I received a copy of The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman to promote on Instagram, but I’ve been trying to be better about reading books I received when I receive them.
I’m so glad I picked up this one because it was thrilling, mysterious, and a little scary. Reviews online have been calling this one a mix of The Raven Boys and Stranger Things. While I haven’t read The Raven Boys, I can most definitely get the Stranger Things vibes. Less Eleven and more a beast living in a parallel dimension called “The Gray.”
The story follows four teenagers, Violet Saunders, Harper Carlisle, Isaac Sullivan, and Justin Hawthorne. These four kids are descendants of the four founding members of their little town of Four Paths. Violet’s mother, Juniper, brings her to Four Paths after losing her husband and their second daughter.
Of course once Violet gets there, their world starts to unravel as a secret plan to free the beast comes into play.
Alright, this book definitely read like you’re watching a CW show. It felt like Riverdale as we’re all on the ride and learning about the four kids’ parents, their past, and the hardships they’ve endured so far. Once Violet arrives, the book takes off bringing not only the “who’s that girl?” vibes, but also
The magic in this book is definitely the first thing you see. Justin and his sister, May, are sitting around about to have their cards read. Magic is very much a part of the story, but it’s also not. Aside from a few shows Isaac puts on, you don’t really see anyone else use their magic or at least not with the intention of killing the beast.
It’s actually interesting because no one uses their magic to kill the beast. There’s a lot of using it against other people (humans), but I don’t see anyone standing up to that beast and being like “back up, or Imma punch a hole in your chest” vibe.
The good thing about this YA novel is that it doesn’t read as a YA novel. The teenagers in this group are extremely mature especially for their age. It’s because they’ve experienced horrors in their life that no teenager normally would. They’ve seen people die. They’ve gone through trials to gain their magical powers. They’ve seen some ish.
Also, don’t expect the relationship coupling you imagine. Actually, don’t expect a relationship storyline at all. There are some romantic feelings between a few of the characters, but nothing started…yet. I can imagine the other books in this series will go into depth with that.
But the characters are all good and have their own issues to deal with. I love that they’re all so complex. Even Justin, the main male character (that you expect to have everything be perfect), has his own demons to face coming from the family that runs the town and having no powers.
The only issues I had were the pacing and the beast’s motivation. There wasn’t any explanation on how it landed in that part of New York. There really wasn’t any background at all to this beast other than what supports the main story. I hope that the rest of the series will explain it, but I sorely missed that background info here. Also, the pacing was quite slow. While I’m a fan for a slow burn, this felt out of place especially when important pieces of the story are missing.
But aside from that, a great horror/fantasy novel from a debut author. I won’t be reading the rest of the series, but I hope the book gets you hooked.
I received a copy of this book from Disney/Hyperion for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.