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The Devouring Gray #1

The Devouring Gray

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For fans of Stranger Things, Riverdale and The Raven Cycle. Can a group of teenagers hold back the otherworldly horror that stalks the woods?On the edge of town, a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening... Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she's descended from one of the town s founders doesn't help much, either-her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid. When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

400 pages, Paperback

First published April 2, 2019

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C.L. Herman

11 books818 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,136 reviews
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
April 26, 2019
Review to come! (Listen I know I say this a lot but I have two weeks left in the semester, I promise I'm working on updating all my reviews XD)
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,168 reviews98.2k followers
March 26, 2019

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Four Paths had its charms, if you could ignore the fact that it was also a monster prison she apparently had some ancestral obligation to deal with.”

This is a really hard review for me to write, because this book had some of my favorite things of all time; lyrical and beautiful writing that I could nonstop highlight, an atmosphere setting that gives me goosebumps even just thinking about, a mystery all surrounding what hides in the dark depths of the forest, and a very diverse cast of characters. Like, damn. But if this isn’t the first review of The Devouring Gray you’ve read, yes, all the Riverdale and Stranger Things comparisons are all valid. I kind of think The Raven Cycle one is a bit of stretch, but I can kind of see it. But this debut novel really impressed me, and I can’t wait to see what the author does next.

But The Devouring Gray follows four teens in upstate New York, all living in a little secluded town called Four Paths. And in this mysterious forest town, four families are held to a higher standard, because their descendants were the reason the town is protected from the Beast who hunts them. And all the descendants are able to harness the powers that should be passed down through their bloodline, but only if they survive a ritual pertaining to their ancestor. But now the town is under attack, and all hope is with four teens who are the descendants that are needed for survival, yet they might not be ready to provide protection for themselves, or anyone else, just yet.

“in eighteen forty-seven, a group of settlers seeking a new life in upstate New York decided to end their pilgrimage here. On this day, we celebrate the leaders of that group—Thomas Carlisle, Lydia Saunders, Richard Sullivan, and Hetty Hawthorne.”

Harper Carlisle - Missing one arm from the elbow down after her ritual to harness her powers went wrong, and holding a grudge over someone who used to be her best friend but wanted nothing to do with her after her accident. Also, her father is a predominant figure in the safety of the town. Also, also, a warrior babe who can wield many weapons.

Violet Saunders - Bisexual, just moving to Four Paths after the death of her sister and trying to learn to live with an astronomical amount of grief, while also learning that she has a hidden bloodline she never knew about. Also, piano playing goddess.

Isaac Sullivan - Bisexual, living on his own after the rest of his family died in an accident. He is also Justin’s best friend, a broody reader babe, and he has the best and most scary power of them all. Also, he was easily my favorite character.

Justin Hawthorne - The popular boy, who has the most powerful family in town, even though he feels like he must always do what his mother (also the sheriff of the town) wants, even though he is keeping a very big secret from her. Side note, I would die for his sister, May, my tarot card reading baby.

“Powers or not, he was still a Hawthorne. He would find a way to keep Four Paths safe.”

Yet, even though these are the four main characters, we have so many side characters, too! And this, in addition to the fact that the story jumps points of view a lot, I just feel like I never truly cared about any of the characters, even though I didn’t have a problem with any of them. I mean, it really is a strange feeling, because I can mentally break down that these are the four main characters, but while reading the chapter switching just makes me feel like I’m reading ASOIAF or something else that feels like we are given so many different points of view. I feel like this was the biggest factor that kept me from loving this book; I never truly got to know any of these characters because of the way the story jumps around.

Also, if I’m being honest the Beast and the Gray felt too much like Stranger Things to me, but also with not enough explanation. I obviously am here for a good mystery, but I think seeing more of this parallel world, the mysterious creature and its powers, would have really benefited the story by filling in some much-needed gaps and made the situation feel scarier and more high-risk. Like, I was honestly convinced that some type of humans or other beings were going to reside in this world! Or we were going to fully understand the powers and what this thing was capable and not capable of! I don’t know, the concept is just so amazing, but I felt really let down by the biggest risk factor of the story.

But I still loved watching all these teens learn how to find their powers and learn how to use their powers. I loved seeing them grow, both apart and together. I loved seeing all the different friendship roots; both brand new and old ones healing. I loved seeing how these four handled grief and trauma all very differently but still all very validly. And I loved to see all of these teens realize they are worth a hell of a lot more than the past mistakes of the ancestors they are forced to live up to.

“Something inside Violet had cracked the day Rosie died. There was an abscess in her chest, a gaping hole in the back of her skull. A place for evil things to slip right in.”

Overall, I really loved the ownvoices queer rep, and the atmosphere and setting were truly nothing short of amazing. I do want to mention that the main relationships in this are not f/f, but there are lots of hints at side f/f relationships! Also, even though I could never truly connect with the story, I still think there is so much good here. And I think many readers will still really enjoy this one upon release. But that epilogue ending made me audibly gasp that made my cat give me angry eyes for waking her! Is this the start of a series? Because I am totally down with reading whatever Christine Lynn Herman comes up with next, but especially with this setting as a backdrop.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for loss of a loved one, a lot of talk of death, murder, grief and trauma depictions, violence, abandonment, talk of rituals and self-sacrifice, and assault.
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
April 13, 2019
This was hurt it would never understand. This was hurt made from love. And she immersed herself in grief, embraced it, the parts of her that had been so lost and broken, so long her enemy, were now her savior.

I devoured this book in one sitting and it has devoured me.


I honestly heard a couple good things surrounding this book; there wasn't much hype to it— there still isn't, too some extent. But what I'm going to tell you is: BELIEVE THAT HYPE. IT'S TRUE AND REAL t h a n k g o d.

I first heard this book pitched as "the raven boys meets stranger things."

WTF. How can two godsblessed and just perfect aspects of my favorite series be a thing??

Well let me tell you.
It fucking can.

Granted, nothing can come close to, The Raven Boys, for me but this book comes as a close runner up in third place. In second place is Gray Wolf Island (i fucking love this book so much go read it if you love the TRC like I do.)

This book does share similar aspects of TRC and ST but I think it's equally distinctive and unique— standing overtly strong on its own. I don't think I've read anything like it in any book before so that was amazingly refreshing.

The characters were the strongest aspect of the book. And most important. I fucking love Violet. Granted my lease favorite character was Justin (annoying) but he grew on me later. The writing in of itself wasn't really anything special but I think its ordinariness elevated the story itself into something better and spectacular.

I don't think the blurb does a good job explaining what the story is about but I think that's a good thing. I expected something different and got something better instead. I want the sequel. Now. Honestly I just really love books with little sparks of magic in a place of our world. It's grounding and realistic. Hidden. A fucking gem.

Ultimately, this was a story about grief and loss, taking control of your own life and destiny, the heavy ties and core of motherhood, and broken fractured friendships.

Another favorite of mine. And also can we just agree that the UK cover is waayy better than the US cover?

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The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys meets Stranger Things" ......

this almost sounds to good to be true. Anxiously waiting for 2019.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,791 followers
November 4, 2022
**3.5-stars rounded up**

One day Sawkill Girls met a lovely, lesser known book named Strange Grace. They quickly fell in love and had a baby. That baby is The Devouring Gray.


Welcome to Four Paths, New York.

Riddled with grief after the loss of her sister, Violet Saunders is forced to move to Four Paths with her Mom. Admittedly, they need a fresh start, but Violet's not crazy about it.

Violet's mom, Juniper, has a strong connection to the town. In fact, she is a member of one of the founding families and the founders are treated like royalty there; quite literally revered as deities.

You may wonder why that is?

Basically, it is because the founding families were the ones to capture the monster, trap it in an area known as the Gray and to this day, continue to protect the townsfolk from it.

There are a lot of details that go into this story. The history of the town, the history of the founding families, the rituals, the powers, the secrets, the betrayals.

It's a lot.

The issues begin when the monster appears not to be as dormant as it once was, mangled bodies start popping up everywhere and teens, each a part of one of the four founding families, come together to fight back.

There's a lot of drama, both family and friendship, secrets and investigations, love gone awry, all the stuff. It's in here.

At times, I felt like I should have been taking notes, which decreased my ability to relax into the story a bit.

Additionally, there were a lot of rapid perspective shifts that tended to knock me out of it as well. While the content was quite interesting, the flow seemed a little off.

It was definitely dark and atmospheric, which I love.

Additionally, the characters and history of the town were compelling.

I loved the ending. It gave me chills and I will definitely read the next book in the duology.

I even feel that I could reread this one. It may be easier the second time round as I would have a better handle on what is going on.

All of this being said, however, for a debut, this is impressive and I hope a lot of readers pick it up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to hearing what other readers think of this one.

Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,596 followers
May 23, 2020

Mark my word. This will be the fantasy breakthrough of 2019! This is the next Harry Potter. When I grow old, I talk to my grandkids about this book. I'll ask them if they've ever read The Devouring Gray and when the answer of course they have. Who hasn't, I'll show them my rare first edition, ARC. They will be speechless.

This book has ruined me for any other fantasy novels. It was so well put together.

The book follows Violet, Harper, Justin and Issac who all live in the mysterious town of Four Paths. But Four Paths isn't any old town. It harbors a deep, dark secret. Within the town lies a great evil known as the Gray which holds a great beast.

I have to admit that when I read the synopsis I assumed that the Gray would be a discount Upside Down (from Stranger Things). It was and it wasn't. It definitely had its differences and its similarities. I honestly wish that it had been focused on a little more in the book. Even though the title is The Devouring Gray, the Gray didn't get much action which was a bit disappointing. As a long time sci-fi fan, I was ready to sink my teeth into the weird science of a magical realm. While I got enough to leave me semi-satisfied, I left the book wanting more. Hopefully, I'll get that in book two!

For me, reading a book is like making a new friend. And just like making a new friend, you have to spend time with them, get to know them before you truly get comfortable with them. It's that way with book characters for me. It took me a little bit to connect with Violet's character because I was worried that she would just be a "depressed new girl" cliche. Fortunately, she wasn't. Overall, even though she was a bit bland at times, I enjoyed Violet's character.

To be completely honest, I really did not like Justin at first. He was whiny and a bit stuck up. Because of this, I was constantly rolling my eyes every time his POV rolled around. Towards the end I was finally able to forgive him for his annoying-ness.

Harper failed her ritual and hates Justin (I don't blame her.). I was mainly frustrated because it took forever for me to learn why. I hate when books allude to things but don't actually straight up say them. I know that it's a way to keep a reader reading but for me it just annoys. I did enjoy reading Violet and Harper's friendship. It was very heartwarming to see two girls be friends in the midst of chaos. I wish I could do that.

Oh my god. I hate that b*tch.

Everything else:
Of all the books I've read (and I have read a lot), only a few do mystery well. Of course, that opinion is obviously subjective for each book. Different books need different styles. The Devouring Gray had a very intersting style of mystery. With a very slow build up for the first 75% but then the last chunk was just plot twist after plot twist. I felt like I was getting slapped in the face. I loved it.

I really enjoyed the Beast as a villian. The book didn't delve into what the Beast is or where he came from but I still was fascinated. I'm not sure if it was intended but the beast almost reminded me of my own insecurity. The voice that whispers lies while I'm trying to rest or socialize.

All in all, I really great book. I really enjoyed it. I can't wait for book two.

Bottom Line:
4.5 Stars
Age Recommendation: 14+
Cover: 3/5 ~ Plot 4/5 ~ Characters: 4/5
Buddy read with megs_bookrack!

Many thanks to Disney for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
March 13, 2019
Another one that I think would be more of a 3.5 than just a 3. I really enjoyed this! I didn't know what to expect going in, but this read exactly like a season of the Vampire Diaries or Riverdale and I am not mad about it. Also, I just can't help but to love a book with a whimsical setting and (realistic !!) bi rep. Definitely glad that I branched out of my contemporary comfort zone to give this creepy fantastical book a try.
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
August 9, 2020
TW: some body horror; possession; lots of death (death of a parent, sibling, etc)

This is the story of the teenage members of the founding families in a small town where the founding families have powers to keep a monster in the forest in line.

This was just the right combination of friendship, history, dark powers, and spookiness. Also nearly every main character is a canon bisexual trying their best.

It weaves together themes of grief and loss, power, loyalty, family ties, and growing up. I highly enjoyed this and will be continuing with the series.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,439 reviews78.1k followers
February 14, 2019
3.75 STARS

"For the first time in his life, there would be a real member of every founding family in Four Paths. He would be a part of that. He would have a chance to change things, to help. Justin believed this. He had to. The Deck of Omens had told him so, and unlike the Hawthornes who used it, the Deck of Omens couldn't lie."

My first book of 2019 that's giving me quite the challenge in reviewing it! Hooray! In all seriousness, I've been sitting here for days wondering just how to talk about this book, and not even because of spoilers or ruining the plot. Our most anticipated reads can be difficult to wrangle; sometimes trying to rein in our thoughts isn't as simple as "I liked this book" or "I did not like this book." I knew this book sounded like everything I could ever desire on paper, but I haven't read The Raven Boys series yet, and upon finishing this I don't really know that a comparison to Stranger Things is accurate, as the feel here is so different. While reading this one, I kept getting hardcore Sawkill Girls vibes, and if you enjoyed that novel as much as I did, I think you'll enjoy The Devouring Gray as well.

There are many POVs shared throughout TDG, and many more side plots as well, but I never felt it was confusing or difficult to follow. We have Violet, who has moved to Four Paths with her mother Juniper, and is part of one of the four founding families, although she has no clue what that means. Justin has recently failed his ritual and is masquerading around town to hide the fact that he has inherited no powers. His mother is the sheriff of the town and his sister has inherited powers, making him the "weak link" in this founding family. Harper is a member of founding family #3, and former best friend of Justin's until an accident during her ritual left her stranded in the gray for 4 days and missing her left arm from the elbow down. Isaac Sullivan is the only remaining member of founding family #4 in the town of Four Paths, and arguably the most fascinating and appealing character in the story (although Harper is a close second for me). We get to see pieces of the story, past and present, from each of these characters, which makes for a well-rounded view of the strange happenings in their tiny town.

Here's the deal; I actually struggled for the first 100 pages due to the massive info-dumping amongst the characters and lack of action of any kind. While I wholly respect the world building and characterization that went into the intro, I think it could have used a few flashbacks or suspenseful inserts to keep the reader engaged and stave off the stale feeling inserted. However, once things get going, it's impossible to put the book down. I found myself desperate to find out what was going on, and while my focus was such that I expected the giant lead up to be to the night of the equinox, I was pleased to find out that it was a minor portion and a greater emphasis was placed on things happening beyond that.

All said, this was a solid, well written debut, and while at times it felt like a giant prologue to the real start of the series, I'm appreciative of the time and effort put into making this story feel so developed and intriguing. The ending was superb; I'm dying to know what happens now that all the pieces are in play. And that's all I'm gonna say about that. ;)

*Thank you Disney Hyperion for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
213 reviews3,654 followers
February 9, 2020
4.5 Stars- I still love this one just as much as the first time I read it! The last chapter gave me chills and I am so excited to be able to read Deck of Omens soon!

I already want to read The Devouring Gray again<3 The Riverdale comp is completely accurate but it also reminds me of my favorite animated series of all time, Over the Garden Wall! I can't wait to have a finished copy in my hands please and thank you.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,757 followers
October 5, 2019
I was a bit confused at the beginning because you are thrown into the middle of things without much explanation. But as the story went on, I thought the reveal of information was well paced. The end had a few surprises and left me invested and wanting more! I love these characters, how they interact, and the small town lore. Their powers are unique. Would recommend to readers who enjoy a mix of real world and paranormal.

Audiobook review: 2 stars. The best thing this audiobook does is that the narrator sings the song and a couple of parts mix other voices in for ensemble singing. Her voicing for male characters was not great, they either sounded childish, or gruff and cold. My biggest annoyance was that there was no pause between section breaks. She just kept reading and I wouldn't realize that we'd switched points of view. I don't regret listening to this one, but I wouldn't recommend it to casual audiobook listeners.

tw: death, monsters, cults, possession, reanimated corpses.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,462 reviews9,616 followers
October 26, 2019
Look at this beautiful damn pink sprayed edge copy!! I love freaking pink and needless to say, I didn’t like the book and it’s going in the trade in pile!! I give up!!

And for some reason, I thought this was going to be a horror story!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Heather.
387 reviews16.8k followers
May 16, 2019
Buddy Read this with Aimee from @aimeereads & Trina from @betweenchapters

Really enjoyed this eerie, magical book. If your a fan of Riverdale, Vampire Diaries or Stranger Things this book is right up your alley.
Also The CW needs to make this into a show, STAT.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
Want to read
August 17, 2019
I just found out that I have an ARC of this book, might read it soon
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
February 27, 2021
“Stay out of the woods, little bone...I can see those branches reaching for you.”

Damn! This was great 😊
I ‘devoured’ this!! Pahahaha!!!

In all seriousness though this was an immersive tale with a great collection of characters and interesting magic system.

The town of Four Paths was discovered by 4 founding families. The Hawthorne’s, Carlisle’s, Sullivan’s and Saunder’s.

The Hawthorne’s have run the town for years, Justin and May’s mother Augusta is the town Sherrif and in charge of keeping the town safe. Because this is no ordinary town - in the woods lives a terrible beast, trapped by the original founders. It is the job of their predecessors to keep the beast in ‘the Gray’ and keep the town protected.

Isaac is the only remaining Sullivan, Harper has a long standing hurt with Justin and his family and Violet has just arrived in Four Paths following a family tragedy and knows nothing of her families magical heritage.

This book had just the right combination of magic and high school dramatics. I got real Riverdale and Raven Boys vibes so if you like either of those then I recommend this one!

Can’t wait for Deck of Omens next 💜

“Welcome to Four Paths...Nobody would ever stay here if they had a choice.”
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
336 reviews266 followers
February 13, 2020
2/12/2020 3 stars. I was excited in the beginning but my excitement soon fizzled out to only mild intrigue.

I was hoping for a character-driven book. Especially with this one being compared to or for fans of The Raven Boys and Stranger Things......

There were a lot of characters and the author did well smoothly transitioning between them in 3rd person mulitiple. But I didn’t find the magic blossoming here between the characters in a way like with The Raven Boys where basically I could care less for plot because I’m all in for the characters....(you vibin this?)

I did appreciate the writing style. It was beautiful without being whimsical and overly descriptive. And I enjoyed that the plot was a nice steady pace...maybe it jumps in a bit soon for setting up believability (as far as magical realism goes). I was happy to find that it’s in 3rd person multiple (!). And the plot is not romance driven.

All while reading I kept feeling....detached. And I kept getting this feeling that The Devouring Grey would make a better movie than a book.

Yup. I said that. I felt almost as if the book was written as a movie script. Or like a reverse adaptation.....

I don’t see myself reading the second installment of this duology.

Also all the “that white girl” this, and ”the black woman”, and ”those two white boys” that, kind of put me off? And it became repetitive.

I don’t know if maybe the author doesn’t feel comfortable describing a character by “stereotypical features” as pertaining to race, I guess that makes sense and should be approached senseitively but I’ve never encountered this in such a jarring way....I prefer characters to just be described instead of characterized by race.

Like “those two white boys” (or Asian or Black boys) over there, in the story....can I get some more detail? Like maybe two rumpled looking boys on skateboards, one pale and one tanned with a Yankees cap on backwards....or we just going nondescript white/black/asian/Indian person over there....or? 👀

$1.99 on Kindle US (9/3/2019) !!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
December 19, 2021
First Read: April 2019, Rating: 4/5 stars
Second Read: November 2021, Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is the first instalment in The Devouring Grey series.

This book is pitched as The Raven Boys meets Stranger Things and they weren't lying!

After the death of her sister Rose, Violet Saunders and her mother move back to the Saunders family home, in rural New York. Four Paths is ensconced by woods and seeped in history but small town life proves to be far more hectic than Violet ever anticipated, when she becomes the unknowing catalyst for a resurgence of the malevolent Grey.

The Grey is bent on breaking its constraints and Violet must work with the other founding families to keep the town, and the wider world, safe from what creeps through the woods when no one is watching...

Whilst Violet formed much of the focus for this novel, I also loved learning about the disparate lives of the other heirs to the four founding families. Violet's family dynamics were nuanced but more so, and also of more interest to me, was that of the others. The interplay between the four was endlessly compelling and I was never sure in which direction their individual relationships would take. All were unique in character and given their own distinct voice, which both distinguished them and opened up previously unknown facets about this mysterious, and almost forgotten, town.

Each founding family displayed abilities unique to their own kin, and learning of how each was manifested through secret rituals and how all played a distinct part in the protection of the town was of continual fascination. History, legend, and lore was rich and all were interwoven with these abilities until the reader is rendered unable to do anything but to follow along with the unfurling events and believe in the protective force of the founders, with as blind a faith as the other townsfolk.

I was especially intrigued by the multiple Gothic elements that haunted the entire length of this novel - creepy houses, foreboding woods, buried secrets, and the ever-presence of the unknown. It's like Herman created this book with many of my bookish buzzwords in mind!

Despite the undeniable similarities to both The Raven Boys and Stranger Things, this book is also entirely its own wonderful creation. I'm looking forward to seeing where else this twisted tale will take us, in the future instalments.
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
374 reviews108 followers
May 12, 2020
“I think our ancestors went looking for a monster. And I don’t think they realized what the cost would be once they found it.”

Wow, I had my doubts about this book because of all the mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the small town vibe and the chilling, atmospheric writing. I wish this book would have been a bit longer, I felt as though it was rushed and I could have used more information. I thought this was a fast paced read, because I had to know what was happening next! I think the different POV was great, and added so much more to the story. I am so relieved that this book stayed more focused on Four Paths and the Gray than it did the romance.

“People could hurt each other without being monsters. And they could love each other without being saints.”

I wish the characters had been a little more developed, but by the end of the story I actually cared what happened to them. I liked the friendship between them all, and how they realized they had to have each other’s backs and not just be “the founder’s kids”. I was definitely shocked by everything that happened in the end and it left me wanting more! I can’t wait for book two and to dive right back into Four Paths.
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,119 followers
October 2, 2020
“They weren’t the kings and queens of Four Paths High School - they were its gods.”

In retrospect, maybe that quote makes this book sound like some dramatic trope-y high school drama, but it is not. I loved this so so so much. It's delightfully gothic and darkly atmospheric; a small town in the woods haunted by a beast made of nightmares. It also lives up to its comp titles of Stranger Things and slightly lesser so, The Raven Boys - just like in Stranger Things, The Devouring Gray has a beast from a parallel world (known as the Gray) that causes trouble. And whilst it is a lot darker than The Raven Boys, it has similar group dynamics and forest settings. (I would also say it's a bit like Claire Legrand's Sawkill Girls and Laure Eve's The Graces.)

In addition to the truly awesome setting, the characters were very interesting and thought-out. Violet and Isaac were my favourites (and the development of their friendship), but Harper and Justin were really great too. I loved how different their interactions were, and how their friendships with one person differed to another.

> Violet Saunders: the "new girl" in town, but whose family is originally from Four Paths. Is dealing with a lot of grief due to events that happen before the book. Slightly dramatically moody (which I love); probably one of those "edgy kids". Very musical. Bisexual.

> Justin Hawthorne: that boy who seems to have everything: the looks, the family, the life and the influence. But a lot of things about him are just a veneer to hide a secret. Has a little sister called May.

> Harper Carlisle: Used to be friends/in love with with Justin, but after certain events he and his family shut her out. Can use a sword (!), and has a lot of pent-up aggression over the way she was treated because of a certain event (and rightfully so, I think). Has a residual limb; she is missing her left hand & part of her lower arm. (Might also be bisexual but I can't recall definitely.)

> Isaac Sullivan: gives of a cold front, but definitely has a soft heart under it all. Potentially one of the most dangerous characters, because of his powers. His family really sucks and treated him badly - and honestly I just want to protect him. He also loves books and is essentially a modern, tortured, broody Byronic hero. Also bisexual.

As you've noticed, there is a lot of diversity in this book! Which is AMAZING. And I really admire how Harper is missing a limb but it did not affect her in any way - also, I haven't really seen much in the way of characters who are missing limbs much in literature and I'm really grateful to see it here.

This book is partly what I wished Sawkill Girls could've been, actually. It has many of the same features: queer diversity, group dynamics, a beast that preys on a small, isolated village and a cult, but I just enjoyed The Devouring Gray so much more.

For an almost-400 page book, I sped through this quickly. I loved this so much. It has so many things that I just love (bisexual characters, forests, gothic-ness), and I'm so glad that a book I've been excited for for months lived up to my hype! I just know that Christine Lynn Herman is going to become one of my new favourite authors in future (I love her writing style & characterisation) - so I can't wait for book two, and I can't wait to see what she's going to do after that.

EDIT: ALSO I CANT BELIEVE I FORGOT THIS but there’s a cat in the book called ORPHEUS which is the coolest name given to a cat ever

Also, this UK cover? Incredible. True artistry. Yes it's also so Riverdale (there's even a diner on the back) but like . . . this is so much better than whatever that show is currently trying to be

> 4 stars/4.2 stars

Thank you so much to Titan Books for a copy in exchange for an honest review! <3
June 10, 2019
Violet Sanders is the new kid in town. Her father had passed years before, and now her sister Rosie has died in a terrible accident, so it's just her and her mom. But Violet doesn't let the pain in her life take the best of her, and she manages to start a new life in the Four Paths, her mother's hometown. But very soon, she will realize that her family's past is linked with horrible mysteries concerning the apparently peaceful town, and the gloomy woods that surround it.

I was skeptical when I picked up this book, because we must admit it has been over-hyped. But I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it actually is! The main idea itself is very intriguing, and the way it's executed is actually satisfying! I loved the mysteries and the way they are revealed, and the writing style is simple and unassuming, but not dry. While I was reading it though, I thought it felt more like a middle-grade book which got targeted PG-13 because of some disfigured corpses: sometimes it was little too naive, and some events and behaviors felt a little forced and unbelievable, but overall it was a nice carefree read, exactly what I look for in fantasy ya! 🙃🙃

Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books485 followers
Shelved as 'nah-bro'
November 22, 2021
Update: this author seems to be mixed up in the problems surrounding other, predominately white authors who bullied & harassed BIPOC authors so I will no longer be supporting them nor their works. It's easy to not be problematic . . . and yet they weren't and that disgusts and saddens me beyond words. Just be a fkn nice person it's not that complicated.



review below written before the above knowledge was revealed

"Being invisible when you used to be seen . . . it's like being dead, but no one mourns you."


buddy read with my epic bro Mohamed!

All right, whoever said this is like The Raven Boys meets Stranger Things clearly doesn't know much about those two separate fandoms. Sure, there's a bit of a ST vibe with the Gray, but this is basically like a paranormal version of Riverdale. Which don't run away because of that premise; Riverdale is a hot mess, but it's an addictive mess . . . much like this book.

Now, an odd thing I noticed with annoyingly prolific use in the first half of the book was there were so many uses of the words "white" and "Black" (yes it was capitalized) to describe a character's ethnicity!


"a white woman walked in"
"those two white boys"
"a Black woman followed after"
"a big white woman"


CAN YOU PLEASE NOT DO THIS?!? It was so disjointed and awkward and honestly very cringey, okay. Like, there really wasn't much diversity it seemed beyond black or white, and even the descriptions of such were just . . . awful. It seemed like the author didn't even try to be creative and subtle with this, just like "hey here's a bunch of white people who are white and everyone knows them as white people cause they're white . . . and, oh yeah, I guess there's a Black person too." CAN YOU PLEASE NOT DO THIS?!?!?!??

*takes deep breath*

Okay but then why did I still rate this 4 stars if the first half was such a weird trainwreck?? Because the odd, awkward descriptions aside . . . this ultimately was a pretty interesting story. All the characters eventually fell together in arcs that made sense, the drama was overdone but not too much, and I ended up invested in the plot. So yeah this was a mess, but it was an enjoyable mess that has me itching for the sequel.


'His lips parted slightly, his eyes swimming with something that was no longer fury, yet was somehow far more frightening.'

Also I ship something that probably won't happen cause that's my jam but *shrugs* whatever I'm still here to see if it happens or not ✌️

Teeny tiny update: I'm not educated enough nor do I belong to those who have the right to determine whether or not someone's ethnicity is capitalized aka the Black/black thing. It looks awkward to my brain, but that's just me and my weird view of grammatical stuff. (Thanks, English language.) However, the constant statement of people's racial descriptions written like a journalistic article or legal report was still annoying to read.
Profile Image for clem.
520 reviews372 followers
April 9, 2019
“In eighteen forty-seven, a group of settlers seeking a new life in upstate New York decided to end their pilgrimage here. On this day, we celebrate the leaders of that group—Thomas Carlisle, Lydia Saunders, Richard Sullivan, and Hetty Hawthorne.”


[the full review is up on my blog ]

And from that pilgrimage was born Four Paths, a small town hidden in the woods with a beast at its core. The descendants of the four leaders of the group carry the burden of protecting their small town from the beast, no matter what the cost is. But a century has passed, and the Saunders are almost instinct, their last descendants, come back into town, unaware of their destiny. As the 4 new generations find their way back together, the start to question their role in this curse, which might but their entire town at risk…

VIOLET SAUNDERS’S this bisexual musician who’s grieving the recent death of her older sister. She’s alone in the world and looking for a new direction and maybe her newfound ancestors might show her the way.

ISAAC SULLIVAN’S the angry punk who likes to read dystopias. He’s rude, pessimistic, angry and in love with his straight best friend. His vanished out of town, leaving him on his own in the empty city-hall.

HARPER CARLISLE’S this brave, cunning, heartbroken girl, she’s angry at the world and looking for her revenge against the boy she loved, who dropped her when she lost her forearm.

JUSTIN HAWTHORNE’S the jock, the golden boy. Or so everyone thinks. Suffering from the hero syndrome, Justin wants to save everyone, but he might be the weakest in this book…

“Being invisible when you used to be seen...it's like being dead, but no one mourns you.”

In overall, I thought the Devouring Gray made an entertaining story, the plot is quick, and you probably will read it in 2 or 3 sittings. However, that quickness came with its downsides, and while it might convince some, it didn’t convince me.

I found the characters to be charming and entertaining, however, I noticed a tendency to focus too heavily on some specific character traits which, accentuated too much, have turned some of the characters into caricatures of themselves… I wish we could have seen more sides to them, but we haven’t yet. I hope we will in the second book.

The writing style was good. I liked how efficient it was, and yet there was a distinct atmosphere created. I found that side of the story remarkable.

[the full review is up on my blog ]

Rating: 3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,230 reviews2,212 followers
April 14, 2019

I need to stop falling into booktube YA hype - this hooked sounded great in theory but the characters were cookie cutter, the writing mediocre and at points just odd, and there was nothing making me want to continue reading
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews590 followers
October 14, 2018
Small town secrets and power struggles collide when the monster lurking in the shadows is unleashed and four supernaturally powerful families must set aside their differences to protect themselves and those who depend on them. But will the animosities, lies and egos make the truth impossible to see? Can the youngest generation of “founding Families” put aside the past to protect their future? Four Paths, New York has held its people and its secrets for too long, but exposing them now, with the monster growing stronger may be too little, too late.

THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman is devilishly dark, riddled with secrets and layered in bone-chilling fear as friends become enemies and those you least expect to help are the greatest allies.

Christine Lynn Herman has given this tale a depth of atmosphere that hangs over each page in a veil of mystery. Her characters are revealed to have layer upon layer of facets, some good, some dark and spine tingling.

A great read that overflows with dark fantasy presented eerily perfect!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Disney-Hyperion!

Publisher: Disney Hyperion (April 2, 2019)
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy Thriller
Print Length: 368 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Katie Gallagher.
Author 5 books216 followers
August 1, 2019
For this review and others, check out my blog!

The Devouring Gray was on my top ten TBR list for 2019, as I’m sure it was for many others. The marketing campaign for this book was pretty intense, and I was fully on the bandwagon. A small town setting with a Stranger Things comp? Sign me up, please.

Can you hear the “but” coming? I’m going to cut to the chase: The Devouring Gray was really disappointing to me. As has been the case with some other YA books I’ve read lately, this book could have done with a lot more page-turning plot and a lot less navel-gazing. Yes, I know that YA by its nature tends toward the introspective, but this book has… not much going on? I showed up for the malevolent presence lurking in the forest, but there’s actually not much forest action. The main character, Violet, is a Mary Sue to the core, and the characters flitting around her are boring. There is so much backstory that it feels like we are constantly playing catch up. Seeding of foreshadowed information and pacing were a further problem in this book, as well as awkward, confusing phrasing.

“Justin didn’t understand how it was possible to be simultaneously proud of May, relieved she’d known what to say, and jealous that he hadn’t. But he was.”

People don’t think it be it like it is, but it do.

So The Devouring Gray is an unfortunate pass for me, and I will not be picking up the second in the series when it releases. However, if you are looking for a YA read that really pulls the creepy forest setting off, I urge you to check out Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé.
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