Last fall, I was a panelist for the Cybils Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, which meant that I had to read pretty much every science fiction and fantasy book nominated for a Cybils award (there were hundreds), and then together with my fellow panelists, come up with a shortlist. One of the books was I had to read was The Devouring by Simon Holt.
It has this little rhyme, or prophecy I suppose you could call it, that states during the dark months of December, the Vours will come and get you. So of course, I was reading it around this time. And of course, I was trying to get through it quickly, so I ended up reading it late at night.
And so of course, as a result, I had to sleep with a light on for two weeks afterwards!
Check it out:
This holiday season promises to be anything but merry for Reggie. Ever since her mom left, she has become a surrogate mother for her younger brother and responsible for every household chore, and her relationship with her father shaky. In her free time, Reggie indulges in horror stories, a love she shares with her best friend Aaron. But when they stumble across an old journal titled The Devouring, Aaron and Reggie will discover the chilling truth about hellish creatures called Vours firsthand when one inhabits the body of Reggie's younger brother Henry. Now the three of them find themselves caught up in a deadly fight that is larger and much more dangerous than they ever could have imagined.
There is no doubt about it: The Devouring is one unnerving and frightening read. Simon Holt creates ideal characters for the plot: a protagonist who is fallible, yet determined and intelligent, the awesome best friend with some more-than-best-friend potential, and the handsome older guy. The plot moves at a quick pace so as not to be boring, though Holt saves the edge-of-your-seat brand of suspense until towards the end of the novel. The Devouring is also kept tasteful as far as horror novels go, without an overflow of unnecessary gore (though be warned, there is a little) or avid descriptions of pointless details whose main goal is to strike fear in the heart of the reader. Instead, the real thrills and chills come from the mystery, power, and evil that are the Vours and Aaron and Reggie's struggle to find their weakness before it's too late. The ending is rather abrupt, but promises a sequel that will hopefully further enlighten readers when it comes to the Vours and be just as haunting.
And that sequel is headed our way on September 1st! Soulstice, which has striking cover to match its prequel's, promises to be just as creepy as well:
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.
Can they be more vague? I cannot wait to read it, despite knowing I will probably have nightmares and burn out another light bulb by keeping it on 24/7!
Also, aren't these covers grand? The love the purple and yellow swirls (waves? smoke?). They are so eeries, and the smeared eye makeup on the first book is just SO perfect in creating the right mood. They're much better than the icky UK cover.