Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Devouring

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
Genre: YA Horror

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Publishing Date: June 1, 2009
Paperback: 256 pages

Stand Alone or series: First book in a planned series.

Summary: (from Goodreads)
When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."

THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?

The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?


This book is all about horror.

The main character, Reggie, loves it. Her and her best friend, Aaron, have read and seen almost every horror book and movie there is and Reggie even works at a book store that specialize in all things “gothic, gruesome, and grisly.” Reggie figures if she “practices” being scared then she will be better prepared for the real thing. (I don’t think I need to point out that it doesn’t work that way.)

Then one day Reggie comes across an interesting old book. Styled like a journal, the book is about a new type of creature called the Vours that take over human bodies. At first she dismisses the story of as a work of fiction, but then her brother Henry starts acting strange. And when I say strange, I mean like that creepy little boy in Pet Cemetery strange.

And here is where the story really begins.

Reggie and Aaron must then try to figure out exactly what the Vours are and how to defeat them with only a mad woman’s journal to guide their way. Will they be able to overcome their own fears in order to save Henry? Only time will tell.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

From page 188:

“Ever smell a rose, Aaron? Really smell it? Put your nose to the petals and breathed it in? The aroma is intoxicating. Do you know why?”

The Vour limped forward again. The ice crunched beneath its feet.

Because if you bury your nose deep and breathe through the life of a rose, through the flesh and the earth and the beauty, you smell the death inside.” The Vour breathed deeply. “It doesn’t think, not like humans, but it feel. It feels the end of its life looming almost as soon as it blossoms. And it fears. A rose’s perfume is the terror of its own approaching death. I smell that on you tonight. Thick as blood.”


Loved it. The strongest aspect of this story is the fast plot pacing. The story moves along so quickly that the frightening aspects of the story never have time to really wear off.

The pacing also does a lot to hide the fact there is not too much characterization going on. I mean, the character with the most dimension is Reggie’s mother and she’s not even actually in the book (she abandoned the family and Reggie and her brother are still dealing with that loss in the story). I didn’t really mind the one dimensional characters too much though cause the Vours were written so well but I will be disappointed if there’s no growth in the next book.

I also thought the ending was a bit unsatisfying, but that’s not too surprising since the author left the door open for the next book. There were just a few major threads I would have like to see tied up a little better before the end.

That being said, I thought the horror aspects of the book were great. It was scary without trying too hard. And even though a psycho carnival is pretty unoriginal, it definitely suited the fears of a young boy.

Side note: look at the cover difference. The one of the left is the new GORGEOUS cover, but the one on the right is the one I checked out from the library. Goes to show a cover can make all the difference.

Rating: 8