The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
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?
I’m so blown away that this is a debut because I can find no flaw in it. The first page grabbed me and I didn’t want to stop reading.
The atmosphere for this book is perfect. The way the trees and the gray is described really made me picture it. I felt so immersed in this book. I didn’t need to know what the monster looked like to know it was terrifying. I liked that it was an old small town with no one new moving there. It had a feel of something like Salem. A place where the history is so important. Christine described everything so well early on.
There were four founding families in Four Paths. Each family has a power and they protect the town from the Gray. The Gray is another place that doesn’t exist on earth the way we know. It’s another dimension that people are pulled into and hardly anyone ever makes it out alive. Things are going bad now and more people than normal are dying. Some of the magic in the families isn’t as strong. And now it’s the teens turn to try their rituals and see if they possess the powers.
Violet lost her sister to a car accident. Her mother, Juniper, decided that they needed to move back to Four Paths to take care of her sister, Daria. Daria has early onset dementia and they will be taking care of her. Violet knows very little about her mom’s home town or about her family. She can tell right away that things are different there.
Justin and May are siblings from the strongest family. Their mother is the sheriff and keeps an eye on everything in town. May can read the Deck of Omens to find answers. She sees things that don’t totally make sense and that it’s not good. Isaac is from another family and the only one left in town. Things didn’t go well during his ritual and some of his brothers died. Isaac will do anything to protect Justin and May. They’re all very close. Harper used to be best friends with Justin. Things went wrong during her ritual, too. She was pulled into the Gray for days and came out missing her hand and lower arm. She had no powers and didn’t remember much of what happened.
All these kids need to find a way to work together to figure out what is going on in the town. There are people that seem to be pulling away. Violet has no idea what her ritual is, but she does bring a cat back from the dead. Everyone starts helping her research her past. But she ends up with more questions than answers. Her mom doesn’t remember anything and Aunt Daria isn’t always making sense. Violet starts having blackouts and sees her dead sister, Rosie.
There were definitely some interesting twists that I didn’t see coming in this book. It was hard to put down and I just kept wanting more. I can’t really talk about more without giving anything away. I loved most of the teens, but not really any of the parents. But I was glad that there were adults present and part of the story. It made it even more interesting.
I gave this book 5 stars. I won a copy from an auction (as a replacement for another book) and was so thrilled. The arc is beautiful and I cannot wait to see the finished book. Shortly after getting the physical arc in, Netgalley also approved the book. So thank you to the publishers for that. This book had some of the same feels as Sawkill Girls, The Darkdeep, and Stranger Things. The beginning is a bit slow, but it tells so much of the story and really sets the mood for the whole book.
Have you read The Devouring Gray? Is it on your TBR?