REVIEW: THE DEVOURING GRAY BY CHRISTINE LYNN HERMAN

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Title: The Devouring Gray
Author: Christine Lynn Herman
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
My Rating: 1 star

 

ONE_CAT

 

DNF 75%. It took me a while to get into this one, and I’m not really sure why even I stuck around and lasted as long as I did. The writing was very plain and basic, and I felt that the descriptions of environments and characters were lacking overall. I don’t even have any quotes to use in this review because at 75% I hadn’t found anything worth using. There was something missing from the story that made it so I wasn’t very invested, and even though people were dying and horrible things were happening, I never felt scared or any sort of tension.

 

Pros:
– necromancy, animal companions/familiars, mysteries layered in years of history and traditions

Cons:
– lackluster writing, no clear goal, no structure to the plot
– characters and narrative I couldn’t bring myself to care about
– almost everything fell flat, no atmosphere whatsoever
-nothing new, did the same thing 100 other books did, but was worse at it

 

The different families have powers, sure that’s cool, but we aren’t even really told what the full extent of these powers are. Then there’s the constant threat of the Beast, there’s the drama between all the “friends”, and there’s each character dealing with traumatic events from their past. Which all sound like things that could get interesting, right? I don’t know how many different ways I can stress this, but nothing in this book made me actually invested and/or give a damn about anyone or anything that happened. The only character I found myself interested in at all was Orpheus the cat, and he wasn’t even that important in the main scheme of things.

 

I never found myself caring about the story or the characters, and I still had no idea what the actual point of the book was long past the halfway point. Sure, the characters are trying to figure out their place and deal with their grief, but nothing of substance happened for way too long. We weren’t given enough insight into the character’s lives or motivations to have any reason to root for their success or failure. This felt like a bad Riverdale fanfic, sans sex, that strongly reminded me of the book Sawkill Girls (which I highly disliked) – except this book was a bit less creative and contained lackluster writing. Speaking of sex, it definitely felt like the author was trying too hard to bring sexual diversity into the book- practically half the town is revealed to be bisexual at one point or another. Having representation in your books is great, but when the author is just mentioning it to mention it, and it’s not even relevant to the plot, then why bring up the characters sexual preferences at all?

 

There was no atmosphere whatsoever, which was super disappointing because some of the elements were there and could have been expanded upon, but they just weren’t. I was hoping for a Sabrina-esque haunted town feel, and it wasn’t there. Sure, there’s a bit of a mystery, but it was really hard to care if they solved it when I wasn’t even told what the end goal would be. I kept wondering what the point was and asking myself why I was even still reading when I cared so little about what was happening. There are lots of other books that tackle similar concepts in a much better way, and I’d advise you not to bother with this one and save the time to read something else.

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