Author Libba Bray's Diviners series, a paranormal ghost story set in New York during the Roaring Twenties, started out with a bang. The first book grabbed me right away and I couldn't put it down for anything. It had suspense, mystery, well-developed characters, amazing world building, and even a bit of romance. It was everything a great book should be and more. Even the follow-up, The Lair of Dreams, was excellent...although not quite as much. But the first two books of the series were made of awesomeness. And maybe that is the problem.
The third book in the series, Before The Devil Breaks You, promised equally amazing things, but didn't deliver. From the synopsis, I thought the story would be a horrifying, action-packed trek into a haunted mental asylum. And although the characters did, indeed, visit the supposedly ghost-infested building, the thread felt more like an anecdote than a main plot point. Instead of being the scary thrill ride I was anticipating, the story was a very slow burn that mainly consisted of character development, setup for the final book, and the author's thinly-veiled anger toward the current political climate (This last bit I didn't appreciate at all! I read to escape, not to get an earfull of the same sort of drama I could get by glancing at headlines). The story didn't really get good until the last 100 pages or so. But the author had so many balls in the air by that point that the action that DID take place was more quick flashes than anything with any depth.
Bottom line: I struggled with this book. Unlike the previous two, I kept putting it down, kept skimming over the boring parts, kept wanting to give up on it and read something else (or do laundry or some other mundane task).
But all series have slow books. All series some parts that, when adapted into a movie, get greatly shortened or left out altogether. For example, the infamous Camping Saga in Harry Potter or the meeting with Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings ("Tom Who?" say those who only saw the movie. "Exactly," I reply). Even the most EPIC of epic series have books or parts readers just don't care for. And this is the first reason why I typically don't like series. The second is cliffhangers.
Because Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors, and because the first two books of this series were awesome, I'm going to overlook the faults in Book 3. Because I know it's only a setup for the Final Showdown that is sure to happen in the fourth and final book. All I know is Book 4 better be the bees knees!