Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: The Devouring

Fifteen-year-old Reggie is working at a horror-story bookstore, going to school, and mothering her little brother Henry.  Since her mom ran off, it feels like she's the only one holding their family together.  She's getting tired and frustrated and is sure things coudn't get worse.

And then one night she discovers the Vours.  Reading about them in a mad woman's journal, she thinks they sound pretty cool: creatures that invade human bodies on Sorry Night, a night in December, and then use the bodies as puppets to spread fear.  As a game, she tries to summon the Vours with her friend Aaron.  She doesn't expect a Vour to actually appear - or to attack her little brother.  Henry's personality is completely different - he's mutilating his stuffed animals, possibly killing neighbors, and scheming to make sure Reggie can't do anything about it.  Reggie is determined to fight off the Vour and save Henry... but can she ever actually win against fear itself?

Entertainment: ★

I actually didn't want to finish.  The gore was at times over the top, and I wasn't really scared by any aspect of the story.

Plot: ★

From the first three chapters, I predicted the exact ending with nearly 100% accuracy.  The foreshadowing was kind of obvious.  There wasn't any real suspense.  Also, some parts I just didn't understand.

Characters: ★★

Henry was mildly interesting as a Vour, but only mildly.  The rest of the characters were all just bland.  The characters that were supposed to have a big twist, or something, weren't actually surprising.  Reggie was downright boring.  Aaron's non-personality made him an extremely disappointing love interest - at least, I assume that's what he is, since the author shoved kept shoving Reggie and Aaron together.  I didn't connect with or care about any of the characters.

Writing: ★★

See the above comment about the gore.  To be scary, you need to have either intense psychological terror or extremely well-done gore.  Holt seemed to settle for half-hearted gore, which mainly came off as gross instead of scary.  Also, the characterization was disappointing, the descriptions confusing, and the foreshadowing obvious.  I just couldn't get in to The Devouring at all, and by the end I wasn't at all scared.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

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