Hello everyone! I hope you are all keeping well in these strange times. For many of us reading is an escape and a chance to go into a different world. Today I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. This is the sequel to the amazing first book – The Devouring Gray. Be aware that there may be spoilers for the first book in this review so if you haven’t read the first book then come back when you have!
My many thanks go to Titan Books for sending me a review copy of this book and for giving me a space on your blog tour! Special thanks to Sarah for organising this.
With the Beast subdued, the town of Four Paths discovers a new threat: a corruption seeping is from the Gray, poisoning the roots of the town and its people. Only May Hawthorne realises the danger, forced to watch as her visions become reality.
Meanwhile, the town is riven by change: Harper Carlisle is learning to control her newfound powers, and how to forgive after devastating betrayals; Isaac Sullivan’s older brother, Gabriel, has returned after years away; Violet Saunders is finding her place and Justin and May’s father has finally come home.
With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, and the Founder Families all returning to their roots, the time has finally come to settle ancient grudges, to cure the corruption and stop the Beast once and for all.
But more than one kind of beast preys on Four Paths…
She found Justin standing stiffly in the center of a small clearing, the shaky beam of his flashlight trained on the tree in front of him.
There was something horribly wrong with it. Part of the bark had faded from brown to a dark gray, and rivulets of liquid dripped down the trunk, leaving a slick, oily sheen behind them. The smell that wafted from it was nearly unbearable. May’s eyes stung; she tried to blink her tears away, coughing.
May raised her flashlight, shuddering as she traced the spread of gray toward its branches.
“What do you think is happening here?” Justin asked, his voice muffled by the hand he’d clapped over his mouth and nose.
“I don’t know,” May said. She had been in the Gray just once, the time she had saved Justin from the Beast after he’d failed his ritual. Something about this tree reminded her of the forest she’d seen there, pulsating and alien, branches twisted toward her like clawing hands. But it wasn’t the same—although it was damaged, the bark that remained was still unmistakably normal, still part of Four Paths.
She took a picture of it on her phone, then lowered her flashlight to the ground.
Iridescent liquid pooled on the ground below, soaking into the soil. May watched, alarmed, as it slid toward them. She’d never heard of anything like this before, yet it looked oddly familiar.
“We should move,” she said, grabbing Justin’s arm and yanking him back. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to touch it.”
For once he didn’t protest, his expression nervous. “Yeah. Wait—what’s that?”
He gestured at the tree, and May swung her phone flashlight forward, a terrible sense of déjà vu washing over her.
She didn’t know why it had taken this long for her to recognize it. But now, as she saw the half-melted trunk, harshly illuminated, and watched a tendril of gray emerge, she remembered sitting beneath the hawthorn tree just a few days ago, shuddering at that exact image. Before she could even fully process what it might mean, the gray dissipated, vanishing into the air like a puff of smoke. She shone her flashlight on the tree, on the iridescent trails of liquid still creeping toward them, but all signs of it were gone.
“Shit,” she whispered, her grip tightening on Justin’s arm. She had seen this coming for them, but that didn’t tell her what it was—or how to stop it.
“You saw that too.” His voice was raw.“The Gray.You saw it, right?”
May nodded, nausea churning in her stomach. “Let’s get out of here. Mom needs to know about this.”
They hurried back through the forest, their earlier argument forgotten. Long after the smell faded away, May still felt the touch of decay against her skin, as if rot were seeping into her very pores. And in her mind, that smoke unfurled over and over again, reaching for her.
I absolutely adored reading The Devouring Gray before the Deck of Omens and I knew as soon as I finished the first book that I wanted to read the sequel right away! For me, The Devouring Gray was a stand out debut novel – and I wanted more. The Forest has so much personification that it feels so real. There are so many dark twists and turns to this novel that keeps you reading at a rapid pace.
I enjoyed the investigations that went on during this book, it really kept the plot interesting. There are so many brilliant and creepy descriptions as well that were very atmospheric. The writing style flowed very well and I felt like this was a brilliant sequel to The Devouring Gray. I won’t go into massive detail because the plot is there to be enjoyed without spoilers!
Gabriel and Isaac are two of my favourite characters and I enjoyed following their plot line. The other good thing about this book was the fact that the characters were diverse and relatable and they each added a new dimension to the story.
Overall this was a brilliant sequel and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. This is a young adult fantasy genre mixed with contemporary – so I do believe it will suit a lot of peoples tastes.
If you have read this book and have thoughts, I would love to hear them! Send me a direct message or leave a comment below.
Until next time!