February 1, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

ARC Review of The Devouring Gray Out 4/2

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman is set in Four Paths, New York. And as other reviews have stated it has a netherworld danger that smacks you in the face with a resemblance to Stranger Things. The only issue being that it isn’t as well developed as the danger lurking on the Netflix hit and therefore doesn’t come to life as the menacing threat that it is on TV.

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the Arc in exchange for a fair review.

Violet arrives to Four Paths with her mother, Juniper, five months after the sudden death of her older sister. Her mother had grown up in Four Paths but hadn’t returned there since she left at the age of eighteen and never spoke much of it. Once Violet arrives things start to get odd and fast. They also start to get formulaic.

When Violet gets to her first day of school she meets other classmates quickly at the small highschool and people are dying. And of course Violet is sucked into the Devouring Gray (the netherworld harbouring the menacing beast) without knowing why but doesn’t want to tell anyone.

She starts realizing she has unknown powers of her own (cue creepy music) when she resurrects her aunt’s cat that suddenly dies in front of her feet. Ok, to be fair maybe that part just completely threw me off because I just don’t do well reading about cats suddenly and gruesomely dropping dead and then Pet Sematary happening. Of course another teenager, Justin sees it and secrets about the town, powerful families and an ancestral secret begins to come to light.

Devouring Gray goes on from there to bring other town secrets and a dangerous plan to light. The teenagers have to work together to save themselves and the town from the beast and the Devouring Gray. It hands on one big cliffhanger and one big, not cliffhanger, but event that leads you to believe there is another book coming.

I just wasn’t ever invested enough in the characters, the plot or the setting to really enjoy it. There were pieces here and there that were good. But there were larger swatches that had me thinking, are you kidding? It just felt like the plot to so many books I had read before. Person arrives at new town. Person is looking for friends, family. Person finds out they have secret powers. Person finds support. Person uncovers secrets. Person has to save the day with help of new friends…

Some may enjoy the Devouring Gray if this isn’t a storyline they are familiar with but for me it fell flat.