There are no spoilers in this review.
The Devouring Gray, Christine Lynn Herman
After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.
Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.
Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.
The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.
The Devouring Gray was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, so obviously I went in with some expectations and I’m glad to say these were mostly met!
- The Devouring Gray managed, from the very first page, to captivate me. The way the author sets the book, in this small town, Four Paths, surrounded by forest, where everyone knows each other and everyone fears the Beast in the woods, killing mercilessly. The atmosphere of the story was one of the strongest suits of the book, for me.
- The world was also so well-constructed, even if confusing at first: the history of the town, the founding families and their powers, the rituals they go through and everything, I loved how it all came together.
- The second favorite thing about this book was, for me, the cast of characters which I absolutely adored. Told from multiple POV, I grew fond of each of these characters and was so happy to see each of them had their own motives and character arcs as they evolved through the story.
- VIOLET, our main character, is trying to deal with her grief and trying to figure out the truth about Four Paths and her family’s history. She was a great main character, also casual bisexual rep yay.
- HARPER. I loved Harper so, so very much: she’s dealing with some unresolved issues with Justin, her former best friend, she’s one badass warrior and fighter and I just loved her so much. She is missing one arm from the elbow from a ritual gone wrong.
- ISAAC. I have such a soft spot for Isaac, friends, because he’s this paperback-in-my-back-jeans-pocket-all-the-time person with these strongest powers ever, yet kind of a loner too and a fierce protector of Justin, too.
- JUSTIN. He’s the popular boy in the city, yet facing so many family issues with his mother and I appreciated his growth in the story so much.
- I loved these characters’ interactions so much, friendships for some, growing, changing, mending or breaking, growing feelings yet without an actual story there, because it was not the focus of the story overall.
- The mystery was thrilling to read, too and I loved to figure out, along with Violet, what’s happening in Four Paths, her own powers and her own family history.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- The only thing that made me drop a star here, is that I feel like the story got a little confusing at times and, despite the great world-building, I felt like I needed more explanation on some elements, especially on how the Gray “works”.
The Devouring Gray was a solid, thrilling debut that I had such a fantastic time reading. The atmosphere and the cast of characters quickly won my heart and that ending just had me gasping in shock. I can’t wait to read what happens next and, for fans of fantasy stories and atmospherical, small-towns reads, I’d definitely recommend this one.
Final rating: 4 drops!
The biggest thanks to Titan Books for sending me a free review copy of this book for review. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: drinking, blood, description of dead bodies, loss of a loved one, grief, violence, trama, talk about sacrifice and assault.
Diversity: Bisexual main characters (Violet, Isaac, Augusta – #ownvoices queer rep), side f/f relationships (hinted).
Did you read The Devouring Gray? Do you want to?
What was the latest book you’ve read that had a great, captivating atmosphere? Let me know in comments!