The Devouring – Simon Holt
As far as covers go, The Devouring is pretty spectacular. In fact, it’s so good that I picked it up off the shelf in the store and decided I was going to buy it even before I looked at the blurb. Apart from being visually stimulating, it manages to capture the real essence of the story without giving too much away.
The blurb is pretty enticing as well. Check this out:
Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.
This isn’t how the horror ended for us –
This is how it began.
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?
Sounds awesome, right? Well, I thought so anyway. Unfortunately, now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m not quite sure what to think. Firstly, let me just say that I didn’t think it was bad. Not at all. But there is just something about it that isn’t sitting right with me.
The characters are all likable enough, yet they don’t seem individual enough, there is not a whole lot that separate them from each other in my mind. For me to consider a book astonishing, the characters really need to jump off the page and present themselves as independent, unique individuals. That doesn’t really happen for me with The Devouring. However, I’m not prepared to say that I don’t like the characters, because I do. Or maybe it’s just that there isn’t anything exceptionally unlikable about them, I can’t quite tell. Either way, they didn’t leave a huge impression.
Everything happens pretty fast, too. There isn’t a whole lot of build up, which for some, might be a good thing. I, however, am a big fan of the build up. I love anticipation and surprise. Although it’s not predictable, per se, The Devouring didn’t have me sitting on the edge of my seat. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t want to put it down.
Can you see what I’m saying here? It wasn’t bad, not by a long shot, but it wasn’t outstanding either, you know? I do think that it would make a really awesome film, however. Visually, I think it would be a real creeper. But as words, well, it falls a little short of creepy.
Give it a go. I’m interested in your thoughts!