The Devil Makes Three / Tori Bovalino / Book Review

The Devil Makes Three


When Falk Prep School students Tess and Eliot find a secret crypt below their school's library, they have to investigate. And when they find a creepy book in the crypt, of course they have to read the Latin inscription in it. And when they accidentally release a demon from his book prison, they know they've made a mistake. The demon starts killing, and the blood won't stop flowing until he gets a new servant out of the deal. But Tess and Eliot are stronger than they look, even if they don't quite like working together. As their family, friends, and very lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find a way to imprison the demon once again. Homework and music practice isn't so bad anymore.


There isn't a lot of actual horror writing in YA, so it is always exciting to find a book that truly fits the genre. That being said, though this book performs on the horror front, it fails to create compelling characters or an otherwise interesting plot. YES to the horror; NO to everything else. 


  • Creepy Library: This story is full of dusty stacks and dustier books. The library is teeming with ancient grimoires kept under lock and key. Tess herself works at the library, and a library (or a bookstore) after the lights go out is certainly creepy. Any bookseller can tell you bookstores are definitely haunted, and I've no doubt the same goes for libraries. When the curtains are closed and the lights are down, when you venture into the hallowed stacks and the cages of precious books, only bad things can happen. 
  • Grotesque Horror: I said this book is horror, and it really is. It embraces the grotesque, the macabre. Rotting corpses come knocking. Dripping ink--or blood or ink or blood--splashes down. Suddenly spongey books shiver like human flesh. Dark creatures must be beheaded. Acidic red ink sticks to the soles. Death and decay seep through the pages. Horror images galore splash across this book. 
  • Devilish Persuasion: The devil needs you, and you need him. This book is full of devilish persuasion as the demon released attempts to call servants to him. He invades dreams and reality, wanting--no needing--you to ask him in. It's creepy and unsettling and very, very Faustian in nature. Just as the devil should be. 


  • Childish Adults: There are only two types of adult present in this book: 1) those who are utterly incompetent and 2) those who are rendered utterly incompetent or taken completely out of the picture by illness or demon possession. I know that's a contemporary YA thing, right? Adults get in the way of the teenage protagonists doing what they need to, and so the adults are often incompetent to give the protagonists space to work. But boy if the incompetence didn't feel extreme here. 
  • No Chemistry: This isn't a usual complaint from me. YA is full of cringey romance, after all, and I don't often complain. Romance is basically a prerequisite for YA publishing, and so there's often little preamble before jumping right into that particular subplot. Even so, I don't think I have ever read a story with love interests with so little chemistry. It was, in fact, almost physically painful for me to read, especially as the romance completely took over the later part of the book, actual plot left behind. And that's very, very unfortunate. 
  • Typos: This is also a very unusual (and very unfortunate) complaint from me. Typographical errors happen. I know that, and they're especially common in first editions. It's hard to catch everything before a manuscript makes it to print, even with an entire team looking over it. One or two typos is unfortunate, but it's just an unfortunate fact. This book, however, was absolutely littered with typos, and these typos in fact made some passages difficult to parse. And that's the real misfortune. 



Those who loved the dark bent of Victoria Lee's A Lesson in Vengeance will dive right into this new dark academia. Those who appreciate a supernatural twist to campus life like that found Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige's The Ravens will love the dripping-ink demon in this library. 


Publisher: Page Street Kids
Date: August 10, 2021
Series: N/A


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