The Devouring Gray

I have to admit, I was sold by the comparison to Stranger Things, that cover and the fascinating concept. I’m a sucker for any small-town, claustrophobic vibes and I definitely got those and loads more.

Trigger/content warnings: grief, the death of family members (in the past), violence, assault, abandonment, biphobia and gore.

Synopsis:

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Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

My Thoughts:

This is such an atmospheric book, with the way the woods spookily dominate this small town and all the typical power plays and politics found within these tight-knit communities. It’s well-written and has such a compelling plot, that I found myself shivering despite the warm weather.

The plot is slow-burn for the majority of the book, before all hell breaks loose in the last quarter with numerous plot twists. I flew through this in one sitting, as it was so compelling for me.

I loved our main quartet of flawed, ragtag protectors that are messy, but endearing. I liked seeing them grow and seeing all the different friendship roots; both brand new and old ones healing. In particular, I really loved seeing how these four handled grief and trauma all very differently but still all very validly. It was so good to see all of these teens realise they are worth more than the past mistakes of the ancestors they are forced to live up to, which a really good dialogue about legacy and living up to unfair expectations.

There’s also nicely integrated casual diversity with LGBT+ and disability representation. I also really appreciated how the romances were so slow-burn, allowing them to realistically build up.

The writing in this books is stunning as well, as it’s just so lyrical and beautiful, which is the type of writing that I just devour.

In short, The Devouring Gray is a dark, hugely atmospheric crossover of sci-fi and mystery that is incredibly compelling.

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