Book Review #75 – The Devouring Gray

Broken things called to broken things – Christine Lynn Herman.

This book was sent to me by Titan Books so I could take part in a Bookstagram Tour. I did not have to review for the blog but wanted to anyway because there was so much to say about this story.

Something dark and sinister lurks in the woods, threatening to take what is not theirs to take, threatening to kill, to feed. It has no physical form, just a shadow and grey. It is trapped there, this monster, but it is dangerous and powerful. It can seep into people’s minds, lure them away from their homes, kill them in a split second. This monster has a home. The Gray. It devours everything in sight. It is an extension of Four Paths, something that doesn’t quite live on this plane. Something other. But, tendrils are always there. Waiting for someone to open the door.

Violet Saunders has never stepped foot in the place that her family have called home for nearly two centuries, since being a founding member. She has always been a city girl, up until the moment her mother, Juniper Saunders, makes the hasty decision to return to Four Paths in order to care for her sister. The moment their Porsche crosses into town territory is the moment everything changes. Violet meets the descendants of the other founding members: Justin and May Hawthorne, Isaac Sullivan and Harper Carlisle. Each family has their powers. And each of them has their secrets, about their own families and the others. Every family has run the town, and each are stubborn in what is best for Four Paths. The stubbornness takes over, just like the threat of the monster every equinox.

There is so much pain behind the eyes of these five seventeen year olds. Violet is the one person who is pretty good at reading them all, despite knowing them the least. Perhaps it is an outsiders perspective, but she is no outsider. In fact, she is the crux of the novel. It is she who pulls the founding children together, despite their quarrels and their stubborn ways. It is she who is brutally honest with every one of them, who doesn’t care what her brash tone sounds like to their ears, who would rather stay true to herself than cower under the protection of a powerful name. She is an incredible character. She is who she is. Headstrong, bisexual, slight, a pianist, a girl who has lost her father and her sister, who has a mother who is a virtual stranger. She never apologises for herself, and she has no patience to tip-toe around the others and whatever strange ties they have with each other.

The Hawthornes are the leaders of the town. The popular ones. The heroes. The ones with the most to lose. Justin is a people-pleaser; he wants to save the world and everyone in it. He wants his peers to love him and respect him, until the moment he doesn’t anymore. May has her own worries. She is a perfectionist, always following orders, but she isn’t as straight as you might think. There is a wisp of rebellion in her, brewing. I cannot wait to see more of May in the next one. I won’t lie: at first, I really disliked her, but I grew to love her as much as the rest of the protagonists.

Isaac reminds me of a strong, sturdy Viking. He has a presence that fills the room, even when he does not want any attention. He protects his friends with such fierceness that anyone would be wrong to cross any of them. He has secrets of his own, a pain that he does not share – a part of him who is frightened, full of confusion and hurt. He is a crucial part of this story, but somehow he lingers in the background. He is unpredictable, but isn’t there always a dark, brooding unpredictable boy who we readers just love?

As for Harper. She is a force to be reckoned with. Fuelled with fury, hatred and pain, she is the girl that nobody should mess with. She is also the girl that everybody ignores. She is a failure, a joke to the legacies that preceded her in the Carlisle name. She grasps that failure and turns it into something else. Determination. She fights with a vengeance and a willpower that the other founding heirs do not understand. The pinnacle of it all is that everybody thinks she is the weakest, and yet she is the strongest. In more ways than one.

Full of deceit and questioning who to trust at every turn, The Devouring Gray will devour you whole. You won’t want to stop reading it. Cannot, in fact. The mystery of what the grey is and what the founding members really did, where that monster truly came from, will keep you turning the pages until there are more questions than answers. Keep going, and you will find an ending that comes too soon, and an itch for the story to continue. It is a book that has everything in it: romance, family, a gruesome monster that lurks in the woods, town politics, murder, magic and a darkness that nobody can ever run from. Pain. This might be a book about monsters in the night, but it is a book that you will relate to whatever you have been through in life. There is something gruesome and terrible about this book – that quickened the pulse, horrified my eyes – and something so pure that it made me come close to tears. It is a darkness that twists around you, sucking you in just like The Gray.

It has been compared to Stranger Things so if you are a fan of that, you will love this book. Maybe even a little bit more.

Love, Faye xo

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