The Devouring Gray

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley for the e-arc copy of this title.

So I started this book really hoping to like it as the plot sounded amazing; happy to report that it didn't disappoint in the least.

Our main character Violet, has recently moved to Four Paths with her mother after the death of her sister.  This tiny town is where her mother grew up and holds many secrets.  The biggest one being the there is a monster called The Gray that stalks them all.

Violet then finds out that she is a descendant of one of the four founding families and that she has magical abilities to help protect the town.   Really that is the base of the plot for the book.

It did take several chapters for me to feel like I actually understood what was going on, as you are really thrown into the story head first.  But after the first 4o or so pages you start to get a grip on the story and the characters within it.

Christine has a very easy writing style, so once I started reading, the story went by quickly.  The characters themselves had a few quirks, but overall were very believable in spite of them.  There was one part of story line that I feel wasn't completely covered, but it turns out that this is a series, so maybe in the next book that will be covered.

Overall this story really pulled me and kept me engaged throughout the whole thing.  I would highly recommend this book and can't wait to continue the story in the next.
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Actual rating is 3.5 stars. 

I thought this started out brilliantly. Kinda eerie and creepy. I wanted it to stay that way. Actually, I expected it to. But it didn’t. 

The Gray is a creepy almost in-between world in which the founders of a town trapped a monster. And their descendants are able to keep it at bay with magical powers granted to their family in order to protect the town. But they all have to pass ritual in order to receive said powers. Thus brings about some of the other families involved. Part of the story follows those who have failed and are seen as less. 

Our main character is Violet. Her mother fled the town after the death of her younger brother Stephen. They’re returning because her aunt is ill. It’s clear from the beginning that the town isn’t just small, it’s odd. She’s dealing with the pain of her sister’s death. Something that she thinks her mother has barely acknowledged or cared about. She resents her mother for many things. And the move is just added stress on top of it all. 

The story of the town comes to her attention and she becomes aware of her family’s part in things. She begins to develop a power of her own. A dangerous one. As she navigates that and all it could mean, the other teenagers from the founding families vie for her attention. It’s clear there’s an agenda on both sides. And they clash. 

But this story gets even more twisted and hurtful. The adults in this are truly appalling people. I did enjoy the weird cultish feel of parts. And for the most part, the whole Beast terrorizing the town. But really, beyond the first chapter in which we are told about how the bodies were found, there isn’t much of a scary/creepy factor afterward. Most of it becomes solving the mystery of Violet’s family’s ritual, finding another half of a diary, attempting to befriend Violet, etc. It may seem macabre, but I almost thought it should’ve been heavier on the Beast and its terrorizing of the town. Instead, I kind of feel like the humans were the real villains. 

I think the ending was supposed to be a gasp-worthy cliffhanger, but I didn’t have that reaction. At all. Because I really never connected with that character. We viewed him through the eyes of others. So as much as I wish it could’ve been an “oh crap” moment, I just felt more underwhelmed. 

Anyway, it’s a good enough read to keep you entertained and I’m pretty sure I’ll read the next book just to see what happens next. Mostly how The Gray will be handled and what (if any) effect that ending will play in it all.
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Give me all the creepy, foreboding woods because I will happily wander into them and get lost and hope I’m never found. The same can be said for “The Devouring Gray.” I loved losing myself in this story and in these characters.

Thank you, Chrisrine Lynn Herman, for these brilliantly badass and unapologetic and brave and soft and strong rag-tag group of teenagers who mess up as only teenagers can (which you know, takes on a whole new meaning when those mistakes are embroiled in family legacies and deep dark secrets and superpowers and a monster in the woods).

I will absolutely be recommending that we purchase this title for our library collection.
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What I liked
The broad representation of sexuality of present characters, as well as ones we do not meet, several characters who call the,selves bi, including main characters
The setting is wonderfully creepy and well executed
The three different points of view the story was told from. Usually multiple POV drives me crazy, but this time it actually helped me understand the characters better
The adults were fully fleshed out alongside the teenaged main characters

What I didn’t like
I’m glad there’s a book where characters, more than one, are bi, but I was also not happy that they all ended up with opposite sex partners in the story. The she (bi) likes him but he (bi) likes another guy, who likes her love triangle may keep me from reading the second book.
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This was a strange book. At times it reminded me a lot of Sawkill Girls, though I liked the Devouring Gray much better. I can also see the Raven Boys influence here, but it didn't read as derivative for me; still, if you go in expecting the Raven Boys, you will likely be disappointed.

I loved how effortlessly bi Isaac and Violet were! I was also getting some gray-ace vibes from Violet. I like the spooks, I liked the powers, I liked how the rising tensions in the town were handled in the text. Grief was handled very believably.

Sometimes the book felt rushed, like I needed more time to connect with the characters and really feel the emotional impact of what was going on, but I maybe just needed to focus a little better while I was reading it.

Still, I liked it! Would read again (and probably will because there's gonna be a sequel).
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I keep battling with my overall rating, but I would give this book 3/5 stars if I had to pick a number. Christine Lynn Herman's upcoming The Devouring Gray is one of Disney's most anticipated 2019 releases, and I can totally understand why. It's being called a mash-up between The Raven Boys meets Stranger Things, and after finishing this supernatural young adult novel, I can see why. 

Located in upstate New York, a small rural town called Four Paths is tucked away within miles and miles of forest. When Violet Saunders and her mother Juniper return back to Juniper's hometown during Violet's senior year of high school, Violet decides just get through the year and return back to her normal life for college. Violet grew up in Ossining, Westchester, which is just an hour's way from New York City —a world completely different from her new home at Four Paths. At Four Paths, everyone knows your name, and Violet's class is approximately 50 or so people, so she ends up learning everyone's names very quickly. What Violet doesn't know is that the town was founded by four founders, and each of their descendants come with their own notoriety, and baggage. The founders are linked to the surrounding forest in some way, but Violet is unsure how exactly. After meeting the teenagers of the town's founders, she starts to realize that what she believed to be true about herself is not what she was expecting. As Violet's tenure at Four Paths continues, townsfolk start disappearing while others are being killed. The culprit at hand for these murders, are the devouring gray of the nearby woods.

I keep battling about how I thought about The Devouring Gray —both in it's content, and how the dialogue was presented. The Devouring Gray is a diverse story, with sexual fluidity properly portrayed in a respectful, meaningful way. I felt that this theme in the story is important if this book is being rated for teenagers through young adult, because the representation of characters who fall on the Kinsey Scale in some capacity are usually not represented in the most respectful light. While I usually don't enjoy slow-burn novels, the slow burning attributes to this book ending up working in it's favor. My level of enjoyment increased after each chapter—starting from reasonably low, to exponentially high by the epilogue. My intrigue for the devouring gray is still being sought out after I closed the book. Lastly, although it is a fantasy/sci-fi story, it never crossed the point of ridiculousness with it's supernatural capacity. 

However, as the story progressed, I felt that The Devouring Gray began to create an information dump in order for it to proceed. Rather than the reader figuring out what was going on, Violet was informed by heavy dialogue from the townspeople informing her (and us) to what exactly what was going on. That was disappointing, because as a reader, you want to uncover the mystery yourself, not be told what is happening in a matter-of-fact type of way. I also didn't enjoy the amount of exposition that was thrust into the story—you finally get down to the "fun stuff" at the final quarter of the novel. For a fantasy/sci-fi novel, that is way too far into the story for me to allow. I understand 

As The Devouring Gray was coming to an end, that is where the author really takes the story and strengthens it. The characters start from being interchangeable background noise, to fully functional, important roles. Even with it's slow-burning capacity, my adoration for the characters in this book grew as the story moved along—which worked in the author's favor. I ended up finishing this story wanting more. I can't imagine that there won't be a sequel to The Devouring Gray , I just am unsure that I am ready to invest in more time with this story.
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The Devouring Gray takes place in a fictional town named Four Paths, New York. Violet Saunders has moves to Four Paths after her sister dies with her mother assuming they would both be new comers to the town.  She soon finds out her mother is a member of one of the most prominent families in town. Justin Hawthorne is a member of the family who regard themselves as protectors for the people in the town.  Why do these people need protection in this bucolic little town in upstate New York? The townspeople need protection from the Gray.  The Gray is a fog with a kick – it can kill people and is doing it at an alarming rate.  Harper Carlisle from another prominent family in the town lost her hand in the Gray when she was abandoned in it by Justin.  Unfortunately for Justin she now wants vengeance.

Violet, Justin, and Harper were born with extraordinary powers, but they don’t get along that well, and most importantly none of them knows how to kill the Gray. It grows stronger day by day and they know they must stop it from killing more people in Four Paths.  They keep running into puzzles and secrets that no one wants to help them solve or reveal. But the town must give them up for the Gray to be vanquished.  Time is running out as the Gray gets stronger and stronger. This is the root of the story that develops into a full blown teen murder mystery. A must read for all who enjoy their thrillers with a supernatural twist.
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Hermann has written a captivatingly atmospheric and character-driven novel that handles trauma and grief in its variety of forms. Four Paths is the quintessential small town riddled with secrets and pulls you in from the beginning. Its history and background is thoughtfully presented and introduced through the alternating POVs of Violet, who knows nothing, and Harper and Justin who have grown up with ingrained with the town lore. The powers, rituals, and Founder history help set the tone of the novel and balance the book’s pacing with necessary exposition. Additionally, Hermann’s unique magic system complements the atmosphere of the novel. 

However, at the center of this novel are the relationships. The relationships between childhood friends, ex-friends with history, protective (in different ways) parents and their children, and siblings living in each others shadows really brought out the depth within the characters. With these characters, I loved the way this novel presented tropes and then dismantled them. This would make for a great discussion on archetypes in Young Adult fiction. The Devouring Gray can be taught in alongside popular media featuring protagonists of the similar age groups, shows such as Stranger Things and Riverdale.
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"...Branches and stones, daggers and bones..."

Creepy rhymes automatically make me want to read a book. This is not the full rhyme, so you'll want to check this story out for more! 

This one lived up to the creepiness level I was expecting/ wanting. A little bit Stranger Things, a little bit Buffy (sans vampires). I loved it. I stayed up until 2am last night because I absolutely needed to finish it. 

Also- parents actually play a role in this book (which is pretty cool, since you hardly ever see parents in YA). I also definitely appreciate the fact that there is very little romance in this book. I mean, there's a little bit but it definitely takes a far back seat to the main story. This kept the action moving forward and allowed for more attention to the development of the characters and different types of relationships, which was awesome.
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Family secrets, grief, love found and lost - they all come together with the supernatural in this atmospheric treat of a book. I love the small town setting. It's at once cosy and creepy and Herman manages to weave in the backstories of all her characters so well. The mutli-povs were well done and added depth to the story, but the twists were still a pleasant surprise, proving that Herman knows exactly what story she's trying to tell. The ending is Something Else, and I can't wait to read the sequel.
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This novel wasn't for me. I was expecting a more lyrical, magical realism story. I don't think this novel can be adapted for curriculum. I will still recommend this to students looking for a creepy, October read.
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This book should be a big hit with fans of Supernatural, the TV show, and supernatural, the genre. Herman has created a collection of distinct characters and interesting interpersonal relationships. I mostly loved it, but it did feel like a constant rush towards action, with no down time at all.
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This creepy, eerie and imaginative story grabbed me by the back of the neck and held on from first to last page. The plot is a refreshing take on the “monster in the woods” trope and features some sassy, kick-ass characters. The premise of four founding families (shades of Hogwarts, anyone?) isn’t new, but the relationship of the families to the monster and to the town they protect is pretty darn original. The author does a good job of making teens sound like teens, although the adults are portrayed as bullies or dopes. The plot flowed easily and kept my attention. It looks like this will be the begining of a series, which makes me happy. It would also make a helluva TV series in the vein of Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Recommended.
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While this book started off slow I was hooked after about 60 pages. My upper middle and high school students would love this book. The characters are relatable and interesting.
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This book was truly fun and exciting. Characters were developed pretty well (although more would be good!). Characters are likable even when making mistakes or seeming difficult. There were so many secrets and lies that were revealed over the course of the stories. I really liked the character, storyline, and am looking forward to seeing how the story will continue.
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Where do I even begin?

I devoured The Devouring Gray in about a week. I couldn't put it down. I was invested in the characters from the moment they appeared. The story took me to places I never expected. I can't gush about it enough. 

It was like the founders of Hogwarts and the Vampire Diaries came together in a town with creepy woods full of evil! The writing was phenomenal: the author takes you into her arms and, when you eventually come out on the other side, she sets you down on a nice meadow of grass called the Sequel Possibility. 

What's great and different about The Devouring Gray, is that the magic isn't thrown at you. They aren't witches, there are no fairies, but yet they're power exists and their town knows it. Each family of Four Paths is powerful in their own way, whether it be with the mind, with the dead, with energy, or with creating. The book deals with grief in a true way, not overusing it to further the plot, but not dismissing it all together. The characters are strong and weak in their own ways and the Gray isn't the One thing that matters the entire book. Although, it is the epicenter of the town, the characters interact with it differently and it sets them apart. 

The representation in the book is great, and something you don't really read a lot about in YA but is now starting to catch hold where it should have been all along. 

10/10 would recommend reading The Devouring Gray!
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An ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

THE DEVOURING GRAY has been one of my most anticipated 2019 reads, and it. did. not. disappoint.

It's hard for me to describe everything I loved about this book. The writing was so clean and evocative, definitely lyrical at times. The characters are thoughtful, developed, and so obviously human—their interactions, their dialogue, their wants and needs, they're all so clear and well-developed. I'm deeply attached to these moody disasters (especially Violet and Harper) and can't wait until Book 2.

There was basically nothing I didn't love about this book. The pacing was tight, the story and stakes clear, and the characters—as mentioned above—so incredible and relatable. I love the conversations this book has with the readers on grief and familial expectations, the lies we tell to save face, the feelings of being wanted and being an outcast. This book takes difficult issues and does not shy away from them, all while keeping the teenaged-hood alive. This is a book I would have needed when I was a teen, if only to see others my age struggle and not be perfect.

I think what I really loved about this book, at the end of the day, was those two last points: this book looked difficult topics (like grief) in the face and didn't pretend to have perfect characters. The characters struggle and make mistakes that have real consequences, which is so great to see. And! The book actually feels complete, and not like the story was cut off abruptly to make a sequel. There are questions asked at the very end that are meant for the sequel, but it didn't leave on much of a cliff.

Definite content notes are needed, though the author has done a really wonderful job being upfront about that. The book deals with grief (for both sibling and parental death), has some gory images of dead bodies, borderline abusive or at least neglectful parents, and lots of bi feelings. No CN necessary for that last bit, but there was that one review of GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE that felt the need to be upset about the F/F relationship, so: there are bi feelings in this book, and they're amazing. 

I wish I had more coherent things to say about this book, but it boils down to: if you love flawed characters, complex familial relationships, dark and spooky towns, kids being pretty openly bi, self-destruction, and cults, pick this book up when it comes out in April. I couldn't put it down.
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A few things first. I left my laptop at a TSA checkpoint in Boston so I’m writing this year’s first review on the notes app in my iPhone. Grammarly does not work on here so if there’s mistakes, give a girl a little break. My laptop is somewhere over the ocean on its journey back into my loving arms. It’s been a rough few weeks. 

But I got my greedy hands on this book from the lovely Netgalley so that right there is hope. Also I’m getting sushi tonight so I guess that’s two good bright spots. 

Here we have the town of Four Points where generations of founding families have acted as protectors against an ancient evil they’d banished. But like most towns, this ones got secrets. 

Also I great cast of characters. One also wields a sword. 

Violet is a jaded teen who’s mother, Juniper forces her to move to a town Juniper grew up in after the death of their daughter and sister, Rosie. It doesn’t take long for Violet to find out her founding families history. I loved violet for her formidable persona and wit. She’s also described as bisexual which was also rad. She’s a girl filled with hope and pain and anger. I wanted to hold her, but was also really scared of her. 

Justin is another offspring of a founding family who’s looked as a certain king of the school as well as admired by the town.  He has a tumultuous relationship with Harper (daughter of a third founding family) who had failed her ritual (a coming into power thing)and is sort of a pariah in Four Points. 

Let me take a minute to talk about Harper. When we first meet her, shes wielding a sword. With one hand. She’s practicing swordplay with one hand-the other having been torn off after her ritual gone wrong. I mean, this girl is a force. I knew it from the start. Lordy lord. 

Christine’s writing is stunning. It flows right along with the quick, easy pacing without sacrificing the prose. There were some things that I wished had been expanded on but it wasn’t too much of a bother. 

So in closing, we have a diverse, engaging cast and a wonderfully spooky atmospheric world. It flowed through the vein of such recent books like Sawkill Girls and The Waking Forest. If you like those things, this book is for you.
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Hello, this review will be posted to my Instagram, blog, and Goodreads on March 15th, 2019. The review will also be added to Amazon and Barnes & Noble on the book's publication date. Links will be added when they are public, thank you.

Title: The Devouring Gray
Author: Christine Lynn Herman
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Rating: 4 stars
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

The Devouring Gray is about a small town called Four Paths which is surrounded by woodlands. The founders of this town have been keeping secrets and their children aim to figure out what is really happening in those woods and stop the deaths that keep happening in their town.

This book was not what I was expecting but in a good way. It is filled with a lot of secrets surrounding the founding family's and their abilities along with what is creeping in the woods. The plot for this book leaves you wanting more and honestly I am always up for a good founding family's story especially when there is supernatural abilities at work.

When it came to the characters, a few of them were a little flat but it didn't keep me from taking a interest in them and they kept me engaged throughout each page. It was interesting, and sometimes surprising, to see how far certain characters would go when it came to the power struggle of the town and the drama surrounding the families. I am hoping there will be a second book because it left off on a cliffhanger and there are so many questions I have left unanswered when it comes to Isaac. 

The supernatural abilities are different for each person and even family members have a different one which I thought was cool. A few of those abilities were used but I think we will see more done with them in the second book (crossing my fingers).

This book is filled with suspense, super-human abilities, and a gang of young teens trying to keep their town safe from an evil that dates back farther than their ancestors. If you are a fan of Stranger Things or like a bit of supernatural than this book is definitely for you.
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Herman creates a dark and briefing world in which I can’t get enough of. She focuses on the world building while balancing the plot. Her characters are believable and relatable.
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