DNF Review: Divah

Susannah Appelbaum - Divah
Expected publication: March 15, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: A snazzy ol DNF

Eloise meets Rosemary's Baby in New York City’s very own Carlyle hotel.

Seventeen-year-old Itzy Nash is spending the summer at the exclusive Carlyle hotel in New York City. But the hotel harbors more than the rich and privileged; it is host to a gorgeous fallen angel, reclusive movie stars, and—Itzy soon learns—demons of the worst sort. When the Queen of the Damned checks in, all Hell breaks loose. Itzy is called upon to save herself—and all of humanity—from the ravages of the Underworld. There’s only one problem: Itzy’s possessed.

Part gothic thriller, part historical fiction, the novel straddles the Upper East Side and the lush trappings of the Carlyle hotel, and Paris during the Reign of Terror in 1789. Marie Antoinette is the Queen of the Damned. Marilyn Monroe is an expert demon hunter. To kill a demon, Hermès scarves, Evian water, and a guillotine are the weapons of choice.

For anyone who loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this has an epic battle between angels and demons with a doomed love story at its core. But it’s also darkly funny, for fans of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and more than anything it’s something original—dark, funny, clever, and glamorous.

Okay, this could've been fantastic.

Typically, not a horror gal. When I see horror movie trailers in theaters, I close my eyes and cover my ears. When I was previously asked on a date (ha) and he suggested horror, I practically screamed. Ironically, one of my guilty-pleasure TV shows is Scream Queens. Though I don't actually consider it horror, it's full of hilarious one-liners, fabulous fashion, and a sort-of tacky villain. Comedic horror, I guess. But I digress.

Aunt Maude has a dastardly hatred for children, so she just cannot wait to get rid of her niece, Itzy Nash. (I hate that name with a passion, BTW. It reminds me of “itchy rash.”) Luckily for Itzy, Aunt Maude decides to drop her off at the Carlyle Hotel.

Everything is peachy keen. Itzy decides to sneak out of her hotel room and soon finds herself in a luxury department store, where she's viciously attacked by an heiress's small dog (sort-of but not really) and kicks it up into the air to release its lock on her ankle, nearly killing it (again, sort-of not really).

After being bitten by the tiny dog, strange things start occurring. She starts seeing masses of flies around her room. Furniture appears to be moved and doors are conspicuously open. And when the doctor arrives to check on her, he examines the wrong ankle. Most of these occurrences had me going and I'd close my E-ARC whenever I got too freaked.

I became annoyed at the representation of New York. More-so of how Itzy barely left the hotel and when she did, she'd be strutting along Lexington Avenue and Madison Avenue, skipping merrily through Central Park, and name-dropping the “Upper East Side” so often, I felt like I was watching Gossip Girl. Like, can you get anymore cliché? New York is so vast and gorgeous and she's visiting tourist sights? Plus, if Itzy was only expected to window-shop in an expensive store, I would've hoped to see a little realism and watch an attendant give her side-eye.

Divahs are often mentioned, which are pretty much she-demons/devils, and can only be vanquished with Evian water and any other type of French water. Yeah, not kidding. The Carlyle Hotel is basically haunted. Itzy's instalove interest, Luc, shares irrelevant stories about the ghosts of Marie Antoinette and Marilyn Monroe. He even shows Itzy an underground tunnel Marilyn and John possibly used to meet during the JFK affair days. (?) They visit an aging movie-star, Ava, who is rumored to have her own demons and shares lame stories about Itzy's family.

That blurb is everything. I mean, Eloise meets Rosemary's Baby. Seriously, I'm done good. Considering the demons being taken out by water, I felt The Walking Dead and American Horror Story vibes in there, too.

My interest completely faded when POVs switched and Luc was allowed to speak more than two sentences. I completely lost track of where this story was going and not even the name-dropping could keep me. Sadly, not a win in my book.


  1. I saw this one on Netgalley but nothing really grabbed my attention.

    Instalove is always a major turn off for me. Sorry that Luc was the worst.

    1. Yeah, it's currently on EW. Shame, it was a bummer. I really hate to DNF. Thanks for stopping by, Amber! :)


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