Book Review

REVIEW: The Diviners, Lair of Dreams, and Before The Devil Breaks You.

December 16, 2019

I thought I would do something slightly different this time around and write up a review of the first three books in this series as they are all backlist. I am doing it this way for a few reasons; one they only take up one post leaving more review spaces for newer titles, two they are all in one place for the upcoming King of Crows release, and three I just want to do it this way!

The Diviners
The Diviners (#1)
Libba Bray
Young Adult Fantasy
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
18th September 2015
578 pages
Goodreads Page

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

My Thoughts:

I wasn’t really overly sold on the series with this first book, while it was engaging and unique enough for me to keep reading I found Evie to be so very deeply irritating, and not really engaging enough for me as the main character. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I was assured that Evie takes more of a side role in the future books or at least is joined with a bigger ensemble cast I might not have continued on.

Overall the premise was interesting and unique and I deeply enjoyed that aspect of it. I loved the glimpses we had of Memphis and Isiah and wish they had a more prominent role. I liked it enough to continue on to book two.

Lair of Dreams
The Diviners (#2)
Libba Bray
Young Adult Fantasy
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
5th August 2017
561 pages
Goodreads Page

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

My Thoughts:

This was such a vast improvement on the previous book I cannot even tell you! I loved all the dream walking and the relationship between constantly chipper Henry and the pragmatic Ling was one of the most blessed things I have ever seen.

I loved the disability rep in this one and just, in general, the moving of marginalised voices to the forefront was a great move. Also more Theta YUS!

Before The Devil Breaks You
The Diviners (#3)
Libba Bray
Young Adult Fantasy
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
3rd October 2017
560 pages
Goodreads Page

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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.

My Thoughts:

Oh, this was definitely an amazing follow up to Lair of Dreams and the character development was A+. How does Ling continue to be such a spectacular badass? Finally, we get to see Mabel as something more than Evie’s long-suffering friend.

I could have almost given this 5 stars even, so why the 3 stars? One specific scene was so creepy I almost stopped reading. It’s the scene where sam masturbates while thinking of Evie, who at the time was still with Jericho. I just found it all so very disturbing and off. So much so I knocked 2 whole stars off my review.

So that is my overall review of The Diviners Series so far, will I continue with the series? Definitely, I’m hoping King of Crows takes this diverse group of friends to great places. Hopefully while leaving the more problematic issues in the series behind.

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  • Reply littlemissstar55 December 16, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    It’s not often that the second book is better than the first, and even though I haven’t read these books, I 100% agree with your thoughts.
    Yeah, that masturbation scene is still giving me the creeps, too.
    This was a fantastic way to review all three books, Brooklynne!
    I hope that King of Crows is a great book! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

    • Reply Brooklynne Michelle December 24, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Me too I really hope that King of Crows salvages this whole series!

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