REVIEW: The Devouring Gray
Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a review for anything that wasn’t an ARC, and if any book that I’ve read recently deserves a review so I can talk about my thoughts and feelings, it would be this one! I finished this one halfway through May and I’m still not really sure where I stand on it, which is why I rated it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it, but there were some things that I didn’t really like.
The Devouring Gray
by Christine Lynn Herman
Series: The Devouring Gray #1
Release date: April 2nd 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT
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?
Originally I wasn’t going to read this book, because while it sounded interesting, there were other books out there that I was more interested in reading. However, one of the prompts for Medievalathon was to start or finish a duology and out of the books that I had, none of them were reaching out and grabbing me so I picked this one up on a whim.
I’m still not quite sure how I really feel about this book, even after having some time to think about it. Firstly, there are a lot of comparisons of this book to Stranger Things and Riverdale. From what I’ve watched of those shows, I can definitely see how those comparisons have been made and this book really does have that spooky forest/town vibe, and there’s just something about it that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable like something is about to jump out at you. However, it didn’t really feel like the characters were ever in danger or that the stakes were high enough.
There were also moments where I was really confused about what was happening and why. One of those moments was when Violet had to save someone (I don’t want to say who because spoilers) because the way it was described made it hard for me to follow along and it just seemed kind of pointless and it was over so quickly. Also, if I were in her position I don’t think that I would be okay with magic and powers and stuff right off the bat like she was. It didn’t really seem 100% realistic and I wish she had spent more time questioning it all instead of just going along with it. I was also confused pretty much every time Isaac was involved in any scenes where he uses his magic because….what exactly is it that he does? It’s never really described to you and is his family dead or did they leave? And how did he cause any of that? So many things about him weren’t described!
I also spent a good portion of the book confusing Isaac and Justin with each other because the way they were written was so similar and I had so much trouble telling them apart! I never truly felt any connection to any of the characters, the only one I can see myself forming any kind of connection with in the next book would be Harper. Possibly.
I’m hoping that the second book gives more explanation for the Beast and the Gray because it just fell flat for me and I really wanted both to feel more dangerous and more like it was a character in the story.
The BIGGEST thing that annoyed me that I haven’t seen too many other reviews point out was the way people and things were described. It was just wayyyyy too forced! There were constant descriptions like that white girl, that black woman, the bisexual boy, etc. And then EVERY SINGLE THING WAS RED-BROWN. The red-brown trees, the red-brown stones, even the red-brown buildings! It was so irritating to read these descriptions over and over and over again.
All that being said, I did read it very quickly and the premise is interesting enough for me to want to read the second book, especially seeing as this is only a duology so it won’t be too difficult to finish.