deliciously and hauntingly creepy
This bone-chilling YA fantasy follows four teens as they dig through the mysteries of their past and present to have any hope of changing the future. Four Paths is a town set apart, where (almost) no one leaves. There are four founding families who rule the town with particular powers, but this has been fractured when the Juniper Saunders left to have her two daughters, Rosie and Violet. Juniper and Violet are now returning to the town after the death of Violet’s father (when Violet was five) and Rosie (more recently). Juniper’s sister has dementia, and they will be spending time with and helping her. Violet knows nothing about Four Paths, so readers explore this intricate world through her new eyes.
The children of the other families, Justin, Harper, and Isaac each have their own challenges and distrust. However, as the book develops, they must come together to uncover the secrets hidden by the town and forge their own paths forward. The town is overlaid by the Gray, a place without color which contains a terrible Beast. The founding families are charged with protecting the town and its people from the Beast. However, things are changing and Violet is increasingly drawn into the Gray. With other people’s machinations interfering, the teens must decide who to trust and what their path forward should be.
What I loved: The book is hauntingly written and pulls the reader into the deliciously creepy scenery from the start. Adding on to that, the mysteries underlying the town’s history and the current plots will keep the reader turning pages quickly. The main characters are each fully developed and interesting in their own rights. The multiple perspectives develop the story beautifully, adding on several personal elements which complicate the plot and make it even more interesting. While romance is far in the background (and this works well), there is some good diversity in sexuality among the main characters which is always great to see. The teens are impressively comfortable in their own sexualities and questioning comes in terms of their family identities and powers which is always refreshing. There are a lot of feelings which lie under the surface, ready to develop in the second book.
What left me wanting more: I only wish I had the second book of this duology already in hand. While the main plotline of this book is wrapped up in this story, there are many which are waiting for the next book. I would love to get more information about the history of the town, and I am hopeful that this will come in what is sure to be a fascinating second installment.
Final thoughts: Overall, THE DEVOURING GRAY is a hauntingly captivating YA fantasy that pulls the reader into a creepy new world shrouded in mystery. Highly recommend for fans of The Raven Cycle series and other dark fantasy novels. This is a beautifully written story, and the second book cannot come soon enough!