Monday, December 28, 2009

The Devouring by Simon Holt

The Devouring is a slightly less known book that is stunning. The Devouring stole my breath away. I was on pins and needles until the very end; I wanted to scream in suspense and fear. The Devouring is the creepiest, scariest book I've ever read.

The Devouring is about the Vours, this supernatural evil thing, that comes in on Sorry Night (Winter Solstice) and takes control of your body, imitating a person's personality while they hold your soul captive in a nightmare world called a fearscape. The back of the book says "When dark creeps in and eats the light,/Bury your fear on Sorry Night./For in the winter's blackest hours/Comes the feasting of the Vours./No one can see it, the life they stole,/Your body's here but not your soul..."

The main character, Reggie, reads about the Vours in an old, mysterious journal she finds at the used and rare bookstore where she works. Then, the creepy story in the journal becomes too real when her little brother starts acting oddly. To save him, Reggie must decide if she can devour her own fears.

The Devouring set my teeth on edge and made my heart pound. I found myself wanting to cover my eyes, but couldn't because that would mean not finding out what happened next. The author preys on people's common fear, like spiders and clowns, that will send shivers up your spines. I read this in public at a restaurant while waiting on my food and had our waitress cracking up because of all the faces I was making. The Devouring made me cringe in horror and delight. I literally couldn't put this book down until the very end. I never could guess how it was going to end despite my best efforts. You will definitely not sleep soundly after reading this.

It's also more than just a horror book. There's wonderful, typical interaction between Reggie and her little brother. Reggie is an excellent character who never gives up and never backs down.

My gripe about this book? There isn't one. Simon Holt is perfection with his brilliant writing and the ability to make you believe the Vours are real. The Winter Solstice had a whole new meaning that year. The pacing is perfect: never too slow and never too fast.

This book gets a resounding five out of five.

People I would recommend this book to: fans of R.L. Stine, Stephen King, horror, H.P. Lovecraft

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