Another Indies Introduce selection, 'The Devouring Gray' is Christine Lynn Herman's first novel and she has created an atmospheric and addicting new series. Four Paths definitely has more in store for readers.
Violet Saunders is still reeling from the loss of her best friend and sister Rosie when their mother decides to move back to her home town of Four Paths. Set back in a remote area of upstate New York, the town is more a part of the surrounding forest than not, and has some strange customs. Clay bells hang over every doorway and people look at her funny, especially when they hear her name. Certain kids at school are treated with respect that's borderline worship.
Something is trapped in the forest of around Four Paths, or, rather, something is trapped in The Gray that exists on another side of existence. Four families were responsible for its capture and protecting the town with their special abilities. As a Saunders, it turns out that Violet is a member of one of those families. Things are starting to go wrong in Four Paths, however. The beast is claiming more victims and Violet is losing time. If she doesn't find her gift and master it, she may be next. This will require working with the other Founding Families and there is some bad blood and dark secrets to work through before that's possible.
I loved this book. I came into this expecting some cheap YA thrills and a well-plotted scare or two. Herman moves from Violet's perspective to scions of other founding families. Their characters are well-developed, and if I can't sympathize with all of them (looking at you Justin), they are integral pieces of the story. Isaac was great to discover. Why didn't he get more back-cover copy love!? As an aside - book is a lot queerer than it looks, yay!
This book kept up a fast pace and sketched out the history of the town without it feeling labored or that there was nothing further to learn. I want more books like 'The Devouring Gray'. This is getting a lot of comparisons to 'Stranger Things' and 'Raven Boys', so I may have to catch up on the latter.
Next: 'The Deck of Omens'