The Devouring Gray
The Devouring Gray #1
Christine Lynn Herman
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?
Publication Date: April 2nd 2019
Graphic Depictions of the Dead, Murder, Grief, Violence, Assault, Torture, Mentions of Parental Abuse, Abandonment, Abduction, Gore
Disclaimer: despite the mini gripes I have which will be highlighted for the first half of this review, I’m a fan. Of this book. And I recommend.
For the first 70-ish%, I was a bit sad. I was expecting so much from this book— I won’t lie and say the hype didn’t cloud my judgement. And for that moment, I thought the hype was going to let me down.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t… at all.
But, it was way too easy to put this book down and not pick it back up. Especially during that 20% area of exposition and introductions.
And despite flying through this book, things felt sooooooooooooooo slooooooooooow. I mean, this book has everything I want in said book: Dark vibes/atmosphere, a friend group forged against the odds, magic, death, sacrifice, angst, EVERYTHING WAS THERE. And I cannot for the life of me figure out why I wasn’t feeling this from the darkest parts of my soul, even after finishing my read.
I’m not saying I didn’t like this— I 90% did. But there’s that visceral connection that I want with a story…
again, look at that four star rating; I was feeling something, just not enough.
Like I mentioned above, atmosphere was great. I can’t complain and say I wasn’t catching the dark, creepy, kind of witchy??? vibes??? The mystery aspect and the Gray itself was also interesting, yet… I do get this is a series, but I kind of wanted more information on how the Gray came to be. What created it, it’s origin story, that kind of thing.
I’m impatient like that.
We get a little bit of backstory on how the town and the rituals formed, but the Gray itself… There’s also a clear blurring of bad guys and I just wanted more.
And when I say a blurring of bad guys, I mean, the adults were terrible. There came a point in the story where I didn’t know who the main villain was anymore and I love that. Give me all of the bamboozle switharoonies.
Which segues into this: the characters made this book for me.With the POV switching between three characters, we have—
❥ Justin – Popular, part of the head founding family. Hiding a huge secret from everyone and is just trying to do what’s right for the town while being under his mother’s thumb. He kind of felt like a pushover at first, but of course, that character development kicked in and I like him.
❥ May – Justin’s sister who just wants to please their mom…. we don’t spend too much time with her, but her development was nice to see.
❥ Harper – Former friend of Justin’s since he abandoned her after she failed her ritual. Is missing her arm, yet that doesn’t stop her from being a badass with a blade. AND LET ANGRY GIRLS BE ANGRY 2KFOREVER.
❥ Violet – New girl in town and also a part of the four founders. Is dealing with a ton of grief from her sister’s death. Trying to navigate the town while finding out her bloodline. Totally irrelevant, but she plays the piano???
❥ Isaac – Justin’s best friend with really dangerous magic and a tragic past. Likes to read and is bisexual
10 points to Slytherin.
Just to clarify – Violet and Isaac were my favorite from their first introduction. Oops.
Oh, and one more thing: everyone and their mother
I’m not lying is bisexual. And of course I’m here for the #ownvoice rep.
I think what solidified my rating is the friendship these five created. This was a friendship forged from kids being left alone, bonded through grief, surrounded by terrible adults, trying to save their home and messing up horribly. And it makes sense that they’re messing up. They’re kids who are taking on a task bigger than them with the
town world against them.
I’m calling them kids like I’m not their age… Okay.
And the way grief was handled, the message of hey, your feelings? They are valid. There’s no time limit to healing. I loved seeing that throughout the story. Because these characters? Have been put through the ringer. And the way they handled it was something I loved being delved into.
I know this review is all over the place, the ending message is yes I’m here for the sequel. I’m invested, especially after that epilogue. Because WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT MA’AM???