Rating: 3 stars
The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.
Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.
May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.
Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.
With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.
But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast…
UK & US: 21st April 2020
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Titan Books UK for the book.
If I am being completely honest, this book was a little bit of a disappointment. I would still definitely say that it was overall an enjoyable read, but it didn’t stand out to me. When I first read The Devouring Gray last year I loved it, but found it didn’t stick with me, and so I had to reread it before reading this book. The Devouring Gray wasn’t quite as enjoyable on a second read as I think a lot of my enjoyment was reliant on the mystery and I already knew how it ended. This feeling carried over into my reading experience of The Deck of Omens, but as I said it was still a good and fun read as a whole. I do think it is worth mentioning that I read this at the beginning of a reading slump, so that may also have impacted my reading experience and enjoyment.
The first thing I would comment on is the plot. Although the plot was quite interesting there was a strong plot-line to drive the book forward, it didn’t feel wholly necessary after the end of The Devouring Gray. However, ignoring this, I did find the plot engaging and I did find myself wanting to know what happened next. I do not want to say too much more unless I risk spoiling the book, but I did like how it ended. I don’t think it was necessarily the most unexpected ending and was a little predictable, but it certainly wrapped up the duology nicely!
For both books in this duology I would say that even though the plot wasn’t necessarily the strongest, the characters very much drove the story forwards. I definitely cared more about the characters and their development and relationships more than the plot itself, and this was the main aspect of the book that kept me reading. I thought all of the main characters (Justin, Violet, May, Isaac and Harper) were interesting and I very much enjoyed how different they all were! It would be quite easy for similar aged characters to merge together but these five were always extremely distinct and interesting in their own right. I think my favourite character in both books was definitely Isaac, and I enjoyed that he got a bit more of a focus (and finally some good things happened to him) in The Deck of Omens.
Talking about the characters, an aspect of this book that I absolutely loved was the representation. In this book two of the main five characters are bisexual, and some other side characters are also LGBT+. The best part of a proportion of the main characters being bi was that it was more difficult to predict any possible relationships that could happen between them!
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Now I am an absolute sucker for romance in a book, a good cutesy romance will always have me sold! And from very near the beginning of The Devouring Gray I had two couples I really wanted to get together, and if I am honest thought were quite obvious pairings, and I am happy to report that both of these were realised. It wasn’t necessarily plain sailing but I was happy to see these couples get together.
*** SPOILERS END ***
One comment I do have about the relationships however, is that throughout the early stages of flirting and getting together I thought they were very realistic, however one of the relationships very suddenly became this dramatic romance where they would die for each other… it was a bit much for some 16 and 17-year-olds!
My final comment is just about the writing. Overall I enjoyed the writing, and I especially liked the dialogue (there was a lot of witty banter) but I did struggle a little to get into the flow of the book. I found the writing a little disjointed and difficult to engage with. Due to this I actually missed certain plot points and sometimes missed people entering or leaving scenes. This may have just been me not getting on with the writing style, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Overall I would recommend this book if you’re a fan of YA contemporary/fantasy/thrillers, or shows such as Riverdale, but it was not the most stand-out book I have read in these genres.
– Maddie Browse