Sweetheart Seer Books


“The King of Crows” by: Libba Bray

It is finally here! As of February 4th, this beauty was released officially into the world.

This is probably the most difficult to rate book I have EVER come across. Man oh man is it difficult to do this without spoilers, but I am a professional so I will do my absolute best to reign it all in.

The Diviners series has been THE most influential book series for me I have ever read. My channel, blog, twitter, goodreads, gamertag, etc. namesake is taken from The Lair of Dreams nickname for Evie O’Neil of SweetheartSeer.

This is a series that I stumbled across at the library MANY moons ago one day pursuing the audiobook section. I fell in LOVE with the characters, the story, the setting, and the narration of January LaVoy.

The audiobooks have ALL been narrated by January LaVoy whom I have raved about previously, but again she knocks it out of the park with this one! The voices and sing-song narrations she does are unlike any I have heard from any previous narrator and I just cannot emphasize enough that if you want to consume The Diviners series you HAVE TO listen to the audio version first. (Then you can go back and read your physical copy or eBook, but I am telling you January LaVoy makes this series COME ALIVE). Her narration? A five star forever and always.

As each book was released, I would always go back time and time again to reread or relisten and fall in love all over again then take in the newest edition to the story. Theta was ALWAYS the character that I related to the most. I rooted for Sam and Evie. I adored the 1920s glam and lingo.

When we left our heroes, er friends, er characters cause this is fiction Ashley FOCUS….okay. When we left The Diviners we had some on the run, some that were out of work, and some that were just flat out taken against their will. We had a devastating loss, we had betrayals and we had tests of friendships based on actual assault. We had the best pairing of all time of Sam and Evie and while I am BIG TIME ROOTING FOR THEM, my all-time favorite Thetta is the gal I was most interested in.

Libba did a wonderful job of reintroducing right away the crisis of The King of Crows and the evil lurking vibe was present again nearly right away. We had a lot of build up, but then we rejoined in with Memphis and Isaiah and those ominous Shadowmen. Isaiah gets a vision of the girl, Sarah Beth Olson, who was just introduced at the tail end of book 3 and holy smokes if I was not INVESTED and wanting to know more!

It actually hurts me however that the story as a whole? I had to rate this at a three star. I had to give this a few days to marinate in my mind after the story was finished. I spent a week listening in slow increments because I wanted to really savor the last work. BUT? Well, this was the weakest of the entire series and a huge let down for me. Was it because I hyped it so much in my own mind? Waited so long for it? Put so much of my own thought into how I thought things would play out and was disappointed? Admittedly, these things may have played a factor.

However, now that we have gotten into the history for me as to why this was so difficult for me to review? Let’s dive into the meat and potatoes of THIS story and see why from a logical standpoint it wasn’t the best overall.

The story picks up with some new elements and tie ups of events from book 3 (Before the Devil Breaks You) and I noticed that while I fell back into the story easily enough from so much familiarity, I didn’t really get invested again for most of the book beyond the beginning part.

We see The Diviners get turned on by a mob which leads to a fleeing from New York City to be spread out in different combinations of characters all over the US with the idea of making their way to Sarah Beth in Bountiful, Nebraska based on a vision from my favorite little man, Isaiah.

So. I wasn’t a fan of this split. Some of it, and I cringe even typing this, felt like fan fiction. I am sorry, don’t come at me!

It did though because it was like Oh what if Evie and Sam and Theta joined the CIRCUS? What if Jericho and Ling were part of a GIRL BAND TOURBUS? What if Henry and Memphis and Bill all get thrown together to illustrate the black and white privilege differences? It was an interesting choice for Bray to separate them into the groupings she did…but I personally didn’t care for it as this was the LAST book in the series and I wanted them together more.

I understand what Bray was trying to do here. A lot of The Diviners series as a whole hinges on a sort of government learn from History element that uses fiction to try to show us what we should have learned…but it seemed more heavy handed in this last installment.

A certain character (I won’t say who cause spoiler free) should have stayed dead. I don’t see the point in having brought the character back from the dead. Speaking of the dead? I did like the way Mabel was portrayed and how Evie learned more about her friend after death than she knew in life because when you have a power like Evie has yeah sometimes you would probably want to turn a blind eye and not know everything about a person. It was VERY well handled.

Evie as a character fell a bit flat overall for me in this one. Henry I think got to shine more, but was still sort of stuck in a comic relief spot until a critical moment involving James(!) which was also done well.

The part with Woody happened so fast that it was almost a blink you miss it. Bill should have just killed off a certain character, cause why let that character live? It didn’t make sense to me.

The King of Crows himself almost felt like a parody at this point.

I don’t want to break down every story line, though I could cause I am *that* into this series…but I will say that I feel that this book could have been edited down more. Much of it felt like padding to get us to the last 20% or so of the book and it suffered for it.

For a HUGE part of the book I was actually thinking of rating it two stars and my attention was starting to wander. Thankfully the last part picked up and I got reconnected again to the story. At that point though? It was so late into the book. I liked the first maybe 10% of it and the last 20% so only 30% really being enjoyed? That isn’t great.

Everyone came together and it started to feel like The Diviners series again toward the end, but this was hands down the weakest of the four book series by a long shot.

A few questions which I hope aren’t spoilers: What was happening with Theta and Memphis in this one anyways? Why was the storyline with Roy so open ended? Why does Evie care so much still about Jericho? Was it an attention thing? The Eye and the machine of Marlow…how did they even work? Not explained enough. Why was Sarah Beth so trusted by everyone at first? I have SO many more questions…more than I have answers and I am just tired.

This is also the most in depth three star review I have ever written and it was emotionally difficult for me too because I LOVE these characters SO much.

Maybe part of this is my own fault. This was my most hyped and anticipated book of 2020 and I had a lot of unrealized expectations going into it. I may have expected more than it could deliver. It felt so sloggy and it shouldn’t have.

Regardless, I am happy that the series is over and will probably do another in depth reread of the entire series as a whole at some point in the future and see if my thoughts change, but for now? All I can say is, while the ending wasn’t the berries for me, I’m Jake.

Goodreads Synopsis:

After the horrifying explosion that claimed one of their own, the Diviners find themselves wanted by the US government, and on the brink of war with the King of Crows.

While Memphis and Isaiah run for their lives from the mysterious Shadow Men, Isaiah receives a startling vision of a girl, Sarah Beth Olson, who could shift the balance in their struggle for peace. Sarah Beth says she knows how to stop the King of Crows-but, she will need the Diviners’ help to do it.

Elsewhere, Jericho has returned after his escape from Jake Marlowe’s estate, where he has learned the shocking truth behind the King of Crow’s plans. Now, the Diviners must travel to Bountiful, Nebraska, in hopes of joining forces with Sarah Beth and to stop the King of Crows and his army of the dead forever.

But as rumors of towns becoming ghost towns and the dead developing unprecedented powers begin to surface, all hope seems to be lost.

In this sweeping finale, The Diviners will be forced to confront their greatest fears and learn to rely on one another if they hope to save the nation, and world from catastrophe…

Categories: Published, Reviews