The Devouring Gray

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I want to first thank Titan books and Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book. I have a physical arc because I traded for it. 

This story follows a group of families who live to protect a town called Four Paths. Four members of four different families joined together to put a terrorizing beast into purgatory and gain some of his powers in order to protect the town. The powers are passed down through the each family, by completing a ritual when that person turns 16. In this Story we follow, Harper, Justin, Issac and Violet. Violet has no clue what she's getting into when her mom and her move back into their home town, due to the death of her sister Rosie. Violet is seemed by the other teenagers because they know who she is a descendant of while she doesn't. The four teenagers are led to a path of pain as well as trying to save their town and themselves no matter what cost.

This book was gripping from the beginning, as so as I started reading I did not want to stop. The first few pages were very intriguing and would grasp you. I loved the story that was told and I enjoyed reading about every character and their secrets. While this book ended in such an interesting note and I loved evrything about the ending and the plot twist. When I got to the middle of that book I almost got into a slump. I didn't really want to pick up the book and keep reading. I sort of force my way through. Maybe its because I'm in school and have loads to study, but as soon as I go through I was able to finish the 100 pages in the day. So I feel like the middle of the book dragged just a bit for me. 

On another note I really enjoyed the book and I cannot wait to read the next, especially after that twist and reveal at the end. I can't wait to see what these characters are capable of.

3.5 ⋆⋆⋆
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I found this to be refreshing.  The story is good.  Character development is consistent.  I loved that it didn't become a soppy romance.  There was some unrequited love but they are teenagers so you are going to get that (hormones).  
I can't say that there was anything that I disliked.  I am unsure how I feel about there being, what felt like, a significant number of bisexual characters.  I appreciate it but I'm not sure how realistic it felt.  But I did like that it wasn't a huge plot point.  They just were.  Like I said the romance was really subdued.
There are so many creative parts to this story that I like.  It feels more original even though it's really the same hero story.  
I know this is a terribly written review but I don't have any strong feelings about the book.  I enjoyed it - pretty much read it in one sitting.  I look forward to a sequel.  I would totally see the movie.
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A fine first novel but the story felt a little all over the place and certain events felt too convenient at times. However, I did really love the lore around the founding families and all the casual bisexuality.

Also someone commented this is like CW's The Vampire Diaries and I think that's a fair comparison.
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Disney Book Group and Christine Lynn Herman for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy.

Are you ready for what’s in The Gray? It is haunting and horrifying. It sent shivers down my spine and made me pull up the covers a little tighter and I loved every second of it. I read this all in one shot - I couldn’t put it down and I enjoyed every second of it.

The writing is gorgeous, evocative, descriptive. The contrast between the forest that surrounds the town, the green of the trees, the smell of the leaves, compared to the gray where there is an absence of sound, breath and colour. Don’t forget those bodies turned inside out and upside down. We never get a clear picture of the monster, but its personality is just outside of our grasp. So frightening for Violet who had no frame of reference for what was happening, thrown into the gray. I love that the outsider, Violet, is the moral compass. She can see so clearly what is wrong because of her fresh perspective. The others have been bogged down by history and responsibility. Their grooves already dug out for them. Such a clear picture emerges of the town of Four Paths, off the beaten path, a place where everyone knows its secrets, where strangers aren’t welcome. You can feel the smallness of the town, the expectations and judgement palpable. Imagine a high school where there aren’t enough seniors to make a class and kids who have been together their whole lives. Yet, Herman introduces the fluidity of their sexuality without it being a thing if you are bisexual, gay or straight. The four teens who have to right the wrongs of their parents, fix the mistakes of the past and forge their own way forward. Can they? Or will they, too, find themselves seduced by power. 

There is so much in this book, great relationships between characters, magical realism, and a good old fashioned scary story with things that go bump in the night.
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If you like family intrigue, mysterious creatures, town secrets, power hungry citizens, and even a little unrequited love...then The Devouring Gray is the book for you.
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The Devouring Gray is a book filled with a twisty plot, well developed characters and a spooky, mysterious setting. I was instantly hooked and thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

The atmosphere and mystery are executed so well, I was constantly on the edge of my seat trying to figure out the mystery surrounding the town and the founders. Four Paths is so different from any other town and our main characters are the only ones that can protect it. Being the descendants of the founders come with their own set of exceptions, however very little is as it seems. No character is perfect. They all have their own individual ways of dealing with their founder status and have justification for every terrible thing they do. I loved seeing all of them come together and the dynamic that forms between them. Also, two of the main characters are bi sexual, and there are some hints to f/f side ships.

I also really enjoyed the progression of the plot. I don’t think it ever really dragged. New information was constantly presented about the town and the founders, and seeing it all come together in the end was very satisfying. The ending is so killer and I need the next book ASAP. 

Overall, I enjoyed this debut immensely. The magic system is so interesting and I can’t wait to see where the plot will go next. I recommend this story for anyone who enjoys a creepy setting, plots full of mystery and a cast full of morally gray characters.
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The Devouring Gray is deliciously creepy. Well developed lovable characters, great writing style, and the world building is all on point! This is a definite 2 thumbs up for this debut author!
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The Devouring Gray, by author Christine Lynn Herman, is the first installment in The Devouring Gray series. With the stylized setting and character-driven drama of Riverdale, if Riverdale was plagued by the Upside Down from Stranger Things, as well as similarities to The Raven Cycle, this debut contemporary fantasy follows a group of teens with dark secrets and the power to save the town of Four Paths, New York from a monster that has been lurking in the shadows waiting for the right time to break the chains that binds it.

Violet Saunders and her mother Juniper return to Four Paths, New York after a heartbreaking loss of Violet's sister. As Violet soon discovers, there's a whole lot that her mother, as well as her aunt Delia, have kept from her, including a new found ability that shocks her to the core. Her family is one of the descendants of the Four founding families along with the Hawthorne's, Sullivan's, and Carlisle's. The founding families that are both revered and despised by the town. Only they have the powers to cage that which lies with the Gray.

The other pertinent characters are Justin & May Hawthorne, Isaac Sullivan, and Harper Carlisle. Each has different abilities, except for Justin who recently failed his ritual, (which every descendant is supposed to go through, and none of them are the same), and is masquerading around town to hide the fact that he has inherited no powers. His sister May uses the Deck of Omens to see what will possibly happen in the future. May was not one of my favorites.

Justin and May's mother, Augusta, is the town's sheriff who is getting blow back thanks to the dead bodies that are increasing in regularity. She can also remove memories. She is diabolical, scheming, power hungry and has no issues with sending Justin away.  Isaac Sullivan is Justin’s best friend. He’s bisexual, and has powers of destruction and creation. The whole town fears him after a horrible accident that killed his whole family. He is the only Sullivan left in Four Paths. 

Harper was once best friends with Justin, but after she failed her ritual, lost her left hand, and was left in the Gray for days, the whole Hawthorne family dropped her like a hot potato and she’s been an outcast ever since. Her family has the power to bring stone to life and she is wicked with a sword. Harper attempts to sway Violet to her way of thinking in order to stop the town from being destroyed by those who are unhappy with the town's leadership.

I can't forget the Beast. The Beast is a mysterious sentient creature which was trapped by the Four Founders of the town over a century ago. The Beast is hell bent on breaking its constraints and Violet and the others, must work together to keep the town, and the wider world, safe from what creeps through the woods when no one is watching. 

So, let me finish by saying that I haven't gotten past season one of Riverdale, haven't watched either season of Strange Things, but have read The Raven Cycle a few years ago. After reading some key selling points, I offered up the similarities for readers to decide whether or not they are factual or not. I will say the ending of this book holds all sorts of curious plot lines for the sequel. Including Isaac and Violet, as well as Justin and Harper's reaction to what happens at the end of this story. God willing, I will be adding the sequel to my 2020 TBR list.
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This book is an excellent choice for readers who are new to the fantasy genre. It is a contemporary book with a sprinkling of fantasy and science fiction elements that really bring you in to the story. I feel like many YA readers, especially teens, would get sucked in to this story. I know quite a few students who will enjoy this title. I can't wait to share it with them. If you like the shows on CW, this book is for you! Lots of angst and mystery!
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Title:  The Devouring Gray
Author:  Christine Lynn Herman
Genre:  YA, fantasy
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

When seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders’ twin sister died, her world ended. Her mom moving to the tiny town of Four Corner, New York was just the icing on the cake. Things are…odd in Four Corners. The town is mostly forest. People practically worship Justin Hawthorn and his sister, May. And everywhere you look are secrets.

Like the weird grey landscape Violet sometimes catches glimpses of from the corner of her eye. Or the flashes of her sister’s blue hair. Or the dead bodies found in the past few months. Not to mention the Beast.

Everything in Four Corners is about power:  who has it, who doesn’t, and doing anything necessary to keep what you’ve got. But there are even more secrets here than Violet suspects, as power in town is balanced on the tip of a knife, and where it falls will change everything.

This story is told from multiple points-of-view, which made it intriguing. The setting is dark and gloomy. The characters are dark and broody. The history of the town is—you guessed it—dark and troubled. And that absolutely works for this story. I loved this atmospheric read—but I have no desire to visit Four Corners.

Christine Lynn Herman was born in NYC but raised in Honk Kong and Japan. The Devouring Gray is her new novel.

(Galley courtesy of Disney-Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley and Titan Books. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book Series: First in the Devouring Grey Series

Rating: 2/5

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, magic, darkness)

Publisher: Titan Books

Pages: 368

Amazon Link

Synopsis: 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?

Review: Okay, so I’m probably going to get hate for this but I didn’t enjoy the book as much as everyone else is. I did like the premise, it’s dark and mysterious like my soul. I also liked the writing, I thought it was perfect and the author has a talent for dark writing. I felt like this book could have been great and is a great book for many people that are not me lol.

However, I just didn’t mesh well with this book. The constant POV switches mid chapters and even otherwise made this book confusing for me. There were breaks and stuff, but on the kindle it just looked like regular paragraph breaks. The magic isn’t explained in this book. We’re thrown into this world with little explanation. I’m really picky on how I like this done in books, so this is a hard criteria for any book to feel. The book had very little world building, in terms of location, and too much in terms of history… like A LOT, and I feel like I have to read the synopsis of this book to understand the book, which shouldn’t be the case for any book in my opinion. It feels like you need to notetake while reading this book. The pacing was also really slow and there were underdeveloped characters all throughout this book. 

Verdict: If you can get into this book you’ll love it.
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The Devouring Gray has – what I describe as – my Ultimate Book Aesthetic™. It’s set in a tiny town where everybody knows each other, where there’s little to do except eat out at the sole, but quality, diner sitting at the edge of the single main street, lined by dense trees. It’s a town surrounded by a foreboding forest that seems to have a life of its own. Four Paths, and towns like it, are my dream setting, and Herman embraces this setting to its fullest; the result is a deeply atmospheric, eerie book that immerses the reader within its setting. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about The Devouring Gray (after the setting, let’s be real) is how Herman handles explaining the town’s secrets to the reader. The story begins with Violet Saunders – a descendant of one of the founding families moving into Four Paths with her mother. Violet hasn’t ever been to this town before, which is where her mother grew up. In fact, she doesn’t know anything about her family history or the town’s secrets. When strange things start to happen, her paths collide with the rest of the founding families’ children, and they explain to Violet her history and the town’s origin. So, the reader is learning about the town along with one of our main characters, so the reveals feel natural and well-timed.

In fact, despite it being a paranormal fantasy, Herman’s ability to make it all seem realistic is incredible. A lot of this has to do with how well-developed her characters are. It’s an ensemble cast with three perspective characters out of four of these ‘main’ characters.

✨ Justin Hawthorne is the golden boy of the town, as most founding family descendants are, yet he has a secret. His perspective chapters are rife with internal conflict, which I loved reading.

✨ Violet Saunders has just moved into Four Paths, after the tragic death of her sister. Her arc is full of unraveling her history and coming to terms with her identity, as well as overcoming loss. Violet is bisexual.

✨ Isaac Sullivan is perhaps the most powerful of the founding kids, and also the most angry. He is the only character who does not have a perspective, and I thought that lended itself well to his mysterious past, which you learn about as you progress in the story. Isaac is also bisexual.

✨ Harper Carlisle is the only person who went into the Gray, stayed there for a few days, and came out alive with one less hand. Her arc is full of the struggle to move on, and a desperate desire for vengeance.

Each of these characters are given such elaborate back-stories. They each have their own personalities, their own motivations and their own conflicts they are working through. All that aside, they’re also deeply intertwined. Some are just getting to know each other (such as Violet and the rest), while some have deep bonds of friendship (Isaac and Justin), while some have bad blood between them (Harper and Justin). The reader gets to see of these threads that bind our characters together develop even further, making for some great character moments even in the midst of an exciting plot. 

Ultimately, I loved this book. I loved how creepy and atmospheric it was, I loved the ensemble cast, I loved the decisions Herman made. And although at times it was a tad confusing (especially towards the climax), I still enjoyed it tremendously and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys The Diviners, and The Raven Cycle.
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Haunting and darkly beautiful, The Devouring Gray is perfect for fans of Kim Liggett and Stranger Things.
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It took me a while to get invested, but once things got moving, this book really drew me in. There's a lot of set building that left me alternating between confused and uninterested - but once that wraps up and things get moving I was hooked. Shows great potential for the series.
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This book was a complete and utter delight. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Everything about this book hooked me in. At first, I wasn’t sure if this book would be for me because the beginning was just alright. However, once you get past the first 10-15% of the book, then you will absolutely be hooked. 

I don’t want to say much about the plot of this book because it’s much more fun to go in blind. All you need to know is that Four Paths is unlike any other town in the world. People die brutal, terrible deaths at the hands of a monster. The founding families are the only ones with the power to protect the town. But, this town and these families are all masters of manipulation and deceit. Until the return of the Saunders family--one of the four founding families. This return will upset the current balance and status quo in town--and it might also lead to more deaths or to salvation. 

First off, let’s start with our main characters: Violet, Harper, Justin, and Isaac. Each of these characters is a descendant from a founding family. Violet is the new girl in town who has no idea about the town’s monster or the significance of being a descendant of a founding family. Harper has lived the past 3 years as an outcast in her town because she failed her ritual. Justin is the golden boy everyone in town adores, but things aren’t always what they seem. Justin has a secret that could ruin not only his reputation but his family’s name. Last, but not least, Isaac is the last member of his family in Four Paths. The town sees him as a loose cannon and a liability because bad things happen when he loses his temper. 

Overall, I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the interesting magic system in this book. Quite frankly, I need the sequel right NOW. That ending was killer. I can’t wait to see what journey these characters go on in the next installment! I recommend this book to people who love a creepy, gothic setting full of morally gray characters.
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I really liked this book and read it really quickly. However, the ending is a little lackluster. I understand that this is going to be a series and the next book will likely pick up where this one left off. So, I'm not holding the ending against this book to harshly.

This was a good young adult fantasy book and I plan to read the next in the series. It was a little Harry Potter (the later books) meets Divergent for me. I liked the teen characters in the book, I liked the towns back story and I liked how the story unraveled.

Ultimately, I will recommend this book to my friends who like YA, fantasy. I will probably tell them to wait to read until two books are out because I really wanted to start the second book immediately after finishing this one.
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Maybe I've just read too many books like this, but there was nothing really new here - old town, deep secrets, ruling families, etc.. The multiple POVs didn't help, nor did the "you have to read the next book to get answers to stuff we've been teasing all along" ending. Tighter writing and making this one book would help.

eARC provided by publisher.
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3.5 stars

When I picked up this book, I realized that I actually had very little idea of what it was about. 

I had some general vibes: dark, spooky atmosphere, a beast haunting a town—but besides that, it was largely unknown to me. 

And so, I read it. And I feel like The Devouring Gray just wasn’t the perfect book for me, although a lot of other people will like it. 

I think it is well written, and it’s got a compelling storyline. I just ended up not being in the right mood for this book, and unfortunately that translated into my enjoyment of it. 

However, if you like spooky, atmosphere novels with occult-like magic, you should 100% check The Devouring Gray out. 

The atmosphere was really distinct.

This was probably the most interesting part of The Devouring Gray, but the atmosphere was so rich and heavy and almost tangible with the way that the woods established a spooky dominance. 
Woods themselves are such complex symbols, and I love the way Herman used the woods in coordination with this monster, the Gray, to really build the atmosphere. When I think of The Devouring Gray, I will always think of fog and woods and dark spooky forests and kind of weird small towns that are closer than you think. 

I definitely would love to visit Four Paths, but only for a little while, because I don’t think I’d be able to handle that type of spookiness and thick, heavy atmosphere in town for long. 

If you’re super into these types of woodsy atmospheres, I would wholeheartedly recommend you check out The Devouring Gray!

It had a super cool concept!

The town of Four Paths has such an interesting history, and I actually was really invested into seeing how things would play out. This was my favorite plot element, as the four founders play a really interesting role in town, and seeing how their descendants have a sort of responsibility on their shoulder and the way the founder dynamic has evolved really intrigued me. 

This is the sort of power play and interesting dynamics that made this story still a positive experience for me (rather than a neutral one), and I think if I was in a better mood (one that was really looking for a spooky atmosphere), I would have enjoyed this story even more.

But the power plays between the different founding families, as well as the interactions with their offspring and the people in town, were really interesting to me and this comes into play a little more as the book progresses, so if you’re not super into it initially, it might still be worth it to stick with it to get to see this part unfold!

I just wasn’t as into the story as I wanted to be. 

Ultimately, I just wasn’t as in the mood for The Devouring Gray as I thought I was. 

I definitely read the last half very quickly, but the first part moved a little slower than I liked, and because I wasn’t being fueled by the atmosphere, I was sort of waiting for the pieces and breadcrumbs Herman was lying around to finally start coming together. 

I think, in the right circumstances, I could have given The Devouring Gray a much higher rating, but ultimately I just wasn’t ready for this book.

However, if it sounds really interesting to you, you should definitely give it a shot!

Still, Herman is a fantastic writer and The Devouring Gray is quite well written, and chock-full of a foggy forest atmosphere that will suck a lot of readers in. 

If you’re intrigued by small town politics (feat. magic powers) and really strong atmospheres, I would wholeheartedly recommend The Devouring Gray! 

(Also, more than one MC is queer *wink wink*.)
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I think I'm going to end up giving this one 3.5 stars.

I LOVED the setting and the atmosphere of this, it was so creepy and perf. However, I struggled with loving the characters. Don't get me wrong I didn't hate them, but I just felt like I wasn't given any reasons to fall in love with them as much as I did the world.

One thing I would like to add is how much I struggled while reading the end of this. The formatting of the ARC was awful, and while I'm really not trying to let that sway my opinion of the story it was extremely difficult. The jumping of POV's definitely made it the ending fast paced which was amazing, but with no breaks to visualize a change in POV I often found myself re-reading paragraphs over and over again trying to figure out which POV I was reading. And that really took away from me being able to enjoy this. 

Overall, for a debut I thought this was really well done and can't wait to see where the story continues in the next books!
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The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman is a new YA fantasy that is filled with secrets, lies and magic.

The plot itself was interesting and it was well written. I found the history of Four Path was reminiscent of the history of the decedents of the Salem witches, and I was all for it. It explained the history and lineage without it feeling dry and textbook. The whole book was shrouded in mystery, and I was intrigued to unravel its secrets.

The story was told from four different point of views, Violet, Isaac, Harper and Justin. They are the descendants of the original town founders and tasked with protecting the town. They each have secrets and fears that they keep from one another, so it's hard to determine where the truth lies. Sadly I failed to really connect or care for any of the characters until the end of the book. It's not that they were bad characters, but they seemed a bit stereotypical. I am all for LGTB characters but it seemed like everyone and their mother was bisexual and it was constantly being pointed out. As someone who reads a lot of same sex romance books it felt like overkill. However, by the end I was a big fan of Isaac. He seemed like the most complex of the four, with so many layers he kept hidden.

Overall, I think this is a great debut novel and start to a series. I am definitely invested in this story and have hopes and anticipating for the next book.
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