The Deck of Omens

I absolutely loved The Devouring Gray last year, so of course I had to preorder the sequel. To top it off, the amazing team at Titan sent me an eARC, so I got to read this perfectly unsettling sequel early!

This post may contain spoilers for The Devouring Gray so if you haven’t read it yet, please go and read it before returning to this post!

Synopsis:

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Trigger warnings: grief, trauma, gore, body horror, brief physical abuse, grief, death of family members, violence

The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home, in the sequel to hit fantasy The Devouring Gray. With the Beast subdued, the town of Four Paths discovers a new threat: a corruption seeping is from the Gray, poisoning the roots of the town and its people. Only May Hawthorne realizes the danger, forced to watch as her visions become reality. Meanwhile, the town is riven by change: Harper Carlisle is learning to control her newfound powers, and how to forgive after devastating betrayals; Isaac Sullivan’s older brother, Gabriel, has returned after years away; Violet Saunders is finding her place and Justin and May’s father has finally come home. With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, and the Founder Families all returning to their roots, the time has finally come to settle ancient grudges, to cure the corruption and stop the Beast once and for all. But more than one kind of beast preys on Four Paths…

My Thoughts:

From the first sentence in this dark and unsettling book, you’re plunged straight back into the shadowy world of Four Paths and the wicked imagination of Herman. This exceeded my already astronomical expectations and delivered a fitting sequel & end to this atmospheric, character-driven duology.

I loved how Herman built on small crumbs of information in the first book to revel shocking truths, twists and turns that showed off her world-building and mythology. The complex history meticulously established in the first book comes to life, but even this foundation has cracks in it, which Herman exploits to brilliant effect with some genuinely shocking twists. I loved how seemingly insignificant acts culminated in revealing darker truths and how the plot upends everything you thought you knew about the Beast and the town in a really interesting and captivating way. The comparison to Stranger Things is still upheld here, with the cinematic feel of the action and the way the plot evolved to reflect certain aspects of the town through the actions of the Gray.

At the centre of the fast-paced plot are our five central characters, all of whom grow and evolve over the course of the duology. Herman explores the themes of trauma and inherited guilt through them, as they learn to cope with the scars inflicted on them through the awful events of the books. They’re these broken figures trying to survive in a harsh, unforgiving world and it’s heartbreakingly empathetic to join them on their journey. At the same time, they’re also just teenagers, growing up and getting through high school and they feel so realistic in terms of dialogue and character arcs.

Like our central cast of characters, you feel enmeshed in the claustrophobic atmosphere of this town filled to the brim with secrets and betrayals, unable to escape the world expertly weaved by Herman until the bitter end.

7 thoughts on “The Deck of Omens

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