I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Series: The Devouring Gray #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 2nd, 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, YA
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Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.
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 is a book that requires patience. There is no getting around it. It’s slow, and for the first quarter of the book I could not tell you what the fuck was going on except that the kids were sad, felt betrayed, maybe were trying to take each other down, it was a mess. I stuck with it though because my friends loved it and it turned out to be absolutely worth it.
Violet is new in town, Justin and Harper used to be bffs but Justin betrayed Harper, Issac is a soft boy with a world of hurt inside him. Together, the four of them make up the new generation of the founding families of the Four Paths and are sworn to protect the town from the beast that lives in the gray. As with any stories involving creepy towns, there are secrets to be uncovered and hidden truths to be revealed.
I love how atmospheric this book is. Its gothic-y, creepy, horror-y with a shade of paranormal thrown in for good measure. It’s bizarre and terrifying at times but also WEIRD. But, while the atmosphere is great, the world building is a bit lacking and if you aren’t able to easily suspend your disbelief, the book unravels very quickly.
Like.. if there is a beast that’s been terrorizing the town for over a century, why don’t people leave? What about the town makes them choose to stay? What makes it so that some people ‘fail’ their tests and don’t get powers? Especially if powers are inherited?
We are offered some history about the town and its founders but again, not a whole lot. To really get invested in the book, I think you just need to let go for a bit and enjoy the plot and the atmosphere and the weird people in town whose motives you don’t truly know.
The biggest selling point of this book are the characters. They are SO PRECIOUS and so complicated and I just love them all. I love that Issac is not necessarily a happy kid but he isn’t ever mean (unless someone is goads him.) I love that while Justin is super friendly and loveable, his social position definitely goes to his head and he is capable of hurting people he also cares about deeply. I love that Harper, even though she wants revenge and needs to use Violet to get it, she also becomes Violet’s friend because she cares about Violet. AND I LOVE VIOLET. Who is angry and sad and confused but still finds ways to be a person.
They are all just well-written, well-rounded characters. I love the relationships that already exist (Issac and Justin BEST FRIENDS FOREVER AND EVER) but I also loved watching new friendships form and blossom. The interaction between the adults and the children was not really one-dimensional either which was great.
I am just upset that I have to wait a whole goddamn year for the sequel especially because there is still SO MUCH my children need to work through. If anyone wants to plan a heist and steal the manuscript for the sequel from Disney Headquarters HMU. In the meantime, I will wait to be reunited with my children. If you love atmospheric books with well rounded characters, The Devouring Gray is for you.
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