Title: The Devil makes Three
Author: Tori Bovalino
Release Date: 14/9/2021
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 49
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Titan books ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
When Tess and Eliot stumble upon an ancient book hidden in a secret tunnel beneath their school library, they accidentally release a devil from his book-bound prison, and he’ll stop at nothing to stay free. He’ll manipulate all the ink in the library books to do his bidding, he’ll murder in the stacks, and he’ll bleed into every inch of Tess’s life until his freedom is permanent.
Forced to work together, Tess and Eliot have to find a way to re-trap the devil before he kills everyone they know and love, including, increasingly, each other. And compared to what the devil has in store for them, school stress suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all. This is a fast-paced YA crossover/gothic horror debut, with a strong romance
I really enjoyed this. It was fantastically well paced, dark and creepy with a genuinely sweet romance. I found myself drawn into the story from the very beginning. The library is dark and magical and it just captured my imagination. The writing brilliantly makes it feel like this wing filled with grimoires and spellbooks are just as mundane as the other tomes on the shelves and there is something so interesting about that. Yet there is also the perfect amount of darkness and creepiness in this microcosm of a school that just sets you on edge. The descriptions get a little darker and darker with each visit to the library and things get creepier and creepier in such a well paced manner. The descriptions of the ink, the gore and the maliciousness of the devil himself just kept me on the edge of my seat.
The characters are brilliant. I found myself enjoying both perspectives. I really ocnnected with Tess. Her role as the protective older sister and wanting to do what’s best, being forced to be the grown up when she really didn’t know how had a real nuance to it. Elliot is a cinnamon roll of a character in every way but he never got to sickeningly sweet. I loved that he was the witch, his connection with his mother and even the relationships with his father and father’s girlfriend were complex and just really gave him more than the pretty posh boy vibe. I really liked how they had individual stories that unfolded for us while also the journey they were taking together. I loved their awkwardness, their determination and how they played off each other too. There was just something endearing about their relationship even among all the strangeness of the plot.
The plot was just fantastic, so well written to keep the tension and suspense. It was just so well constructed to keep you reading, to keep you guessing and wondering. It was creepy and gore filled, with moments of terror and of sweet joyful romantic awkwardness to counterpoint it all. There were family love and struggles, grief and friendship all balanced perfectly to make you want to know more about these people. There really were moments in this book that got dark, where I gasped out loud at events. As it ramped up toward the ending I just couldn’t put it down.
Overall I just think this a fantastically well written, atmospheric YA thriller with great structure and pacing as well as engaging characters, beautiful worldbuilding and an intricate plot.