Title : The Devouring Gray
Author : Christine Lynn Herman
Publisher : Titan Books
Rating : 4/5
On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…
Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.
When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?
So, my apologies for not having a picture of this book that I took myself. I was so excited to get my library books back on time today that I forgot to take a photo first! Total fail, I’ll do better next time y’all. Anyhow, I wasn’t going to let that setback keep me from reviewing this beautiful book!
The Devouring Gray is a solid book that has all the things I am drawn to in YA Fantasy books. You’ve got this group of young characters with the weight of the world on their shoulders… all while still being in high school. They all have troubled pasts or troubled presents and have a connection to each other – they must work together to save their town from the monster in the Gray. Next, you’ve got a corrupt town and a group of adults who are frankly terrible and need to go somewhere quickly. Of COURSE the kids are the only sane one’s in the whole town of Four Paths. Lastly, it’s got a town with rich history, customs, and most importantly – MAGIC!
FOUR PATHS. Basically, a long while ago four people came across a town with a monster terrorizing it. They fought the monster and took some of it’s powers, banishing it to the “Gray”. The four youngsters are all descendants of the original four who saved the town – called “founders”. The town “worships” (doesn’t apply to everyone – in comes RISING ACTION!) them, as the descendants continue to patrol the town and fend off the Gray. The one catch is not every descendant gets powers. They just complete a ritual – each family has a different one. Those who fail – generally die. In the book, the Gray is becoming stronger and the founders are becoming weaker – the four main characters must work together to weaken it once and for all.
CHARACTERS. Justin, Harper, Isaac, and Violet. All founders, different families. Harper hates Justin for a past issue, Justin holds firmly onto the guilt of what he did to Harper. Both Justin & Harper failed their rituals*. Isaac has more power than he can control, and this gets him into trouble. Violet moved to Four Paths with her mother completely unaware of her heritage – but she quickly learns, and is less than impressed. They all have a good character arc, decent back stories, and will pull at the heartstrings.
THE ADULTS. OK. Look. I get it that we adults think we’re all that and a bag of chips, but honestly these kids are smarter than the adults. Justin’s mom Augusta is the Sheriff of Four Paths, but has a power that no one knows about because it would lead to SEVERE distrust if people knew. She would NOT have any power in the town if they had any clue what she’s been doing to them. She runs the place as if she is judge, jury, AND executioner and it is ANNOYING. She can seriously leave and wouldn’t be missed. Then Harper’s dad is part of a group that is trying to overthrow Augusta – but also has a much darker mission. Again, cue STUPIDITY. They almost got their damn selves killed. SMH. But I digress.
CRITIQUE. I generally LOVED this book. I was on the edge of my seat in the beginning because this type of book really is my YA bread and butter. BUT, there were parts that were hard to understand and weren’t explained super well – basically the whole climax scene. Also, the cliffhanger was good, but not GREAT. Give me a cliffhanger that makes me NEED the next book pronto mucho. The Devouring Gray leaves you with unanswered questions and a definite opening for the sequel, but I’m not feverishly refreshing the author’s Instagram page for release updates. For these reasons, I docked it one star – 4/5.