by Simon Holt
pub: June 2009/Little Brown
Teen Fiction/Horror/Urban Fantasy
When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims. Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour own her fears before they devour her?
I wasn't sure what to expect. The cover grabbed my attention. The summary sounded interesting so I gave it a whirl.
Glad I did!
The Devouring is a terrific horror novel without being over-the-top gross. The writing is great so when the gore is described, it's graphic. But I don't like to be super grossed out and while I went "Ew!" a few times, I was happy to "devour" this novel! (Sorry, couldn't help it. Can I ever?)
Here's the skinny. Reggie is a fourteen-year-old girl living in Podunk Town Nowhere. Reggie, her eight-year-old brother, Henry, and their dad trying are to deal with the recent loss of their mom/wife who just up and left. Reggie has taken on the mom role for Henry and she loves her brother but isn't thrilled about all the responsibility.
She's a big horror buff - movies, books, etc - and when she finds this old diary in the bookstore where she works, Reggie and her best friend Aaron decide to try the magic it describes. So on "Sorry Night" they try to conquer their fears (Aaron - water/drowning, Reggie - spiders) and conjure up the Vours.
Big whoops here, because what ends up happening is that a Vour possesses little bro Henry. Now Henry has become this lunatic deadly psycho messing physically and mentally with Reggie and Aaron, as well as killing beloved pets and old fragile folk. Reggie and Aaron put two and two together and get a super creeped out four. To save Henry, Reggie and Aaron have to unravel the puzzle, conquer their fears and outsmart the diabolical Vours.
I loved that Reggie was a smart, courageous heroine. How about Aaron? A clever and solid BFF. Theirs is a true friendship and they make intelligent choices. Holt did an excellent job with their behavior and reactions.
I really liked this one! It's creative, unique and inventive. If you like Stephen King's stuff, The Devouring is your kind of book. I'm not a big horror fan but I enjoy strong intelligent characters, fast plot, nail-biting action, good writing and an intriguing premise - The Devouring has all those things. It's sinister, it's creepy, it's gruesome, it's ghoulish, it's macabre...it's FUN!
The Cover: Creeps me out - she looks scary - and I love it.
First Lines: On Sorry Night, just a few days before Christmas, you have to snuff the lamps, douse the flames in the fireplace, and spend the night in the cold and dark. If you don't, the Vours will get you.
Good - a bit menacing and I'm ready for more.
The sequel, Soulstice, is available now.
It's been six months since Reggie first discovered and fought against the Vours, malicious and demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on the eve of the Winter Solstice. The Vours still haunt Reggie, but only in her dreams-until one night, when an unexpected visitor turns her nightmares into reality.
The battle against evil continues in Soulstice, the second book in the thrilling The Devouring series, which School Library Journal called, "Comparable to books by R. L. Stine and Stephen King....A must-have for horror fans."
Have some horrific fun!