Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinions in my review.
Synopsis: (From GoodReads):Seventeen-year-old Itzy Nash is spending the summer at the exclusive Carlyle hotel in New York City. But the hotel harbors more than the rich and privileged; it is host to a gorgeous fallen angel, reclusive movie stars, and—Itzy soon learns—demons of the worst sort. When the Queen of the Damned checks in, all Hell breaks loose. Itzy is called upon to save herself—and all of humanity—from the ravages of the Underworld. There’s only one problem: Itzy’s possessed.
Part gothic thriller, part historical fiction, the novel straddles the Upper East Side and the lush trappings of the Carlyle hotel, and Paris during the Reign of Terror in 1789. Marie Antoinette is the Queen of the Damned. Marilyn Monroe is an expert demon hunter. To kill a demon, Hermès scarves, Evian water, and a guillotine are the weapons of choice.
Review:When I think of New York, I have images of glitz, glamour, and swanky hotels. One of the most famous hotels in NYC is The Carlyle Hotel.
With it's long history of hosting royalty, celebrities, and presidents, it's makes a glorious setting for Divah, by Susannah Applbaum. The main character, Itzy, is a teen sent to spend the summer with her aunt who is a resident of the iconic hotel. There she finds strange goings on, creepy basement tours, angels and something demonic and ominous scurrying into her duffle bag... And where is Aunt Maude? So begins a fun, fast-paced mystery that was creepy fun to read.
What I liked:
The Setting:There is so much to love about a creepy book being set in a glamorous hotel. I loved how the author used so many details of the hotel (the famous Bemelmans bar, the basement entryways where Marilyn Monroe supposedly was smuggled in to visit President Kennedy) to enhance the novel. I feel as though I have stayed at the hotel (which is sadly, not true).
The Mood:A stunning, decadent hotel room where food is left to rot? Women pumped with so much Botox they can hardly create a facial expression. Marie Antoinette and the royal court of Versailles. All of this helped lay out the theme of society rotting to it's core. Change is in the air, but will we embrace the corruption or cleanse ourselves of the trappings of success?
The Story:Angels, Demons, Fledglings? Love it! The Divah (strong female demon) tries to inhabit the body of Itzy in order to bring about Hell on Earth. There is an age-old struggle going on between good and evil. But there is also a growing third combination of both sides beginning to emerge. I loved the backstory of the angel Luc, as he explains to Itzy how the Divah manifested herlself the last time she was on Earth, as Marie Antoinette.
What I didn't like:
Itzy's missing parents:The last time Itzy saw her mother was when she was a little girl. Her father is also conveniently out of the picture for the summer. One would think Itzy would have some angry feelings for being so abandoned, but the resolution there was not satisfying to me. I think most teens would be throwing a fit if parents jumps in and out of their life like that. But it was just accepted. I would like to think that this is to show that many teens deal with the erratic behaviors of parents all the time. And it could have dragged down the action to have a touching moments between parents and their child. But it is a case of the YA "Missing Parent" syndrome, so I am deducting half a star for clinging to that cliche.
Otherwise I really enjoyed this book. It had action, atmosphere, and angels! So much to love, it was a fun read.
Release date: March 15th, 2016
Source: ARC from Edelwiess
Recommendation: A fun book of good vs. evil set in a swanky hotel.
Would I read more from this author: Yes!