THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman. Review.

THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman.

Titan Books. p/b. £8.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

The Deck of Omens tells a person of their future. Justin Hawthorne has been here before. After failing his own ritual the cards will not speak for him, only about him. His future has been read many times, but May has never seen it look quite this way before.

Bodies have been appearing in Four Paths. Three now. All taken by and then returned from the Gray. Justin’s family heads the founder families, those responsible for the safety of Four Paths’ residents. The Hawthorne’s have a long-standing reputation to uphold, yet Justin fears it is only a matter of time before his lack of powers becomes known.

Violet Saunders is on her way to Four Paths, New York – her mother’s home town. Her sister is dead, and still-grieving Violet sees Rosie everywhere; the slightest thing helps the memories stir. Little does Violet know what to expect from her new home and the unlikely friends she will make.

Unlike the others Harper has been to the Gray and returned, survived the beast that dwells there. It made her an outcast and changed her in so many ways. Will she ever find acceptance again?

The Devouring Gray follows Justin, Violet and Harper among others as the youths of Four Paths try to find a way to stop the deaths and overcome the restrictions of their powers. Violet takes the main focus, and is the stand out lead in terms of her bravery in facing up to the hurts of her past as well as the dangers of her present.

Each member of the founding families has a different ability and these are revealed throughout the narrative, exposing the reader to the burdens and flaws each character endures, wrapped into the larger narrative of how the beast can be stopped and uncovering how it came to have such power in the first place. 

With the underlying tone of the Gray’s nearby menace and a set of characters suffering complex emotional and physical barriers, this is a young adult read which will be well loved by fans of teens vs. beast adventure stories. It is pleasantly light on elements of romance, which is a welcome change, placing the forefront on the relationships between family and friends and the complexities which come with those instead. If more stories of Violet and crew follow this one they will be welcomed.