Violet Saunders and her mother have moved to the town of Four Paths so they can be closer to their family. After suffering multiple tragedies, this little town could just be what they need to sooth their souls. It isn’t long before Violet finds out that her new home is not going to be her salvation. The town is weird. The founder’s descendants are worshipped like gods, everyone seems to be looking at her and an overwhelming atmosphere of fear hangs over the town. It is when she finds out that her own ancestor is a founder that she gets pulled in to the mysteries and secrets the town is concealing. As she forms new bonds with Harper, Isaac, Justin and May who are the children of the other founder families, she finds that something blood- thirsty is lurking in the woods and in their families histories.
The Devouring Gray grabbed me. The plot is fast moving and the characters have great depth. What I particularly liked was the way that folklore and myth have influenced the plot and given the whole story a great foundation to stand on. It put me in mind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in places as it was about a group of teens who were not only battling the big bad but also coping with the chaos of being on the cusp of adulthood. The lore that Christine Lynn Herman builds is just delicious and the way that she writes about the town is so vivid that I could almost smell the bark from the trees wafting off the page.
The story is fast moving but Herman doesn’t skimp on character development. Each character has their own history and some have a ton of baggage to carry with them. I loved that so many of the character expressed queer feelings. The main character is bisexual and her expression of that felt really natural. I loved how Harman brought in little romantic elements to the novel. It didn’t overwhelm the plot and it felt real. There were moments where I could feel exactly what was going on in Harper and Isaac’s hearts because it took me right back to how I had felt in my teenage years.
There is something about this book that reminds me of the Umbrella Academy and I think that is because of two things. The first is that none of the characters in this book are completely without a fault. Even the characters who are heroes have moments in which you might question their morality. I loved that this was the case. Who wants a perfect hero?!
The second reason this reminded me of Umbrella Academy was that a lot of the problems that the kids had where rooted in the past and the actions of the people who had come before them. Violet, Isaac, Harper, Justin and May all battle with issues that have resulted from their ancestors actions just as the children of the Umbrella Academy battle with the legacy of Sir Hargreeves.
This is an excellent sci-fi book and a very enjoyable read. I would recommend this to those who love a good coming of age story with a supernatural feel. I can see you liking this if you’ve enjoyed; Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games or even Harry Potter. I can’t wait for the sequel!
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman is published by Titan Books. Click here to go to the site to order a copy.