Review | Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Before the Devil Breaks You cover
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.

5 cupcakes

The only thing that has disappointed me so far with this series is the constant cover changes (seriously, please pick a scheme and stick with it, I need my series to match). After what seems like a 240284 year wait, I’m thrilled to say that Before the Devil Breaks You was wonderfully creepy and utterly perfect; if this series wasn’t already on my “all-time-favourites” list, it definitely would be after this book.

Before the Devil Breaks You is the highest-stakes Diviners book yet, and it’s also the creepiest. There are plenty of ghosts to go around, and further exploration of the 1920s political climate (racism, eugenics programs and the treatment of mentally ill individuals) adds extra weight to an already dark read.

Instead of focusing on any particular Diviner duo, Before the Devil Breaks You is group-oriented, letting all of the characters take their turn in the spotlight. While Evie and Theta will always hold special places in my heart, all of the characters have significant (and often unexpected) character arcs, some of which made me gasp out loud. I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Waiting On Wednesday (June 17)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics, which has an expected publication date of September 29, 2015.

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

This sounds so creepy, but so good! Even if I’ll only be able to read it during the day…

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.

3

Waiting on Wednesday (June 11)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on The Merciless by Danielle Vega, which is finally going to be published tomorrow! (:

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned.

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

This book sounds so creepy/twisted but so good. Like a demonic Pretty Little Liars. After all the horror movies I was forced to watch during first year university, I should be able to handle this… I’ll just make sure to only read it during the daytime.

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below. 3

Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

My Rating: 2 cupcakes

The synopsis for Asylum promised me a creepy, thrilling novel that is similar to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I adored. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver on all fronts.

Asylum‘s biggest downfall was the inclusion of black and white photographs. This worked exceptionally well for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children since Ransom Riggs found the pictures and built the story around them, allowing him to expertly weave the images and the plot together. In Asylum, the opposite is true; the images were clearly staged to complement the story, and felt neither creepy or authentic. My imagination came up with much creepier images based on the text alone, which either tells you that I’ve been watching way too many horror movies or that the photographs were pretty unnecessary.

The characters in this book were unlikeable and inconsistent. Despite being uncomfortable in social situations, Dan quickly befriends Abby and Jordan. They become inseparable, and all share constant mood swings throughout the book. Within the group, Dan and Abby have an awkward relationship, complete with Dan being incredibly jealous of anyone talking to her — and that’s after only knowing her for a few days. All of this, combined with the fact that Jordan’s character seemed pretty irrelevant and unnecessary, made Asylum a rather tedious read.

The mystery of the abandoned asylum itself wasn’t that bad. The creepy asylum, unexplained notes, and hallucinations made me curious enough to finish the book, though I was disappointed to see that I had correctly guessed how it was going to end. At the end there were so many unresolved plot threads and so many unanswered questions, making room for an unnecessary sequel that I likely won’t be reading.

Overall, I expected a lot more from Asylum. If you’re looking for a creepy, spine-tingling read, this is not it.

Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

My Rating: 3.5 cupcakes

In a small town where everyone knows everyone lies an old, secluded mansion by the sea named Citizen Kane. This crumbling house contains many secrets and is the perfect setting for the strange and downright creepy events that are to come.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is not exactly what I expected it to be, but it was every bit the Gothic horror story that hoped it would be. Between violent murders, witch burnings, disappearing children, and strange fires, there was no lack of mystery or creepy occurrences. Just when I thought the plot was heading in one direction, new revelations would make me question everything I thought I knew about the characters.

As far as characters go, only a few stood out. Violet was not my favourite protagonist, and I found myself continually growing annoyed by her passivity and naivete. While many of her actions were excusable given the fact that she has lived a relatively sheltered life in a town where strangers were not commonplace, I couldn’t help but wonder how she could be quite as trusting as she was.

I love morally ambiguous characters, and River more than fits the bill. From his first appearance, it’s clear that there is much more to River than meets the eye, making him a character that I definitely wanted to learn more about. Of course, his first appearance also brought along an unhealthy dose of instalove which thankfully was explained in a way that was satisfying enough to keep me from frowning too much every time his crooked smile was mentioned. While I never quite trusted River, I found myself hopelessly intrigued by his personality and his background, and I cannot wait to see what revelations the next book brings.

Of the secondary characters, I found Luke to be insufferable and didn’t learn much about Sunshine aside from the fact that she was labelled as a slut. I really wish that more time had been spent establishing them as developed, complex characters, as opposed to characters who just seemed to be there to help further the plot.

Overall, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was an ominous, intriguing read. The many unexpected twists in the plot more than made up for any issues I had with characterization, making it a thrilling, unputdownable read. I can’t wait to see us how the sequel plays out!