Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
The Diviners, book three
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017
Audio book owned in personal collection
Oh man, do I dig the Roaring Twenties! What a fabulous time to set a story. Not only does it have the glitz and glamour of the flappers, jazz culture, and the growing movie industry, but it is RIPE with controversial societal topics that can play into a storyline. Libba Bray is a master at weaving all of these elements together with a dash of the paranormal to create one heck of a brilliant series.
Starting with The Diviners, which I highly recommend you go back and start with if you haven't already read the earlier books in the series, we follow a group of people who come together because they all have special gifts and become a family facing down the world's evils. Bray's gang of intrepid Diviners come from all walks of life. We as readers get to glimpse theater life, flapper parties and nightclubs, as well as Chinatown and the streets of Harlem. Evie becomes a famous radio star, while Theta's a dancer in the Follies, and Ling's genius lets her meet the famous inventor, Marlowe. There's excitement and innovation...and murderous ghosts around every corner.
By the time this third book begins, the Diviners have already been tested twice. Now, they must use their various gifts to band together to fight the biggest threat yet. A paranormal entity that could threaten the existence of their entire world. It's hard to give any more plot than that without spoiling things for other readers, so I'm going to leave it there.
I will say that the stakes have most definitely gone up in this installment. I can feel the tension in the overall story arc rising to almost the crescendo, as we prepare for the final book in the series. As threats build all around the Diviners and they learn that they face very real threats from our world, not just the paranormal one, sadly it's becoming more and more clear that perhaps some may not see the end of this war. I am EAGERLY awaiting the ending of this series.
A final note - I have listened to this entire series as audio books from the beginning and it is a WONDERFUL experience. The books are fabulous in and of themselves, but narrator January LaVoy not only does amazing voices for all of the characters, but in parts she even sings... and they splice in some great '20s jazz music, too. I highly recommend the audio versions!