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The Diviners #3

Before the Devil Breaks You

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New York City.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough 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 face-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.

552 pages, Hardcover

First published October 3, 2017

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About the author

Libba Bray

45 books15k followers
What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It's not exactly like I'm going to say "I was born in Alabama…" and somebody's going to jump up and snarl, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" At least I hope not.

I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. I could tell you the facts–I lived in Texas for most of my life; I live in New York City with my husband and six-year-old son now; I have freckles and a lopsided smile; I'm allergic to penicillin.

But that doesn't really give you much insight into me. That doesn't tell you that I stuck a bead up my nose while watching TV when I was four and thought I'd have to go to the ER and have it cut out. Or that I once sang a punk version of "Que Sera Sera" onstage in New York City. Or that I made everyone call me "Bert" in ninth grade for no reason that I can think of. See what I mean?

God is in the details. So with that in mind, here is my bio. Sort of.


1. I lived in Texas until I was 26 years old, then I moved to New York City with $600.00 in my shoe ('cause muggers won't take it out of your shoe, y'know . . . riiiiight . . .) and a punchbowl (my grandmother's gift) under my arm. I ended up using the punchbowl box as an end table for two years.

2. My dad was a Presbyterian minister. Yes, I am one of those dreaded P.K.s–Preacher's Kids. Be afraid. Be very afraid . . .

3. The first story I ever wrote, in Mrs. McBee's 6th grade English class, was about a girl whose family is kidnapped and held hostage by a murderous lot of bank robbers who intend to kill the whole family–including the dog–until the 12-year-old heroine foils the plot and saves the day. It included colored pencil illustrations of manly-looking, bearded criminals smoking, and, oblivious to the fact that The Beatles had already sort of laid claim to the title, I called my novel, HELP. My mom still has a copy. And when I do something she doesn't like, she threatens to find it.

4. My favorite word is "redemption." I like both its meaning and the sound. My least favorite word is "maybe." "Maybe" is almost always a "no" drawn out in cruel fashion.

5. My three worst habits are overeating, self-doubt, and the frequent use of the "f" word.

6. The three things I like best about myself are my sense of humor, my ability to listen, and my imagination.

7. I have an artificial left eye. I lost my real eye in a car accident when I was eighteen. In fact, I had to have my entire face rebuilt because I smashed it up pretty good. It took six years and thirteen surgeries. However, I did have the pleasure of freezing a plastic eyeball in an ice cube, putting it in a friend's drink, ("Eyeball in your highball?") and watching him freak completely. Okay, so maybe that's not going down on my good karma record. But it sure was fun.

8. In 7th grade, my three best friends and I dressed up as KISS and walked around our neighborhood on Halloween. Man, we were such dorks.

9. I once spent New Year's Eve in a wetsuit. I'd gone to the party in a black dress that was a little too tight (too many holiday cookies) and when I went to sit down, the dress ripped up the back completely. Can we all say, mortified? The problem was, my friends were moving out of their house–everything was packed and on a truck–and there was nothing I could put on . . . but a wetsuit that they still had tacked to the wall. I spent the rest of the party maneuvering through throngs of people feeling like a giant squid.

10. I got married in Florence, Italy. My husband and I were in love but totally broke, so we eloped and got married in Italy, where he was going on a business trip. We had to pull a guy off the street to be our witness. It was incredibly romantic.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,204 reviews
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
February 24, 2020

I seriously love The Diviners series so much and Before The Devil Breaks You was no exception. Libba Bray is genuinely one of the most talented young adults authors to ever exist. I'm blown away by her ability to masterfully create an ever-expanding, historically accurate, well developed world with complete, well-rounded interesting characters.

I am DYING for book four.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
November 1, 2017
“He’ll be looking for you,” the boy said, drawing Henry’s attention again. “He’s looking for all of us. You should go now. Before he sees you. Before he finds you.”

Before the Devil Breaks You is such a perfect creepy book for Halloween. I have been taking a little longer to read this than I usually would, but that is because I have been savouring it (hell knows when we'll get the next one!), wanting to linger as long as possible in the glitzy, jazz-filled horrors of this paranormal 1920s New York City.

In this instalment, the diverse gang of diviners are threatened by a supernatural creature known as the King of Crows. Ghosts haunt each of them - Evie, Memphis, Ling, Sam, Isaiah, Theta and Henry - both through their own personal monsters and the bigger demon they must all face. As the supernatural occurrences and the natural-world's government seem ever more entwined, it becomes clear that the Diviners's problems could be even bigger than first realised.

Bray has, once again, got the atmosphere just right. I felt like I was in 1920s New York. I could feel the air on my face and hear the jazz music. I love how each scene was so carefully crafted. I was right there in the speakeasies with the characters and, so, when the monsters came, my heart was pounding too. I am thrilled to hear that there are more books planned for this series.

However, this is 1920s America, and so there is more than ghosts to face. Both The Diviners and Lair of Dreams included, in many ways, political aspects, but the current political climate lends even greater weight to the issues explored in this novel. As Bray powerfully states in the Author's Note:
We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity.
We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten.
This is a book about ghosts.
For we live in a haunted house.

And she doesn't sugarcoat the horrors of the times. Racism, anti-semitism and the eugenics movement are part of everyday life for our characters. The book's cast includes characters who are black, mixed race (Chinese/Irish), Jewish, gay, a person with a physical disability, and others who are mentally ill. This latter allows the author to explore a particularly horrific aspect of the 1920s - the treatment of mentally ill patients in government institutions. Even several decades after the publication of Nellie Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887), progress was slow-going.

So many powerful themes all wrapped up in a sinister ghost story. This is easily one of my favourite and most consistent YA series. It is somehow both a fun, easy read, and a darker, deeper look at humanity. It's interesting how fantasy can be used to reveal very real aspects of human nature.

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Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,079 reviews17.2k followers
March 26, 2020
Before the Devil breaks you, first he will make you love him.

So earlier this year, just in CASE you’ve never heard from me before, I spent several weeks this year dedicating my life to the audiobook narration of Libba Bray’s Diviners series. and I’m trash!!

I think what I like about this series is how it makes the personal political. This is a story set in the freaking 1920s, a time that could easily be whitewashed dry of racism and discrimination. Easy to make unpolitical. But this story is so directly about the issues of the 1920s, the racism, the classism, the homophobia - the dark side you don’t always see. It is brilliant.

For example, did you know that from 1930-1960 in America, 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under state-sanctioned programs?? That several mental health institutes purposefuly fed their prisoners toberculosis-infected milk upon admission, killing 40% of their patients? That these same eugenics programs served as inspiration for the Holocaust? That they were performed almost entirely on nonwhite and mentally ill women? These facts may seem painful. They may also seem irrelevant to some. After all, we aren’t in the 1960s. But Libba Bray emphasizes here that if we do not come to terms with our past, we are doomed to repeat it. So here’s one final question: did you know from 2006-2010 in California, 148 mentally ill women were sterilized by state mental hospitals without their consent? In my fucking state during my fucking lifetime, 148 women were violated by the state. History is not one faraway thing; it is a continuum, an endless repeating cycle. And it is something we may never escape.

The villains of The Diviners are not the ghosts, scary as they are. The villains of this book are classism, eugenics, racism, prejudice. This story gets its true staying power because it is so grounded in reality.
“The colonizer writes the history, winning twice: A theft of land. A theft of witness.”

I especially don’t want to scare people off this book who don’t like scary things, because though I think this series is freaking terrifying in places, you could ignore those bits and enjoy nonetheless. But guys, the Diviners is flat-out terrifying in the best way. I… uh. All I am going to say about this is that the audiobook bathtub tap scene scared the utter fucking shit out of me. I have never been less okay in my damn life than after reading that scene.

Okay. So let’s talk why this book is a 4 1/2 and not a fully solid five.
First of all, there is a section from about 70%-80% in which nothing happens besides characters hooking up for the first time. Listen, I know it had to happen, but this section feels a bit detached from the rest of the book - this really could’ve been two books - and worse, it is so goddamn boring. And possibly even worse, this section is incited by a scene in which sexual assault is… sort of used as a plot device to flip a complex situation? I knew exactly what occured in this scene going in, but I really disliked this - after the attempted assault occurs, it is never brought up again.

And I also think Libba Bray has a penchant for the brilliant middle and then slightly lackluster ending - or slightly disjointed final 25%, in this case - as she tries to throw together the setup for her next book. Not that she’s exactly alone on that issue, but I remember getting to the point of an hour left in my audiobook and thinking “what else is there?”

I do think that listening to this book too fast was part of my issue - I binged the last 40% of this audiobook all at once after spending a week on the first half, and I think the transition just didn’t go as well as it should have. ADVICE: please slow down on the second half !!

Second, there’s the fact that my two favorite leads, Ling and Henry, both got very lackluster storylines. After Henry’s fantastic story in book two, he’s relegated to the role of side character. And Ling actually has a storyline - well, a sexuality crisis that we all saw coming - but gets too little pagetime. All right, all right, Ling is my favorite character and I’m being biased. I’ll shut up now. (On a positive note, my other favorite, Theta, got the storyline of the fucking CENTURY— I’ll shut up now.)

But overall, I don’t think that section could really ruin this book for me? The first half of this book is actually so brilliant I don’t know how to talk about it. Dark, horrifying, and fun. And the character work is totally solid throughout.
“Because I’m not enough, she thought. That was the terrible echo shouting up at her: Fraud, fraud, fraud. She got drunk and talked too much and danced on tables. She had a temper and a sharp tongue, and she often blurted out things she instantly regretted. Worst of all, she suspected that was who she truly was—not so much a bright young thing as a messy young thing.”

I’ve already ranted about the themes, but I think the character work in this book was literally perfect. Evie’s character development within this book is my favorite she’s gotten so far; I never really loved her, but she’s become so good? wow? Mabel’s character development offers something very new for the book and series both. And Theta’s storyline is something truly special - this is the first book where she has really begun to recover from the trauma of her past. And you all know that I love Memphis and Theta, but I think I’ve actually officially dedicated my entire life to their love after this book.

Listen, if you want even more thoughts on this series, maybe try out my reviews of The Diviners and Lair of Dreams. But I genuinely hope all of you read this series - it's become one of my new favorites. And I'll leave you with a quote from the author's note:
“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion.
These realities exist side by side. It is our past and present. The future is unwritten.
This is a book about ghosts.
For we live in a haunted house.”

Bravo, Libba Bray.

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Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,469 reviews19.1k followers
February 3, 2020
Re-read 2/3/20: Y'all, this series, MY FAVORITE SERIES OF ALL TIME, concludes tomorrow and I AM NOT READY FOR ALL OF THE TEARS THAT I KNOW ARE TO COME. I love all of these characters so, so much and I am NOT READY to find out how everything turns out for my children pls send hugs and prayers oh my GOD

Re-read 10/10/19: Forever crying over this series, I just love it so damn much. I cannot believe the final book with ALL OF THE ANSWERS is coming out in just a few short months!!!! I'm nervous but SO EXCITED

Original read 10/4/17: How am I supposed to move on from this?! My heart is broken 😭😭😭😭😭 will post more coherent thoughts when I get over my feels
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
653 reviews3,837 followers
February 5, 2020
REREAD 2020 i lov my bitches so much

“The land is old, the land is vast, he has no future, he has no past, his coat is sewn with many woes, he'll bring the dead, the King of Crows.”

okay I love this series so much and just thinking about how it could be 2 years until the finale comes out makes me want to check out and live in a cave and this was me favourite of the series, which is an unpopular opinion. But oh my GOD the payoff !! the character development !! the threads coming together !! THE PLOT THICKENED THE FUCK UP AND I LOVE IT

So I've already explained why y'all should read this series in my review of both The Diviners and Lair of Dreams. BUT IM GONNA DO IT AGAIN BECAUSE THIS SERIES IS UNDERRATED AND DESERVES BETTER.

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

so what is this series about? a group of unique teenagers who unique powers. who become super involved in occult things accidentally. there's demons and ghosts (that are trying to kill people). and it's all set in 1920's america (YES, there's an abundance of flappers, bootlegged gin and jazz age slang) im sorry did you just hear me say it's a ensemble cast of superpowered kids who hunt demons and ghosts IN THE ROARING TWENTIES how does that premise NOT SELL YOU. But also, Libba Bray is sure to remove her rose-tinted glasses when writing the setting. She examines prohibition, Jim Crow laws, the eugenics movement, the resurgence of the KKK, segregation, poverty, racism, police brutality, gang crime and more. And doing so makes this book, overall, so much better. It's much more well rounded, and depicts America as it IS, not as it would have you think it is.

okay so the best thing is the characters.
Evie, a flapper with a drinking problem who's a bit of a mess, but has a good heart. Memphis a black boy from Harlem who just wants to be a poet.
Mabel Evie's best friend, who's overshadowed by her famous socialist parents. Theta a girl with a mysterious past who wants to be an actress
her roommate Henry who's just trying to write songs and live his best gay life.
Ling, a Chinese, lesbian-asexual girl with a disability who's trying to make it in Chinatown. Sam a jewish boy from Russia who'd do anything to find his missing mother
Jericho an ex-soldier with a dangerous secret.

and I love them all SO MUCH. Seriously, if you love character driven stories, or just stories where the characters are really, really well fleshed out YOU'LL LOVE THIS BOOK. Also, they're all SO FUCKING FUNNY. The banter is amazing! Especially between Sam and .. well anyone. But all of them have awesome one liners and quips and things and oh my gOD I just love them all as a group so much.

“But isn’t that strange and wonderful unpredictability part of humanity? Aren’t all of our differences what already make us a great nation?”

so some thoughts about this book specifically I pretty much enjoyed every single second of this. I LOVE how Libba Bray just feeds us bits and pieces of the puzzle, it made trying to piece the whole thing together so fun and I'M STILL UNSURE WHAT TO THINK.

And I just LOVE how many different plots and subplots are tackled, it keeps it so interesting. the scope is truly impressive. I adored every.single.subplot. Mabel's story? LOVE! Memphis and Blind Bill? INCREDIBLE. Theta and Roy? AMAZING. Jericho at the mansion? ENTHRALLING.

This book shattered my emotions too many damn times. ESPECIALLY THE ROMANCE. and listen, I complain about book romances literally non-stop because they usually let me down. BUT THIS HAD ME SQUEALING LIKE A BABY. Seriously, everyone is too sweet and I want them to be happy. I literally said (screamed) "oh my goodddd they're so cuteeeeee in my car while listening to this AND THAT SAYS A LOT. I love these romances and that makes me so happy because I never do!

One thing I really loved as well as the SEX SCENES. Which I guess is a weird thing to pick out, but they were just written so, so well. They were so tender and sweet, and kind of awkward but in a good, realistic way. And I just think they were done so well. I'm gonna cry thinking about it.

Okay, but can we also talk about how CREEPY THIS IS. The basement scene??? ruined my life. The scene where you know who appeared to them. Ruined my life again. Libba Bray needs to, stop. FINALLY, WHY IS THIS BOOK SO DEVASTATING. Okay, I damn yelled/whined NOOO when something happened and oh my god, this book seriously destroyed my entire soul like fifty times I'm so upset. AND CONCERNED FOR BOOK FOUR. SO CONCERNED.

“If I have to look through one more of these, I’m throwing myself off that balcony,” he moaned. “Let me know if you need help,” Jericho said.”

Okay, I'm sorry this is so rambly. I'm so emotional I love my kids so much. And I'm literally desperate for book four (@LibbaBray if you're reading this .... DM me how much cash for the book 4 draft ... I'll send it)

Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
852 reviews3,760 followers
March 22, 2020
Content warning: abusive romance; attempted rape; human experimentation; racism and prejudices toward disability, mental illness, and same sex relationships that are a depiction of the time period. All of these things are quickly challenged and not glamorized.

Representation: African American main characters. Jewish main character. Irish/Chinese American, disabled (uses crutches), asexual main character with a f/f romance. Gay main character with a m/m romance. I believe one main character is said to be half Cherokee. Prominent blind side character. Fat main character (though we only find this out 3 books in so it doesn't feel like it's been represented t all).

I recommend this for fans of Ghostbusters, Stranger Things, and Scooby Doo. Or if you love amazing, supportive friend groups. And want lots of ships.

This was an amazing installment in a series that has made its way into my all time favorites now. Definitely better than book 2 (even though I loved that one!) and we are seeing so many more things about the Diviners' pasts come to light. This book made me completely flip my opinion on a few of the characters. It broke my heart a couple of times. And then mended it. It was a full emotional ride.

I can't speak to all the representation, but it's here and I've only heard good things from ownvoices reviewers so far. The only thing I really questioned was the frequent use of lines like "he went into a blind rage" or "they rushed in blindly" (not in reference to the blind character) - and I know some people are bothered by that type of language toward blindness. I can speak to the portrayal of the abusive romance, and I personally appreciated that the book doesn't dwell on it overlong while still showing the victim's mindset and reasons for having stayed very accurately (IMO).

As for the audiobook - it's magic. I simply do not believe this was a single narrator, because January LaVoy carried scenes with 10 characters with such skill that you'd swear it was a full voice cast. The woman is incredibly talented. Definitely listen to this one if you can.
Profile Image for monica kim.
202 reviews6,070 followers
February 14, 2020
‪“This is a book about ghosts, for we live in a haunted house.”‬

‪Only Libba Bray could make me burst into tears during an author’s note. Before the Devil Breaks You is not only an amazing continuation of a phenomenal series - but also an incredibly important and timely book.‬
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.4k followers
January 2, 2019
Definitely my favourite so far!

Also, the audiobooks are really special, please give this series a listen.

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, attempted rape, racism, prejudice against interracial and same-sex relationships, mental health, disability.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,520 followers
March 15, 2020
“This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

نيويورك، العشرينات، الأضواء والمسارح والجاز
وقدرات خارقة روحانية وأشباح هائمة

لكن للسلسلة بُعد حقيقي واقعي..لأن أشباح الماضي تحذرنا أن التاريخ يعيد نفسه
“Before the Devil breaks you, first he will make you love him.”

لأن الشيطان قبل ان يكسرك سيجعلك تحبه...سيعدك بالامنيات والحرية..لكنك لن تعرف ابدا الثمن إلا متأخرا جدا

المراجعة العربية ستكون للتعريف بالسلسلة ككل وليس الجزء الثالث فحسب

السلسلة تبدو للوهلة الاولي انها مجرد روايات رعب..وفعلا أجواء الرواية ستذكرك بافضل عناصر روايات وافلام الرعب مثل
The X-Files, American Horror Story, 666 Park Avenue
من مشروع حكومة سري ونظرية مؤامرة، رعب واشباح وتحضير ارواح وسحر، مباني نيويوركية عتيقة مسكونة
مع معلومات عن الرموز والتاريخ الأمريكي لدرجة ان جزءها الاول ذكرني في بعض اجزاءه بروايات روبرت لانجدون
وفكرة تقبل الاخر، الروحانيون ، وخوف العامة من المختلف عنهم شبيهة بهاري بوتر بالاخص في السلسلة اللاحقة له
Fantastic Beasts, X-Men ...

واختارت المؤلفة وسيلة مباشرة لتقبل الاخر بأن جعلت فريق الروحانيون هذا، الشخصيات كلهم مختلفة
الاسود والصينية واليهودي الروسي والاسباني والمثلي جنسيا وحتي ذات الاعاقة الجسدية "الفتاة الصينية لينج تسير بعكاز" وحتي المعاقين ذهنيا كما في الجزء الثالث
لكن تظل السلسلة امريكية جدا وما امريكا سوي خليط من كل هذا..ويظل للسلسلة طبقات اكثر عمقا

الأسلوب أكثر من رائع..يخطفك فعليا لجو الرواية...المؤلفة ليبا براي ستنقلك فعليا باسلوب كتابتها التفصيلي الآسر لأجواء نيويورك في 1926/1927
موسيقي الجاز.. مسرحيات فيتزجيرالد وراقصاتها المبهرة.. الحفلات الصاخبة.. الملاهي الليلية وقانون منع المشروبات الكحولية الذي يخرقه الجميع

الدهشة من الإختراعات الآلية الجديدة وتطور التكنولوجي من بعد الحرب العالمية العظمي..الطفرات الإشعاعية...الراديوم ومناجم اليورانيوم..عصر الذرة

الثقافة الاستهلاكية الرخيصة.. لتكون مثل الجميع يجب أن تلبس تلك الحلة وتدخن تلك السجائر.. فالتحصل علي المال لهذا بأي ثمن
العمال يعملون ��لا حقوق تقريبا...لا اتحاد عمال ولا نقابات بعد... اصحاب رأس المال يمكنهم عصر عمالهم دون رقيب

إضطهاد السود... التفرقة العنصرية... التضييق علي المهاجرين من الصين وقبلهم الإسبان... إضطهاد اليهود (تخيل وقتها كانوا مواطنين درجة ثانية؟) المهاجرين من شرق اوروبا بالأخص

بداية التلاعب في الجينات بحجة الحفاظ علي العرق الأبيض الأمريكي القوي..تعقيم المرضي العقليين بالمصحات العقلية وإجراء تجارب مريعة عليهم

الشعور بالهيمنة الأمريكية..وكأن البيض هم فقط اصحاب الأرض والباقي كله غير مرحب به في الأراضي الأمريكية
رغم أنهم من بنوها حقا بعرقهم وتعبهم... رغم ان منهم من كانوا اصلا هم اصحاب الأرض واجدادهم تعرضوا لمذابح جماعية لأفساح مكان للبيض


بين كل الاجواء السياسية والاجتماعية تلك تدور احداث السلسلة بين شخصيات مختلفة، احداث مرعبة...غريبة...ولكن تذكر ان الواقع دوما أغرب
بين التفرقة والخوف من الغير، ومواجهة اشباح الماضي، وش��اطين النفس، وعالم الاحلام وتحذيرات الماضي وجشع البشر وحب الشهرة
بين الصداقة والحب والغيرة والأخوة والأمومة وحتي الدين والفلسفة

كل جزء يفرد مساحة لشخصيتان او ثلاثة لكن بنهاية الجزء الثاني ستعرف كل شئ تقريبا عن ماضي كل الشخصيات الرئيسية التي وصلت لتسع شخصيات... في كل مرة هناك خطر من عالم الأرواح والأشباح يواجهها الابطال
روح قاتل مسلسل تعود مع عودة مذنب يمر بالأرض
روح قلقة تغزو العقل الباطن في الأحلام لتسبب نوما بلا يقظة حتي الموت
وفي كل مرة هناك خطر عاصفة ستاتي..شيطان رجل ذو قبعة طويلة ..ملك الغربان...صاحب العين التي تري كل شئ...هو سبب الفوضي وهو من سياتي لعالمنا ليحكم

في الجزء الثالث الجانب السياسي ازداد، الأرواح والأشباح أيضا... ستلاحظ ان المؤلفة استخدمته كمغزي قوي لأشباح الماضي...ضحايا الحروب والعبودية والاستيطان والابادات العرقية...الجشع والخيانة والمطامع الشيطانية

والآن لنر لمحات مختصرة من الشخصيات الرئيسية التي ستتابعها منذ الجزء الاول حيث ذهبت أيفي اونيل لنيويورك لاجازة مع عمها في اكتوبر 1926....وحتي ابريل 1927 عندما تفرق كل شئ بنهاية الجزء الثالث بذروة الأحداث.

أيفي اونيل

فتاة البلدة الصغيرة باوهايو...متحررة وتحب الانطلاق لتنس وجعها بفراق اخيها الاكبر جيمس الذي "وصل خبره" وقت الحرب العظمي..تهرب من كوابيسها عنه وعن الجنود الشباب مثله بالحفلات والشرب...وايضا موهبة عجيبة تملكها انها عندما تمسك باحد المتعلقات الشخصية باي شخص فأنها تقرأ لمحات من حياة صاحبها
يرسلها اهلها كعقاب لعمها في نيويورك....لكنها تكون بداية انطلاقها في عالم الروحانيين والشهرة بالأخص بمساعدتها لعمها في جريمة قاتل مسلسل مرعبة

عم ويل فيتزرجالد

عم ايفي وصاحب متحف الغرائب وعجائب ماوراء الطبيعة بنيويورك...متحف يضم غرائب السحر الامريكي الاصلي الذي يخص الهنود الحمر...ساحرات سالم وغيرها من العجائب. ..مهتم بالرموز والجماعات العجيبة وكان له مشروع سري وقت شبابه مع الحكومة الامريكية

سام لويد
فتي روسي الأصل يبحث عن امه التي اختفت وقت الحرب ، يصله معلومات تدله علي ان من يعرف تورطها في ذلك المشروع السري الذي تديره الحكومة هو ويل فيتزرجالد....لذا يحاول التقرب من لك المتحف

كان مريض بشلل الاطفال وازمات تنفسية وقلبية ولكن بواسطه عمل عجيب اخترعه مخترع يسمي جاك مارلو، مع ويل فيتزرجالد تابع للحكومة الامريكية امكنه الشفاء...لكن كل من قام تجربة ذلك العلاج عليه إما تسبب بجنونهم او الانتحار...عدا جيركو الي نجا
واعتبره ويل فيتزرجالد وصي عليه ويعيش معه

مابيل روز
صديقة أيفي المقربة وجارة عمها ويل وجيريكو في مبني عتيق بنيويورك...وتشعر باعجاب سري بجيريكو...من عائلة ماركسية تنادي بحقوق العمال والنقابات


راقصة بمسرح المؤلف الامريكي الشهير فرانسيس سكوت فيتزجيرالد، وتعيش بنفس البناية العتيقة التي يعيش بها عم أيفي. ...لها موهبة مخيفة وهي اشعال النيران...لا تعرف كيف تتحكم بها وكانت سببا لمصيبة في ماضيها التي هربت منه، لا يعرف سرها سوي صديقها المقرب الذي تعيش معه كانه اخيها، هنري
تقع في حب فتي اسود من هارلم ليزيد الامور تعقيدا

عازف بيانو مثلي تحاول زيتا التي تعتبره كاخيها ان تساعده للوصول للشهرة...موهبته هي انه يمشي في الاحلام ويري احلام من يعرفهم بل ويساعدهم علي ت��ويل الكوابيس الي احلام سعيدة

شاب اسود فقير من هارلم ، موهبته انه يستطيع ان يشفي بلمسة من يده...لكن تلك الموهبة أدت من قبل لموت امه المريضة بالسرطان بينما كان يحاول ان يشفيها من قبل مما جعله لا يستطيع ان يقوم بها بعد ذلك
يعمل لدي احد رجال الاعمال والمراهانات الغير قانونية بهارلم، بابا تشارلز

اخو ميمفيس الصغير ، لديه موهبة قراءة الكروت من قبل ان يراها...التنبوء ، تخشي عليه عمتهم ان يظهرها موهبتهما تلك بالاخص للاخت ووكر التي تساعد اسحاق تنمية موهبته

الاخت ووكر
سيدة غامضة سوداء... تساعد اسحاق واخيه..سنعرف لاحقا بنهاية الكتاب الاول انها صديقة ويل فيتزرجالد وكانت معه في مشروع الحكومة السري


ظهرت في الكتاب الاول علي انها نادلة ذات العيون الخضراء بمطعم بشانيا تاون، الحي الصيني، ذات اصول مختلطة صينية/ايرلندية، موهبتها انها تستطيع التواصل مع الموتي في الاحلام...حيث تسير مثل هنري
وهي ايضا مثل هنري لها ميول مثلية

بيل الاعمي
رجل اسود اعمي فقير لكن ثقة ميمفس به وعمته تجعله مقيم لديها بالبيت...لكن يتضح ان وراءه سر خطير ولديه موهبة مظلمة حيث يتسبب في متاعب صحية لاسحاق، الاخ الصغير لميمفس

الاختان بروكتر
سيدتان عجوزتان جدا تعيشان في المبني العتيق بنيويورك (جارة عم ويل وجيريكو، زيتا وهنري، مابيل روز) وهما يقوما بعمل تعاويذ عجيبة لابعاد اشباح الموتي...او يقوما بتقديم تحذيرات عجيبة للابطال واحيانا يذبحوا احد القطط الكثيرة ببيتهما لعمل تنبوء بفن النيكرومانسي الاسود
المبني نفسه العتيق المرعب يذكرني جدا بمنزل نيويوركي اخر من رواية
666 Park Avenue

هناك ايضا الصحفي وودسون الذي تستخدمه ايفي للشهرة والجندي المتشرد الذي يحاول اغتيالها، الرجال المتشحين بالسواد التابعين للحكومة ويراقبا كل شئ...جاك مارلو العالم الكبير صاحب ويل قبل خلاف بخصوص المشروع السري
وسارة كونور المذيعة بالراديو والمبشرة المسيحية التي تحاول تحذير الناس من خطر الروحانيين ذوي المواهب الغير طبيعية

وهناك دوما
الرجل ذو القبعة الطويلة ، ملك الغربان، الرجل الرمادي

هل تعرف اسطورة بابا ليجبا؟ التي ذكرت في مسلسل
American Horror Story
أو رامبيل ستيلتسكين الذي يحقق الامنيات ولكن بثمن خطير....وحتي ما يحققه من امنيات لا يكون ابدا كما كان متوقعا
نوع من انواع الشياطين النفسية البشعة
اختارته المؤلفة ليكون الشخصية المرعبة الاساسية للسلسلة، الوحش
لا يظهر حتي منتصف جزءها الثالث -كفولدمورت مثلا- لكن تنبؤات ظهوره كانت موجودة منذ الجزء الاول وظهور من بعيد له

ورمزيا يعتبر موفق جدا لان السلسلة بشكل عام عن الامنيات...الاحلام...والاثمان التي ندفعها لتحقيقها


كل الشخصيات السابقة، مع أحداث ممتعة مرعبة واجتماعية وسياسية يخوضونها خلال 3 اجزاء حتي الان..مع لمحات من ماضيهم ، كل هذا يجعل السلسلة ثرية جدا، مشوقة في قراءتها وممتعة وتستحق ربما اكثر من 4 اجزاء
ليه ده وقتها؟
بتقول المؤلفة في النهاية ان الرواية عن الاشباح...لاننا نعيش بمنزل مسكون
ستجد التفرقة واخطاء الماضي كلها تتكرر... ترامب وعنصريته ... فلسطين الأرض التي تستوطن باراقة دماء أصحاب الأرض الأصليين. ..التلاعب في الجينات وخلق الله

جرب السلسلة...وصدقني ستجد انها مختلفة كثيرا عن الروايات الشبابية الاخري المنتشرة

محمد العربي
من 17 ديسمبر 2017
الي 28 ديسمبر 2017
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
577 reviews5,582 followers
March 23, 2020

Libba Bray has stepped up her game SO hard. This is one of my favorite novels of 2017. She speaks out about the ghosts of American history and how it haunts the world. She speaks out against racism in the 20's and denounces anti-immigration rhetoric that is used often at that time.

Ugh. It was great.

WARNING: There is a sexual assault scene in the chapter The Übermensch. Please take care of yourself when you read this. This scene was unnecessary and I'm upset that it was included. I hope Libba learns from this and knows not to include random sexual assault scenes for the sake of shock factor.

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of eugenics, xenophobia, the use of the N (N*gr*) word, sex trafficking, homophobia
Profile Image for Layla.
315 reviews347 followers
July 28, 2021
~ 2 stars ~

Trigger warnings: sexual assault and attempted rape

***beware of unmarked spoilers***

Thank you Yeganeh, who btw is amazing, for buddy reading this with me! Here is her REVIEW.

*sigh* My disappointment in this series has intensified greatly.

The first half was okay, kind of boring to be honest and the plot was super messy for no reason, but overall okay. But then the second half was horrible. I feel as if there is no clear direction for the plot, and I hate it. There are much too many antagonists and subplots and I now care even less than I did before

Particularly, the thing that disappointed me was the way it used sexual assault as a plot device. At least that was how I interpreted it. I do not like love triangles, especially when it is blatantly obvious who the right choice is and the significance of this trope in the book is absent. And on top of all that, it used sexual assault to severe the "connection" (if we can even call it that), between the two characters. Instead of taking a typical and acceptable enough route to resolve it, the path it took was one of the love interests attempting to rape the character while under the influence of some serum he was given without knowledge of the effects that made him loose control over himself and who he is (sO hE'S nOt TeChNiqUaLly a BaD gUy). It was just unsettling and could have been dealt with in better ways. Obviously a character sexually assaulting another is going to disqualify them from the running (at least it should) for potential love interest, which makes it easy because now there is one choice left. But just because that path it took is an easy one, does not mean it is right. This book also didn't speak and deal with the aftermath for the victim mentally. And I'm pretty sure we were still supposed to like this supposed "nice guy". Like we weren't supposed to hate him. I never did like him to begin with. I just think that he is bland and I kept on forgetting that he existed and then unfortunately reminded of his existence. But still, even if I didn't like him, I was still bothered by how it dealt with him.

Another thing that I hated was how horny everyone in this book was. Right before the literal climax (of the book), instead of adding to the intensity and tension (of the plot), there was a random chapter sprinkled in with a bunch of sudden and uncalled for sex scenes (inexplicit) between the couples and love confessions and whatnot. Like I do not care. Keep it in your pants. Why is this relevant at the moment? It just went wayward and disconnected me from the story. I feel like this book could have and should have gone on without this chapter. There is always a time and a place for romance in a non-romance book, hence why it is a SUB-plot. Sub as in to the side and not interfering with the main plotline or diverting the focus away.

It additionally did a lot of matchmaking. Every character ended up having a partner. Some that didn't even need one and would have been exponentially better off single at the moment. I don't know why some in books do this and why there is a tendency to have to couple up all the characters in a series. As if leaving a character alone romantically makes them alone in all sense. They can be happy and have purpose without a romantic partner. Platonic relationships if well formed and developed are just as interesting to read about as romantic ones.

The last thing I want to point out is how I did not care for any the character deaths in this book. Sorry lol.

Honestly I'm really disappointed and sad that there is so much potential being wasted here, but it is what it is. This book was not good, but the finale was worse, so I'll lenient be here for that reason only.
Profile Image for Chesca (thecrownedpages).
309 reviews159 followers
May 4, 2018


“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

Libba Bray's Before the Devil Breaks You dug me up a grave and I am now properly haunting its vicinity!

The Diviners have started exercising their abilities in preparation for the onslaught of America's dead and The King of Crows. As Evie, Sam, and the other Diviners unravelled Project Buffalo further, they realized that they were facing more lies and secrets than they could've ever imagined.

This book has everything: ghosts (the holy and the unholy), science-fiction, romance, a variety of race and culture, conspiracies, creepy men in dark suits, politics, fight for human rights, anarchy, etc. So many things happened, but what mattered was that this story was about people striving in their own ways to create a great nation.

First of all, a warning: I would like to mention that, although they were not graphic in detail, this novel has quite an amount of implied sexual situations. One of them was even uncomfortable to read: Chapter 12. It was disturbing.

I am so proud of the characters, most especially of Evie, Theta, Mabel, and, of course, my beloved Sam! They've changed a lot, became braver and more transparent to the people that mattered greatly to them.

The only character that annoyed me in this installment was Jericho. There were so many times that I just wanted to push him or punch him. I miss the old him. He should just go back to spending 24/7 with Nietzsche.

“There was such fear in the world. But love was everywhere if you looked. It was the best thing about humans. That they could stare into the abyss and still open up their hearts. A spit in the eye to fear.”

Sometimes I forget that Sam's not my boyfriend and that he's fictional and that I am still single. The relationships were exquisitely done since the beginning and they were even much better now. More intense and swoon-worthy! The only relationship that saddened me was the crumbling

A lot of things were revealed about Project Buffalo, and it was bigger and more dangerous than what they all expected. How could one escape a beast as grand as this?

I expected more from the Asylum parts but it didn't matter much because of how things wrapped up. But I think it played its part well in the sense of plot development.
Now, let's talk about the reason why I'm not okay and won't be for a while: the ending. That was one long torture. Was it necessary to

Final thoughts: I highly recommend this book. Here's a new favorite for me. I wish the next book's already here because that was one agonizing cliffhanger.


OMG IT HAS A RELEASE DATE AND A BLURB. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG. I LOVE ASYLUMS! I mean, I love stories that take place in such eerie atmospheres, not that I've been to one and found it enjoyable.

But please tell me that the page count is wrong. 336 pages?? Are you kidding me?! I was expecting 800 pages!

Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
May 22, 2018
**Trigger warnings: depression/alcoholism, attempted rape, domestic abuse/sexual assault, racism/prejudice against interracial relationships, gore

I will admit that my reading experience of this was a bit tainted because it took me so long to finish. During my listen of this (a 21 hour long audiobook), I was moving out of my dorm and coming home for the summer, and once I was home, I found very little time to sit down and listen for more than an hour at a time, so it was pretty choppy. However, I do think that this book didn't really assist me at all in the department of being easy to listen to. Whereas the first two books in this series flew by and felt like watching a movie, this one almost seemed disjointed.

Firstly, these are books more and more feel like you can read each one as a standalone. Each book focuses on something new and none of the villains or conflicts seem to coincide in a believable, flowing manner. I like each of the conflicts in the series separately, but I just don't understand how they correlate, if they do. It just seems like problem after problem is thrust upon them and they just continue to compile with seemingly no link between.

Secondly, the characters in this began to act so differently than typical. I know it's all just in the arc of their character growth and I think this book definitely challenges each character the most, but I was especially disappointed in how Mabel, Theta, and Jericho seemed to take a step backwards rather than forwards. Libba is such a smart writer that I can sort of understand the grand scheme and what she was trying to do.

Lastly, this book was just... slow. The end picked up and I listened to the last 6 hours in one night so that's all that's fresh in my mind, but I remember picking this up and barely being able to sit through one chapter because I was bored. Maybe it was me and not the book, but this one just wasn't up to par with the rest of the series plot-wise.

Despite all that, I will say I am LOVING the development of this series. The cast of characters is unlike any I have ever read in a series, and each character shines so brightly. The representation is done SO well and so naturally, and I especially loved conversations that arise about interracial relationships, whether or not Ling would heal her disability (spoiler: no), and asexuality. Libba continues to build a sense of social justice and inclusivity into her books, and this book's message about America being built on ghosts and history being brushed aside or tidied for public viewing is shocking and impressive to expound in a YA book, but also to do it so masterfully. This book continues to paint such a clear picture of life, racism, and prejudice in the 20s, but also how combat those same injustices that still exist today.

I think this book really raised the stakes on seeing more of the characters. This is the book where a lot of the couples finally *ahhem* consummate, and I couldn't wipe a grin off of my face the entire time. I love all of these characters, and I'm head over heels for all the different, diverse ships. Besides that, these characters are warriors, both in social justice and with their actual diviner abilities.

I'm so excited for the fourth installment of this series and I continue to highly recommend them!
Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
439 reviews2,868 followers
February 16, 2020
2020 reread:

Oddly, this book was not my favorite the second go round. I still obviously loved it, but I think I like book 2 the best now! I am dying to get to King of Crows now after that cliffhanger.

I reread as part of the Diviners Club readalong. You can watch our liveshow discussion on my channel: https://youtu.be/dmOX1ZOdpyk

Booktube | Instagram | Twitter


2017 read:


...in the best way possible. This series seriously keeps getting better and better. I don't even know how to describe my thoughts on this. I loved every single second. It delves so much deeper into both the characters and the plot. I really can't even begin to explain how much I loved this book. I need the next one NOW.

To put it simply: Libba Bray is a goddess. Nothing but respect for MY president.
Profile Image for Cameron Cassidy.
Author 8 books5 followers
Want to read
March 1, 2017
Libba officially announced today DIVINERS #3 is coming out spring 2017!!!! Commence the heavy breathing

Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
612 reviews237 followers
June 23, 2020
“Before the Devil breaks you, first he will make you love him.”

Oh hell, I’m impressed. This was by far the best book in The Diviners series, having exceeded my expectations by a considerable amount. The character development paired with the constantly moving plot and relentless new revelations made for something really great.

In this instalment, the Diviners band together in order to take on the threat of lurking spirits. All over the country, people have begun reporting visions of ghosts and reoccuring dreams of a man in a stovepipe hat--the King of Crows. When patients of the Ward’s Island insane asylum begin warning of threats regarding these same spirits, the Diviners are forced to act.

For a series commencing in New York amidst the 1920’s, the diverse representation is lovely to see, and so well done. Libba Bray includes jewish, gay, asian, black, and disabled main characters into her narrative while doing a spectacular job at handling the discriminations of the time through them.

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

I loved how well balanced each aspect of this story was. There was a perfect amount of buildup, plot turmoil, character development and romance. The pacing was consistent throughout the entirety of the novel with never a dull moment.

Bray’s writing is one of the greatest things about this series. It’s easily some of the best in the young adult genre. Her way of embodying the past through narrative is incredbly well done; the dialogue encompasses the old New York atmosphere perfectly.

I’m left really eager for the final book in this series, The king of Crows. I’ve got a feeling it won’t disappoint!
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,675 followers
August 11, 2018
I don't agree with that title, there's nothing remotely uncertain about the sound of my heart breaking, is there? Before the Devil Breaks You? Sounds like a fucking lie, gone there, done that, RIGHT? And we have no release date for book four? HAHAHAHAHAHA now that's just mean.

SEE ME though. SEE ME. 😭😭😭

5 stars minus one star because sexual assault should never be a plot twist.
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,907 followers
February 12, 2021
I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST READ THAT. these plot twists make me want to scream (I did) and throw my phone (I did not)

I have no idea how y’all survived 3 years waiting for The King of Crows, *sends a thousand virtual hug*

“It was impossible to imagine that such harm could happen under the promise of such a blue sky.”

— overall thoughts: 4.5 —
content warnings//
representation: poc main characters, asian main character with physical disability, african-american main character, lgbtq main character, latinx main character, side character with mental illness

the diversity of this cast, not just in representation but in their personality as well is just so distinct. this is what i crave!! at the same time, diversity reps don’t ever become a character’s defining trait which I love.

“All the times I say, ‘Don’t see me’? With you, I wish I had an opposite power: See me. See me, Evie. See all of me. There’s a fella who loves you right here. I’m not perfect. I’m a handful. But you know what? So are you. There. Not sugarcoating it.”

🌚 thoughts empty. head full of: SAM
because I just think that we need more non-toxic love interests... yes i'm looking at you jericho. His relationship with Evie with their never ending quips at each other is just so damn adorable. Find someone who would be happy just to see you laugh, people.

I love him. I love them. I want more. I will reread this just for Sam and Evie.

“Be gone loneliness. I have no time for you.”

🌚 as usual, themes of white supremacy, feminism, and a lot of things that we are still fighting for today are prevalent and central to the plot

🌚 I am constantly and pleasantly surprised at how much the world expands in every book. And yet the characters are also never defined by their powers. Just like their diversity reps. At the very core of everything, they are just people and Libba Bray does not fail to get that.

Since each book does sort of focus on different characters I'm really happy that we got to spend more time with her

🌚 character dynamics and development
You guys have no idea how long I have been rooting for all of them to just simply be in the same room and now we get to see them having both girls' and boys' nights out. The way that they all interact with each other gahhhh *chef's kiss* i love

aside from the main group that we have come to know over 40+ hours of audiobook is even more side characters that i just had no idea what to think about until the ending and I appreciate Libba Bray's patience in pulling all of these themes, characters and plot together

the characters felt like they have grown into themselves. Since their relationships play such a huge part in the plot I really loved that we got to spend so much time with them. While I did think that there was a lot of meanings in their various interactions, I was also just simply happy to me to be able to be around the cast. they feel like home <3

🌚 dare I say it that the pay-off was worth it. We all know at this point how slow the pacing of the story is but this is one of the rare books that I actually don't care. Every scene is flushed out and made me not want the book to end. And besides, would you really want such an atmospheric book end so quickly?

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


I shall now go and buy physical copies of these just so that I can highlight every page while waiting for my copy of the last book to arrive because I am broken-hearted (and definitely did not cry)

I once again feel like this review does not reflect my love for it with all it's messages and meaning but it's okay because I am so beyond satsfied.

// buddy read with Mina, Jen K, Michelle, and Selina

instagram | blog | ko-fi | booksirens
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
212 reviews3,657 followers
February 13, 2020
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray is the third book in the Diviners series, so don't worry, no spoilers! The Diviners has been all over BookTube in the past six months as everyone has been gearing up for the release of the fourth and final installment.  The Diviners is one of the most beloved YA series in publication and it is such for good reason.  It takes the glamorous setting of Manhattan in the 1920's and infuses it with the supernatural.  Libba Bray doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of the racism of the age and I love two of our main characters are from Chinatown and Harlem.  There's representation for so many groups, just as there is in the real world, and it really makes Libba's characters jump off the page.  She offers a satirical take on the current state of our nation which can be uncomfortable (in a good way) at times.  Before the Devil Breaks You examines what it means to be American and how warped some people's views can be.  While this installment answered some questions, I've found myself left with even more and I'm so glad I don't have to wait for the conclusion because I truly don't know how I would be able to.  Before the Devil Breaks You is full of action as the story continues to build and our Diviners get more and more intertwined with all of the chaos they're sure to face in book four.  I still can't decide which book I think is the most frightening to date.  I definitely want to spend a month re-reading everything back to back in the future!
Profile Image for Ashley.
756 reviews402 followers
April 29, 2021
Star Rating: —>> 5 Stars !

[quick review- possible more in depth RTC?
on to The King of Crows... can’t waittttt one more seconddddd to read it! *bites fingernails* ]

(I mean, every book in this series has been a 5 star read for me...)

Boy was this one emotional
My heart physically hurts- my goodness...
(Pain Scale level = 10/10)
Holy effing moly.

My goodness, I haven’t barreled through a series with individual books that are each 500 plus pages this fast- since... I have no idea how long! I think i’ve gobbled one book each day since I started reading the series. What a rollercoaster ride, too, my Nerves are shot lol. I think i’ve felt every emotion in existence while within these pages; in this third installment the most so, thus far.

I have to say at times this book made my
Heart SOAR, but right now, I’m hurting so badly that Before The Devil Breaks Me, might have actually freakin’ broke me; it ripped my heart right out & into shreds. It then sutured it up, only to rip it apart all over again, rinse & repeat .

It was so moving that besides the whole ripping my heart out of my chest thing- I cried over true love & heartbreak... and felt such intense emotions over the most scary, crazy, awful, sexy, & shocking events thus far in the series... I mean from huge betrayals to deaths to love & lust... 😱 wild.

There were also the creepiest crawlies thus far! Anchored in the bonds between the likeliest of, as well as quite unlikely (but friends all the same) friendships, the always present familial bond between memphis and Isaiah, and the discovery of the truest of loves...

Man this was just so absolutely incredible.

This book was the bees knees in all ways. So much more than that, actually. It truly does take a lot to keep my attention what with the crazy high levels of anxiety and ADD that i’ve been experiencing lately- It has been my saving Grace.

This series is something so very special!
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
439 reviews971 followers
November 7, 2019
An emotional and terrifyingly eerie chapter of the Diviner series!

This has taken me a while to write because I was so emotionally drained after the ending of this book! Also I was a little intimidated by some of the stellar reviews on this! I'm gonna add my thoughts on it anyway!

"Before the Devil breaks you, first he will make you love him. Beware, little sister. Beware the King of Crows!"

I just love reading about these characters! I'm at the point where I would basically read about anything they do, BUT this book happens to be a fantastic addition to the series, and I enjoyed it very much! The plot was amazing and the setting was as fabulous as before! I was so immersed in the 1920's NY setting, that I thought I was one of the flapper girls or something...

Lights are bright
Jazz is king
Parties are wild
BUT the dead are coming...."

In this instalment, the diviners have to come together in order to fight immigrant ghosts, and they finally come face to face with the King of Crows himself! So basically we have ghost hunting teenagers with superpowers!
The ghosts were terrifying, as they murdered and possessed people all over NYC. They all creeped me out with the same message repeated over and over,
"We are the forgotten, forgotten no more."
There were many creepy scenes, but particularly the basement scene, (why oh why do people go into evil basements?!!) The first meeting with the King of Crows, (eek) and that bath tub scene in the asylum! I was actually listening to that one whilst I was in the bath, and my heart was pounding! Another creepy mantra that freaked me out, which the ghosts repeated was,
"The land is old, the land is vast,
He has no future, he has no past,
His coat is sewn with many woes,
He'll bring the dead, the King of Crows."

All of the threads and subplots from the previous books start to come together in Before the Devil Breaks You, and I freaking loved every single one of them! Whilst the characters were busy facing ghosts, there were other major themes happening too. Like in the previous two books, Libba Bray embraced some really dark and gritty topics. She did not sugar coat the twenties! Despite it being an era of glamorous parties and developing industry, there was also prohibition, gang crime, corrupt police, KKK and racism, Eugenics, poverty, and segregation, and Bray showed how this was part of every day life for our diverse group of characters. Many of these themes disgusted me, and also boke my heart, as I saw my babies face prejudices for being black, Jewish, mixed race, gay, and disabled. The author's note at the end actually made me tear up as Libba Bray herself said,
"We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house."

Then there was the last few percent of the book! Libba, Libba, you almost killed me with those last few chapters! NO ONE felt safe!

The characters...I have talked about my love for them in my reviews of the previous two books, but I now possibly love them even more! There was so much character development in here, from Evie, to Mabel and Theta. In the last book, I was desperate to follow both Mabel and Theta on their journey, and I definitely got that in this book! Each character in this huge cast was important in their own way, each had their own distinct voice. Not only our diviners, but also Will, Rotke, Margaret, blind Bill, Jake Marlow and even Roy. Every character went through so much heartbreak and betrayal in this story! My heart broke over and over for them! 😭 And yet there was also love, hope, joy and don't forget the stellar banter, especially between Sam and..well anyone! I loved my little fox the best and will not hide it!

I cannot write a review about any book in this series, without mentioning the fabulous audiobook narrator, January LaVoy! Like, are we sure she's just one person?! Seriously?! 🤔😂🥰 She narrated more than ten characters in this instalment, and yet every single one of them sounded awesome!
I must also mention the research that went into writing this book, and series! Everything felt authentic, and well thought out.

I highly recommend both this dark and powerful book, and it's predecessors, The Diviners and Lair of Dreams! Roll on February, so that I can get my little grabby hands on the final chapter, The King of Crows!
Rtc but I have to say Libba Bray was not afraid to sacrifice characters in this installment!
Profile Image for Sabrina.
358 reviews30 followers
April 18, 2020
5 out of 5 stars.
This is going to be a long review guys.

I want to look at The Diviners series as a whole first. It’s a narrative constructed around identity, first and foremost, and young adult is the perfect age group for the audience and these characters; it allows the characters to change, to discover, and encountering consequences for the first time (and this, particularly, is made clear in the third book, where a lot of the characters start to suffer because of this).

The Diviners series is also a ghost story. About the past, of a nation and the people in it, of all the stories those people are born with or carry down generation after generation. It's, more than anything, about what "being American" really is, and the scope of diveristy and experiences that everyone has, and whether they choose to tell that story or not.

Are cycles of abuse and cruelty just doomed to repeat? Is evil inherent or man-made? How generational is trauma and how much do we owe the past or the future generations?

Before The Devil Breaks You takes idea’s about country, identity, and the way that shapes you. The ghosts (while terrifying at time - the asylum section especially was, I'd argue, some of the best horror we've had in this series so far) are a vessel for this discussion on repercussions. The larger narrative being weaved is about mistakes and the repeating the past, and it serves as a mirror in the fictional, past, america, but also contains warnings and commentary about present day, real world america.

This is why Jake Marlowe, in particular, makes for an incredibly interesting, and far easier to despise villain (more so than “The King of Crows”). He's one of the most powerful men in this particular version of 1920's New York, and he's also one of the cruellest. His interest in eugenics, his abuse of power and conviction in how right he is is terrifying, all the more so because of how realistic he is. His dictation of what an "american" is (quite literally, for him, a straight white male), pins a discussion around morality politics, that like much in his own backstory with Evie's uncle (hinted at in Lair of Dreams, and uncovered in this novel)

You could tell Before The Devil Breaks You was the shortest in this series, coming in at around 560 pages (The first book was closer to 600 pages, and Lair of Dreams was 600+), and it showed when certain characters such as Ling and Henry got less attention than usual. The length has never bothered me however, it seems long but instead it creates a fast-paced and compelling narrative with extremes amount of detail and depth.The writing was extremely strong, and I'm constantly in awe at how easily Libba Bray balances action with dialogue.

However, at certain parts, especially towards the end of the book, scenes did feel shoe-horned in or rushed. Such as the case for characters like Ling and Henry. I didn’t mind too much these characters got less screen-time, and although Ling especially is one of my favourites, we still got to see glimpses of her own arc, and it was wonderful and everything I hoped for.

And there was one part however, that I didn’t like (which is rare for me in any Libba Bray novel), and that was involving Jericho and a very uncomfortable scene. I wish there had been some more dialogue or conversation around this, as it left me in a really weird place with his character, and I still don’t know how I feel about it.

On the other hand, one character that I was particularly taken aback by was Mabel Rose. Mabel is someone that I’ve always been more curious of and that’s never seen much development. That all changed, in a (literally) radical way, and her arc was as shocking as it was mesmerising. It was like watching a car crash in motion and not being able to stop it.

This series is about the injustices everyone faces, and the imbalance of power that resurfaces and affects everyone in different forms. I am continually left shaken not just by the emotional rollercoaster and depth that every single character takes you, not just over the course of the series but especially in Before The Devil Breaks You.

And I couldn’t write this review without mentioning Theta. I don't want to spoil her arc especially (and I'm aware that this review has become nothing but one big praise-fest). Her development was so powerful. We saw her actualising, coming to accept her past - who she was and who she is (and that plays back into the overarching themes of the narrative, once again).

I can’t ever articulate enough how compelling and haunting Before The Devil Breaks You was. The last 150 pages were especially action-packed, an emotional and almost physical (I was gasping, catching my breath, yelling at the book) roller-coaster, leaving the reader with some questions answered but also quite a few surprising cliffhanger’s.

(And I thought the wait for this book would be bad, the wait for the 4th one is going to be so much worse).

The Author’s Note at the end of the book summed up this book, and indeed this series better than I ever could.

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity.
We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and present. The future is unwritten.
This is a book about ghosts.
For we live in a haunted house.”

Every book in this series has been 5/5 stars. I would give Before The Devil Breaks You even more, if Goodreads allowed me to. This series isn’t the most popular or well-known series, young adult or otherwise, but The Diviners, and especially this latest instalment, is one of the most well-written and complex, compelling series that I’ve had the pleasure to read.

I can’t wait for the fourth book (I can genuinely say I never want this series to end).

Also, one last note that I’m putting under spoilers to scream about:
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,085 followers
October 18, 2017
2.5 stars

This was way too slow and far too long. The story only really kicked off and got interesting in the last 25% or so. Before then everything either moved at a snail's pace or consisted of repetitive angst and various issues between the characters. Evie kept banging on about her dead brother and dwindling fame, Sam kept moaning about his missing mum, Mabel bitched about her insecurities and jealousy, Memphis droned on about love, his poetry and Papa Charles, and Theta kept whinging about her crappy husband. It was the same stuff over and over.

Random thoughts:

Thought it was fucked up how the love triangle between Sam/Evie/Jericho was resolved by Jericho becoming rapey after the bad guy injected him with serum that happened to have a rapey side effect.

Mabel went from being a desperate loser to a fool of the biggest kind. Her petty jealousy of Evie, other girls and even her own mother made her too pathtic to care about.

Theta/Memphis had less than zero chemistry, they were both far more entertaining away from each other.

Ling and Henry fet like such non characters compared to everyone else. They barely had a place in the story.

Really enjoyed the last quarter of the story, shame about the rest of it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,123 reviews245 followers
February 2, 2020
*re-read update, bumping rating to 5 stars*
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)
Profile Image for Aleksandra.
1,376 reviews
October 15, 2017
First thing you need to know is that I love this book and it is the best book I've read in 2017.
Second thing you need to know that Before The Devil Breaks You is the third book in the series, I highly recommend to read the series (first book is The Diviners, the second is Lair of Dreams) and as it's the third book, I won't be saying any detailed thoughts on plot or character development, because spoilers.
Third thing you need to know that I'll be overusing words like amazing, gorgeous and favorite, because Before The Devil Breaks You is an amazing book with gorgeous writing and storytelling, hands down, my favorite of the year!

This book is a true masterpiece, it is simply flawless, I always look for diverse books with great plot and lovable characters. This book is it!

Plot & storytelling

The book has one of the most complex and multi-layred stories I've ever come across. A lot of the events happening in book 3 were set up in book 1, little scenes and moments came into play in the third book oh did the author delivered a great story. The book is a total page-turner, it's gripping, it's creepy and it makes you think. Moreover, there are 7+ pov plot lines and it wasn't bothersome or overcrowded, I love all main characters equally and the story is so well-balanced between different povs, subplot and major plot line. Libba Bray is a queen of Plotting and Writing.


Diverse characters in historical setting where their marginalization and its influence on their life is addressed and discussed! The Diviners gang might be my favorite fictional squad. There are found family and misfits coming together tropes, which are my absolute favorite tropes. All the characters are well-drafted, flawed and real. There are people of color, disabled and queer characters as main characters. I wanted to say who is my favorite character is but I can't pick one, I just can't, so allow me to gush about all of them for a bit.

*Evie is Object Reader and she's the star, I love that she's selfish, vain and she loves being in the center of attention, yes, she's flawed, but also Evie is loyal, passionate and she would do everything to protect the people she loves.
*Mabel Rose is sweet and kind, but that might be her downfall? Mabel was truly shining in this novel. I loved her arc.
*Sam Lloyd aka Sergei Lubovitch is Russian-Jewish immigrant, he's a thief and he jokes around, but same as Evie, when it comes to protecting his family he would do anything, he has a good heart, I love my sweet Russian boy.
*Jericho, Jericho, Jericho... I have conflicted feelings about him, but I do believe he has a good heart and I'm looking forward to seeing his further character development.
*Memphis is black boy in New York, he is numbers runner for local gang and he's aspiring poet, also he's a healer. Memphis is the sweetest, I love him so much! Memphis has a younger brother Isaiah who's also a Diviner. I loved reading their sibling dynamics.
*Theta, Theta, Theta..she's an actress, dancer and a Diviner. Also she's a survivor of domestic abuse and she's the stronger person in the story imo. Her arc is one of the best in the whole series. She has had such a journey and I'm so proud of who she's become.
*Ling, my beautiful science nerd from China Town, she's biracial disabled girl and she's homoromantic asexual. She's passionate about science, she's a good daughter and a good friend! Ling is a Dreamwalker and she's the friends with another dreamwalker Henry. (btw there are hints on future romance for Ling, I can't wait)
*Henry DuBois The Fourth is a darling, he's very talented musician, he has been friends with Theta since before the events of the series. Henry is gay son who runs away from his rich family (it's one of the focuses of Lair of Dreams btw). I love Henry so much.

Honorary mention of Connor whom I'll protect at all cost.

The antagonists and villains of the story are well-written as well. Without revealing too much about the plot, I say they are terrifying and realistic. Both supernatural threats and just plain humans, they were terrifying.

Before The Devil Breaks You is timely and important book. A book set in 1920s is so relevant today, history repeats itself. Libba Bray addresses a lot of difficult topics with outrage and fury these topics deserve. I loved it. The book isn't a one-issue story, every aspect of the world and that time weaven seamlessly together to create amazing complex story, one I've never read before.

All in all, The Diviners is gorgeous breathtaking and delightfully creepy series, with every next book better than the previous one.

Paranormal + 1920s NYC + ghosts + superhuman abilities + diverse cast + conspiracy + great writing and storytelling = The Diviners series.
Highly recommend!

Trigger warning: bigotry, racism, slurs, abuse, domestic abuse, eugenics, various manifestations of ideas of white "superiority", kidnapping, forced medication, attempted sexual assault (please let me know if I've forgotten something, I'll include it to the list)
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 3 books2,245 followers
August 3, 2018
Flat out, January LaVoy is the best audiobook narrator, ever. She's phenomenal. But now, onto the book.

This was a phenomenal, spooky, and often times downright scary book that thrilled and enthralled me. I adore these characters, I am incredibly invested in the plot, and I want more, always. There was so much going on in this book and all of it was amazingly done. It's diverse, it speaks to social issues our country has dealt with and continues to, and it discusses good/bad and forgiveness versus saying enough is enough. It is complex and richly woven and oh my goodness, Libba is a master.

I couldn't love this book more if I wanted to, it's just that good. It is heartbreaking and anxiety inducing but the hope and love in it, too...it's so good. The fear, that King of Crows, the forgotten, and the sing song rhyming warnings...straight chills. I want the next book, immediately and I also want this series to never, ever end. I want these characters to live in my mind forever and to be happy and protected and safe but I know that's not a reality, not for these characters and not in this world.

If you want a cast of characters you love and a story that both warms your heart and chills it at the same time, this is a series for you!
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