Monday, 6 November 2017

Review: Before The Devil Breaks You


Before The Devil Breaks You
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.


Fiiiinaaaallllyyyyy! I feel like I've been waiting for an eternity for this book to come out, but it's well worth the wait, I'm not going to lie! Before The Devil Breaks You immediately pulls you in with the eerily atmospheric and creepily vivid writing. I love how rich the writing and descriptions are and I love the language and turns of phrase used. It all adds to the mental picture Bray creates for you and really puts you in to the time period. And you know...as usual it's creepy from the start, I mean...this time we're at an asylum on an island in the middle of nowhere and there's ghosts everywhere

All of our favourite characters return, naturally! Evie is quite possibly the most relatable character I have ever come across. Much like Evie, I talk too much, I'm too loud, and I understand what she wants and where she's coming from. I want to be someone too. So I actually find her so relatable that it hurts. I have a tendency of getting a bit too emotionally attached to her! In this particular book, she really showcased how relatable she was and we got a deeper look at her and how she thinks and feels. 

Sam and Henry are my other two favourite characters. I love them. They both crack me up, but they both have more vulnerable sides to them. Sam and Evie's bickering is hilarious but he's also quite sweet when he wants to be and we see more of him this book and what he's really like beneath his mask. Henry is just too adorable. He's there for his friends, he's always happy and cheerful and then in this book we get to see more of Henry's struggles. What he went through as a child and how it effects him, and we kind of see him lose his cool a little bit. 

Theta...well things are going pretty well for Theta but she's struggling with her power and being haunted by her past. She's so brilliantly written, and when she comes face to face with her past you're rooting for her but she's so easy to understand and empathise with. Her character and her story and emotions are very believably written. Theta goes on quite the journey this book and we really get to see just how strong she is, but you also see how much she's been through and how vulnerable she is too. Theta is quite possibly about to come over all Sabrina the Teenage Witch too, which should be interesting! 

Ling is still very blunt, and her hero worship of a certain two characters worried me for most of the book buuuuttt the betrayal to her is going to be interesting to see play out. Ling also provides some more LGBTQ rep in the book along with Henry...I don't want to spoil it, but I loved finding out that little fact about Ling, it's not a representation you see a lot in historical books. Memphis....guys I spent half of this book shouting at him about Bill. Like COME ON MEMPHIS! He and Theta have a bit of a rough ride this book but they come out the other side, and Memphis and his brother are going to be going on quite the interesting journey I think. 

Jericho.....oh Jericho. He's like Captain America for most of the book, but I had a feeling it wouldn't end well and then a certain part of the book happened. Jericho is Captain America meets Jekyll and Hyde. I had a feeling he was going to go that way and then he disappears in to the ether...where is he? What's he doing? Who knows, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to repair things with certain people and it's going to be interesting to see how he handles the changes and fits back in. Mabel...I felt for Mabel, believe me I did. But I really wanted to shake her once or twice and her new friends where largely a group of a-holes. Really didn't like Aron and I was undecided on Luis and Gloria for most of it. Let's just say they didn't make a good first impression. Alma and David both pop up again and I'm excited to see more of them (Hopefully) and what happens with them. They join Team Ghosbuster and I'm really hoping to get to see a lot more of them in the coming books! 

We really get to delve more in to each of the main characters, and get a more in depth look at them and their thought processes and what makes them tick. We get more glimpses of their pasts, see their personalities more and more, and get to see more depth in their relationships with each other. I really do think they become closer and their relationships with each other grow and develop more over the course of this book. Particularly with Ling and Memphis and his brother all of whom are relatively new to the group. 

I have to say, I've never been sure of Woody. There's been times that I've flat out hated him and wanted to smack him one. But in this book my opinion of him changes a lot. His banter with Evie made me chuckle, and he called Sam and Evie a perfect couple and is clearly a fellow shipper so I'm pretty much willing to give him a pass for everything ever now. But he really shows his solidarity with Evie and the other Diviners and was pretty much the only one on her side at one point. He's genuinely trying to help them with Project Buffalo too. Bill...well....I have never liked him. He was shady from the start and then there's what he was doing...I've been waiting for him to get what's coming to him. I was actually disappointed in Memphis for what he did, but Bill has really turned it around. I'm actually excited to see what's going to happen with his character and see what he's capable of and how much he can develop and change as a character. 

Along with our favourites we get a couple of new characters! Connor I really felt for and I felt like his role in this book was a bit of a disappointment in the end. We finally meet the King of Crows and I'm not entirely sure what to make of him. He's slippery. We don't really see much of Mabel's new friends in this book, but I didn't like what I did see, I'd have been curious to see a bit more of them and their storyline. Arthur has always been shady to me, and he didn't get any less shady but he and Mabel where quite cute. I just wish his past had been expanded on a bit more! 

My favourite ship gets a lot of page time in this book which made me super happy. It's not that I don't like Jericho, I just feel like Sam and Evie fit better! It was a bit rocky at the start of this book, but over the course of this book my ship started sailing again and I can't even. Sam is just too sweet when he wants to be! There where some brilliant scenes between them, funny scenes, cute scenes, and some nice little romantic and steamy scenes. I like that there's romance in this book without it taking away from the main plot and I'm intrigued to see how this is going to play out. I'm hoping this will be it and there won't be anymore problems for my ship but I'm not hopeful! 

After the revelations of the last book, it was pretty obvious our Diviners where about to form their own team and I've been super excited to see that happen. This book lets us explore everyone's powers more. What they can do, what they can't do, how they can strengthen their powers and what they can do with their strengthened powers. Not to mention how they can boost each others powers too. We also get a tonne more information on what the Diviners really are and the history of them. There's so many revelations in this book and shock plot twists. 

Interestingly, we get some flashbacks to Will and Margaret's time at the Department of Paranormal and more insight in to their friendship, the Department, and Wills relationships with Marlowe and Rotke. We also get some of Margaret's past. These little tidbits being thrown in really helped to flesh out the characters, and provided some more puzzle pieces. It also finally changed my opinion of Marlowe. He was a bit shady...then he was really shady, and in this book he just comes across as more and more sinister. The more you find out about him and what happened in the past, the more you realise his character doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of being redeemed. The amount of times I pinched the bridge of my nose while uttering the words "effing hell" because of him was astonishing. He really is....quite the piece of work. "Radiation does no harm". Really bro? Reaaaaaally? 

There's so much I've been wanting to find out and waiting to see happen and a lot of it does happen in this book. We finally get to learn some mroe about Cornelius and Liberty Anne Rathbone. Most importantly...we FINALLY get that scene. You know. The one that explains Evie's dream, and Luther and her brother and 144? Yep. That one. Sweet Jesus this book hit me with all the feels. Like I was happy that we where finally getting some answers and getting some blanks filled in but my feels took quite the hit. 

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was seeing all of the Diviners coming together, and working together towards boosting their powers and handling what was coming and putting all the pieces together. They're like the Avengers meets Sherlock Holmes. The truth about Project Buffalo and what it did and how the Diviners came to be finally came out in all it's glory and it was something I'd suspected. We've had plenty of hints and tidbits dropped and it's nice to finally get some payoff in this book. Most things are laid out in this book which helps to set up for the next books, and kind of shifts us from part one of the story, as it where, on to part two. Like one story ac comes to a close and then we're all ready for things to step up next book. 

Things get a little bit Most Haunted in the asylum. When I read the synopsis I was picturing an old, abandoned one, but I think the occupied one was more terrifying to be honest. Seeing how the patients where treated and what they where there for. Some of them didn't even need to be there. The Asylum also kicks off our merry band of Diviners going full Ghostbusters too! 

The detail in this book is extraordinary, and not just with the historical facts. History permeates this book down to the tiniest details that you wouldn't even think twice at. It's mind blowingly well researched. The places, the food, the makeup, the nitty gritty, tiny little details that we see a tiny glimpse of, or are just mentioned in passing yet must have taken a good deal of time to research. So much effort goes in to these books to make them authentic and historically accurate, which is why I don't mind the wait between books!

But the plot details are extraordinary too! For the first two books, we've gotten hints about various different things and characters and their pasts and so on, like Theta for example as well as Sam and James and Henry and everyone. All these little hints and tidbits have helped us start to form a picture, and some of them come home to roost in this book. I love how things have carried over from the previous books, to be more embellished upon or fully revealed in this book. How the hell does Bray keep track?!

I have to say, this book was creepy. But I think the scariest thing about this book was all the truth in it, and the knowledge that in some respects....things really haven't changed all that much in this day and age. There's just so many relevant things in this book to do with multiple things, eugenics, inter-racial couples, domestic abuse but particularly racism, it's very well done and shown...but it also makes you think about how things have or haven't changed. Regardless it does well to educate on the various issues it brings up.

Before The Devil Breaks You has a steady pace that steams along towards the end. This one broke my heart a little bit, I have to say. Fair warning...there's some character deaths. There's also some shock plot twists and plenty of betrayal and explosive arguments. The Diviners understandably have enough of being lied to and kept in the dark and break out on their own. Things take a darker and deadlier turn as things go downhill towards the end of the book. We end with one kidnapped, and Diviners swiftly losing popularity in the city. I'm not going to lie, things are looking pretty dire and desperate at the end with multiple characters having to flee.

Before The Devil Breaks You sets up the next book, while answering questions and filling in blanks. It raises the stakes and turns things down a darker and more serious path as well as giving us an idea of the coming fight. I'm eagerly awaiting the fourth book already! These books really are decadent with the writing and the detail and how everything fits together so well and this one is no exception!

There weren't any new songs in this book to add to my playlist, buuuuttt back when I reviewed Lair of Dreams I made a playlist with all the songs I could find on Spotify that come from the first two books, check it out:

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