by Simon Holt
“They lurk in the cold and dark. Hungry and wicked, they wait for their one chance to devour the weak on Sorry Night. Then the Vours feast on a banquet of fear. Your fear. They steal your soul but your body remains. No one knows the difference.”Regina Halloway has been an obsessor of horror movies and gruesome comics since she was a little girl. She’s not afraid of any of them -- rather, they give her a delightful chill and help to keep her thoughts away from her mother, who abandoned their family a year ago. Now Reggie has to be one to take care of her eight-year-old brother, Henry, and she finds it an exhausting burden. So when Reggie finds an old journal called The Devouring at the bookshop where she works, it seems like the perfect thing to immerse herself in. But when Reggie reads part of the book to Henry as a bedtime story, she couldn’t imagine the disaster that would follow. “Vours,” dark things that invade your body and devour your soul, are especially active on the Winter Solstice -- and guess on what night Reggie reads the story aloud? Reggie doesn’t know what to do or who to trust, but she does know one thing: she has to defeat the Vour that takes over her little brother…while at the same time keeping herself from being consumed by her own fear.
This was, essentially, a horror novel. I wasn’t expecting that (I think I’d read the summary a while ago and forgotten what exactly it was about), and while it wouldn’t usually be my kind of book, I enjoyed it a lot. The Devouring was a pretty creepy story (if you have a fear of freakish demonic clowns, beware!) with good characters and enough emotional fear to make it seem realistic; it wasn’t all just undead people and stuff like that. I appreciated that Reggie’s best friend Aaron was a boy who, while he could have been gay, it never said either way, and he didn’t secretly like her, either. It was refreshing. The only thing I found strange was that Reggie was the protagonist, but then there would be some random bits (not even whole chapters, usually) where it seemed almost from Aaron’s or Henry’s points of view. Otherwise, nicely done.
I was very glad to find that this is the first in a series -- so far no title or release date for a book #2, but I’ll definitely keep an eye on Simon Holt and hope that he writes fast. Visit www.thedevouring.com for more info.