The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Publication Date: April 2nd 2019
Personal Rating: 4.5/5
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?
This novel was pitched as Raven Cycles and Stranger Things mash up. But The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman is so much than that. While it can be argued that it has similarities to those things, TDG is its own thing.
This is a debut novel you will want to add to your TBR.
We follow the story of a group of teens who live in a small town in upstate New York. This town, Four Path, is unlike any other town, it holds dark supernatural secrets that its citizens know about but keep to themselves. Violet Saunders finds herself in this town for the first time and learns about her mother’s past (and her family) as she discoveries something lurking in the dark.
The group of teens, Violet, Justin, May, Harper, and Issac are actually descendants of the original founding members of Four Paths. Small town, secrets and power struggles, what can possibly go wrong? Well, everything.
The monster that their ancestors locked away is lurking in the shadows, becoming more powerful, and leaving death in its wake. The kids must expose the secrets their families have kept and try to keep the monster at bay.
Ms. Herman’s books the perfect creepy gothic book that will keep you awake at night with a flashlight by your side. She builds a suspenseful atmosphere where you do not know where the shadows will crawl. This spine-chilling story will keep you on your toes while you hand trembles on every page turn.
The Devouring Gray was a character-driven story, where you will immediately become smitten and protective of the unforgettable cast of characters. The founding kids each have special powers, much like the x-men, that differentiates them from the other family and the rest of the town. And with these power comes responsibility, power, and competition. Each character is so fleshed out and likable that it becomes very difficult to pick a “favorite.” They are all my favorite, each one has their own unique quirks, personality, history and flaw that you can easily recognize who is who in seconds.
Ms. Herman’s lush and detailed writing is a mix of V.E Schwab’s descriptions and Maggie Stiefvater beautiful way with dialogue with a smidge of Anne Rice’s gothic horror atmosphere and Tolkien’s use of song to foreshadow.
If you have been waiting to get into the horror-fantasy genre, The Devouring Gray is a great stepping into that world.
Monsters, magic, mysteries, friendships and queer characters? What else could you possibly wish for?