Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Devouring by Simon Holt (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in a series by Simon Holt. The 2nd book "Soulstice" is coming out in September '09. I wasn't able to find how many books are planned for this series so if anyone knows; speak up!

Reggie and Aaron are horror fanatics. Reggie finds an old journal at the horror bookstore she works at. The journal talks about Vours, evil entities that can take over your soul during winter soulstice. The Vours can only enter the minds of people who are truly afraid. In an effort to scare themselves silly Reggie and Aaron try to tempt the Vours to take over them by daring each other to face their worst fears on Winter Solstice. They are disappointed that nothing happens but Reggie's little brother is not so lucky; he has been a scared little boy since their mother left and the Vours find him easy pickings.

In other book reviews I have mentioned that I don't like scary things; be they books, movies, or haunted houses. Well for the other woosies like me out there, beware, this is a scary book. For those who revel in all things horror; you will be delighted. The horror aspect in this book is more around the magical/psychological type of horror. Although fans of classic horror get their due too; with the appearance of an ax wielding clown, refreshements laid out in open rib cages, and people buried alive. Also if you have any type of fear of spiders I would steer clear of this book.

The book itself was very well written. The characters were likeable and engaging. The idea of the people you love and trust becoming evil incarnate overnight is very Exorcist; and totally creeped me out. I really liked Reggie and Eben, the bookstore owner. I felt for all of the characters. The book was fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. This is a book that focuses less on high-school life and more on the unusual events in Reggie's life; which I enjoyed. If you really enjoy all the gossiping and angsting that is included in some young adult books like this you might be disappointed.

There was some swearing in the book, but it was pretty mild. I was also surprised that the book was very scary without being excessively gorey. The story was a good one and was tightly put together and well thought out. This book works well as a stand alone book; although Eben mentions that the Vours are just the tip of the evil iceberg.

So, the million dollar question is will I read Soulstice when it comes out? I am tempted to; The Devouring is a fascinating book and a quick and engaging read. Do I want to have to sleep with the lights on for another night and suffer nightmares for a couple nights? No, not really. I found Laura Faria Stolarz's "Blue is for Nightmare's" to also be too scary for me. So if you loved "Blue is for Nightmares" you will probably love this book. I actually thought the Devouring was much more creative and interesting than "Blue is for Nightmares".

As a great young adult horror book I think this book is a winner. For me personally it is just too darn scary.

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