Mar 27, 2019

ARC Review--The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

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.

I received this ARC in a fair trade from a fellow blogger. My review is completely honest and voluntary; I was in no way compensated for this review.

Christine Lynn Herman’s debut, The Devouring Gray had a lot of potential! I mean we have this creepy atmospheric setting alongside a quiet little town. There are dark secrets being kept hidden and a bizarre mystery slowly unfolds…and yet it was a very lackluster read for me. It kills me to say this as I had such high hopes for this one, but me and this book just did not mesh.

Violet recently lost her sister and now she and her mother are moving back to her mother’s hometown to help care for her aunt who is getting ill. Four Paths is a quiet little town where pretty much everyone knows everyone’s business. It’s a town with a mystery to it. The town already seems to know who Violet is and who her family is and that’s she’s important. She will soon have a hard time knowing who in this town that she can trust and who is untrustworthy.

She meets the town hero boy, Justin, first along with his friend Isaac. They seem to know what’s what and Violet is itching for answers after a few strange occurrences at her aunt’s manor house. Then she meets Harper who’s, according to her, life was ruined by Justin, resulting in the loss of her hand and basically being shunned by everyone in town. And it’s at that moment Violet writes off Justin and Isaac as she feels a friendship with Harper in the works. This part nagged at me, I mean she never even bothered to hear Justin’s take on things. And what really made me snap was shortly after her saying thanks but no thanks to Justin, she says this, “everyone deserved the chance to tell their own story when they were ready.” She basically takes the “there are two sides to every story” and ignores it. It just felt very hypocritical to me and that is one thing I can’t tolerate without getting ranty!

Another issue for me was the mysterious Gray itself. The Gray is a place where a monster is being kept prisoner by the important townspeople. And I feel like that’s all we know. There’s so much emphasis put on this place and I feel like I have no clue how this other world works, why it’s so parallel to the real world, how one gets there…there’s just too many questions for me concerning it and I feel like nothing was ever addressed, that everyone just knows what it’s all about. I don’t like feeling left in the dark when it comes to world-building but that’s where I felt like I was with this one.

Surprisingly there wasn’t much romance in this book whatsoever. There were a few maybe tense moments, but I wasn’t really sure if they were that or not. It’s kind of weird these days reading a book with little to no romance, I’m not even sure if we’re on the cusp of potential romance or not and that’s a strange feeling. Lol. It’s refreshing, but strange.

Pacing wise, this one wasn’t too bad, but at the same time I felt a little lost. Like we’re building up to something very big concerning the Gray, but because I don’t understand the Gray I couldn’t really see what the big picture was. World-building makes the world go round and when the world-building isn’t so strong, you feel like you’re not really moving anywhere.

I would say the mystery was the strongest aspect of the story. It’s not so much a whodunit kind of mystery and with some of the things that happened, I am still not sure who did it if there was something nefarious at hand. There were plenty of secrets though, ones that were pretty shocking once revealed and that was definitely one of the higher points to the story.

Sadly though, The Devouring Gray just wasn’t the read for me. It had plenty of potential but I felt like the world-building needed a little more depth to it in terms of explaining. I know we say “show, don’t tell” but sometimes when you only “show” snippets of a strange and mysterious world that is parallel to your own, you’re left with no clear picture of what it is and a little “telling” would’ve gone a long way towards comprehension. Needless to say this is one duology I won’t be continuing. But I will say that if this is still a book that captures your attention, do give it a read! This is only my opinion and as well all know, not everyone will love the same book.

Overall Rating 2/5 stars

The Devouring Gray releases April 2, 2019



  1. Aw shucks...I was definitely on board from the synopsis, but sometimes these things happen and they don't quite live up to our hopes. Thanks for sharing! Better luck next read.

  2. I would have liked to know more about the Gray as well.

    Sorry this one didn't work out Jess!


Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!