storylines that were related to Marlowe - they were weaker points of the story for me.

These characters are so completely in my heart and I love them so much. I become so invested in their story and their journey and I want to spend time with them. The 1920s setting is also on of my favorite historical settings I’ve ever read - there’s a perfect blend of paranormals that’s grounded in raw honesty. Before the Devil Breaks You is an amazing addition to an outstanding series that is building to a stunning crescendo.

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault (used as a plot device to further another relationship) ( )
  LifeofaLiteraryNerd | Apr 27, 2018 |
4.5 stars-story; 5 stars for Audio performance ( )
  EmpressReece | Mar 9, 2018 |
I love this series. Each book is a TOME, which means each is as great as 2 normal sized books put together, which helps with the wait between publications. We’ve got our diverse team of 1920s X-Men, basically, including people of various ethnicities, sexual identities, and disability. It’s also SO fun and funny as well as being legitimately terrifying. Loooots of kissing (and more!) in this book, which is nice to see these hard working teens have some fun between being almost murdered by ghosts. Super recommend! Though you p much have to read the first two for this to make any sense. ( )
  annhepburn | Mar 4, 2018 |
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For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let American be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—theland where every
man is free.

—"Let America Be America Again," Langston Hughes
For the truth-tellers
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Thick evening fog clung to the forlorn banks of Ward's Island, turning it into a ghost of itself.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Diviners face ghosts that are haunting an asylum and wreaking havoc all over New York City, forgotten ones with dangerous ties to the King of Crows.

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