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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Audio ARC Review: Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316126063/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=onderherose-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0316126063&linkId=a8cf7a951646172452cd8a288695147c
Please Note:  I received an advanced audio book from Random House in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also, I have linked the book cover to Amazon.  If you buy the book through this link, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.


Review:
Libba Bray does it again with a creepy third installment in the Diviners series.  Set in the Roaring Twenties, and performed with gusto by performer January LaVoy, this is a creepy ghost story filled with action, romance, and plenty of social commentary.  The book touches on domestic abuse, the labor movement, the treatment of the mentally ill, inter-racial relationships, immigration, and eugenics.  This is a great example of how fantasy fiction can be used as a vehicle to bring up social issues in an entertaining way.  This was a powerful, and scary, book.

What I Liked:

Audio Performance:
January LaVoy is an amazing performer.  Each character has a distinct voice, and cadence.  It is a virtuoso performance as Ms. LaVoy moves between being a twenty-year old flapper, to a little boy, to a streetwise Jewish hustler, and on and on.  On top of the many voices she portrays, the intensity of the frightening situations pulls the listener in.  If she told me a ghost story around a campfire, I would be too scared to sleep!

Setting:
The year is 1927, and the Roaring Twenties are in full swing in New York City.  Libba Bray colorful descriptions bring that era to life.  The slang of the characters, along with small historical details (such as Wall Street having been a auction site for slaves), put you in the heart of the times.  The book also brings to life some of the public's obsession with religion, the occult, and (unfortunately) eugenics. 

Story:
With a backdrop of the Twenties, the book's story encompasses many of the social issues of the time, including the struggle of labor movement, the terrible conditions in mental hospitals, inter-racial, gay, and ace relationships, racism, poverty.  This is powerful, and frightening, and I haven't even gotten to the Diviners part yet!

The story of The Diviners continues as the gifted friends learn more about their powers, and band together to face evil.  We learn much more about Project Buffalo, Jake Marlow, and the pasts of Theda, Sam, and Evie, and the King of Crows.  Together, the Diviners join forces to find answers, and see if they can stop the Man in the Stovepipe Hat from gaining any more power,

Gothic Elements:
This is a truly scary book!  The scenes in the mental hospital will keep you at the edge of your seat.  When the Diviners  go out into the fog, filled with ghosts, the tension is palatable.  And there are some truly gruesome descriptions of monsters and murders, enough to give you nightmares.

What I Was Mixed About: 
Romance:
Several couples finally get together in this book.  This puts the book firmly out of the YA category and should be meant for older teens and up, as there is sex on the page.  While it's certainly not as graphic as many steamy books, you may not like this if you want "clean" romance.

Tangents:
This is a whopper of a book, with a listening time of over twenty-one hours!  Part of the reason for this comes from several long passages about the terrible past of racism, the treatment of people in mental hospitals, and the annihilation of Native Americans.  These are beautifully written passages that add depth to the story.  But, my problem with these passages is that they bring the action to a screeching halt.  I suppose that there needed to be a breather in the action to even out the pace of the book.  But, as much as I appreciated the writing, and ideas presented, I wanted to get back to the present story.


                                                                

Rating: 





Release Date:  October 3rd, 2017

Trigger Warning:  Domestic Abuse

Genre:  Historical Science Fiction/Fantasy

Format:  Audio Book

Performed by :  January LaVoy

Publisher: Listening Library

Listening Length:  21 Hours, 26 Minutes

Page Length:  560 Pages

Recommendation:  A Gothic tale of the supernatural set in the Roaring Twenties.  With strong characters and situations, if the ghosts don't scare you, the social ills of the time should.

 


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