“The people are afraid now. Too much history rises from the graves. Ghosts take shape in the cornfields. Behind the factories. Along the rivers. At the creeping edges of the cities and towns. They burn brightly like a secret revealed. The night is illuminated by truth so sharp it scrapes breath from the lungs of those who finally see. The people are anxious for vague reassurances.
But this is the history: blood.”
(Before the Devil Breaks You 314-315)
1920’s New York City has a new major problem that only Evie and the Diviners can solve: an infestation of ghosts. Evie and company essentially become Ghostbusters while trying to solve the mystery of her brother’s death and Project Buffalo.
The stories of our protagonists continue—Evie, Theta, Mabel, Ling, Jericho, Sam, and Memphis all undergo major changes in the latest Diviners installment.
I have to say that while I immensely loved this book, I was a little disappointed in yet another cliffhanger ending. I suppose this means the series will continue, which is good, but some parts seem to drag on. I thought the pacing of this particular installment was a bit off—I felt the same way about the third book in Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series (The Sweet Far Thing). However, that being said, Bray’s writing continues to be hauntingly beautiful, laugh-out-loud funny, and downright terrifying by turns and I will pretty much read anything this lady publishes (grocery lists included).
I recommend every novel she has published, but if you haven’t yet read Beauty Queens, I suggest you hie thee to a library and check it out. Just don’t read it in public unless you want people staring at you while you break down into fits of hyena-worthy laughter.
“They can’t change,” Gabriel said, abandoning her lips in favor of her eyes. “But I do believe they have a beast within. In some it’s buried so deep they’ll never feel it; in others it stirs, and if a person can’t give it a safe voice it warps and rots and breaks out in evil ways. They may not be able to change, but they still can be the beast of their own nightmares. It’s our blessing that we can exorcise those demons. Sometimes it’s our curse.”
This was a re-read for me. I knew the first time I read this book that I would need to return to it. Annette Curtis Klause does something rather underrated and rare when it comes to crafting her YA novels–she creates a vivid world, but does not need a multiple book series to tell the story. (I’m not trying to hate on series books, by the way. I enjoy book series very much, but sometimes I feel as though single-book stories don’t get enough love or attention in the YA fantasy world–perhaps that is changing, however, with the amount of “duologies” I see coming out now–perhaps the next phase will be back to singles). Even though Blood and Chocolate is not very long, I feel like Klause packed it full–and perhaps it will take another re-reading in the future to unravel Vivian’s story further.
What stood out to me with this re-reading was actually Vivian as a heroine. When I first read this, I remember thinking Vivian was a bit vain. But now, years later, I see Vivian less as vain and completely self-centered and more as just a teenage girl who doesn’t hate herself. Though occasionally she is self-centered, or rather, has tunnel vision, believing that Aiden will accept her in her werewolf form.
If you haven’t read Blood and Chocolate, and are a fan of YA paranormal/fantasy, I fully recommend it. I also recommend her novel about vampires, The Silver Kiss. You won’t regret picking up either, as they are both fast reads, very fun, but also complex in their exploration of what a teenager’s life is like in the world of werewolves or vampires. Also, Annette Curtis Klause was also a librarian while she wrote these–which makes her even more awesome automatically.
Afterworlds contains both a novel about Darcy Patel, a debutante writer just out of high school who has moved to New York and the novel that she wrote, about a girl named Lizzie who can will herself into the afterlife.
**warning: spoilers ahead**
The thing about having two brilliant novels combined into one is that sometimes it can be a sensory overload. However, I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading. I loved living in both Darcy and Lizzie’s world. Darcy’s story especially stood out to me. Her interactions with the other YA writers and the lessons that she has to learn the hard way (about budgeting, falling in love, being an author versus being a writer) make for the kind of story about a writer that I’ve always wanted to read: a YA writer. The only thing about Darcy’s story that didn’t ring true for me was the romance. While I can totally believe that Darcy would be a little bit obsessive about her first love, I find it hard to believe that she and Imogen would have settled down and moved in together so fast and that they would have repaired their relationship at the end of the novel. It read as a bit unrealistic to me, given that Darcy would have to move and finally become a college student. I can see them more as being exes on friendly terms rather than trying for a relationship again. Also, this is just a side note, but I loved the little sister/accountant Nisha! I loved the dialogue between her and Darcy. Another favorite side character of mine: “Standerson,” who is so obviously based on John Green.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was an amazing, unique concept that Westerfeld was (of course) able to pull off with fabulous writing.