Recently in Audio Books
I’ve been on a bit of an audio book kick lately. My commute is about 25 minutes each way, which gives me a good period of time to listen to audio in the car. First up is the latest installment of Libba Bray’s Diviners series – Before the Devil Breaks You.
Like the two that come before it, Before the Devil Breaks You is a tour de force. You can see our reviews of the two previous novels in the series here and here. Each book is so vast and detailed that it takes a number of years between each for them to be published; enough time, in fact, that each new novel has seen a revamp of the cover illustrations. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the excellent audio narration done by January LaVoy. The novels are peopled by a diverse ensemble cast of characters, and the narration does justice to each and every voice. If you’ve been following the series, this episode ramps up the stakes considerably and sets the stage for the final showdown I am assuming will come in book 4.
From the publisher:
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.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
This is an excellent mystery that will leave you waiting for the next installment. Johnson moves back and forth between the time periods seamlessly and we really get inside of the head of the protagonist, Stevie Bell. The audio narration is performed by Kate Rudd, who managed to remind me quite a bit of Maureen Johnson herself. If you haven’t checked out Maureen’s podcast, Says Who, you should give it a try.
Next up was an aborted attempt at John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, oddly enough also narrated by Kate Rudd. Unfortunately for me, the excellent quality of the narration combined with the insightful writing caused me a great deal of distress every time the main character describes one of her obsessive compulsive coping mechanisms that was just a little to real and graphic for me. I’ve decided to continue on with the book in print format so I can skim the parts that get under my skin (so to speak.)
From the publisher:
It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
So what’s up next? I’m currently a few chapters in to Kate Milford’s Ghosts of Greenglass House and am enjoying it immensely.
Filed under: Audio Books
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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