The first half of The Devouring was creepy in a good way. Lots of slightly sinister, psychological stuff happening. The second half, however, was icky. Way too many gross-out, gory events. I was not intending to read a horror novel when I picked this up!
The Devouring is the story of Reggie, a teen girl who loves horror books and movies (as does her best friend Aaron). Reggie's mom left her family last year, and since then Reggie has had to take care of her little brother Henry a lot of the time. One day Reggie finds a mysterious hand-written book called "The Devouring". It tells the tale of the Vours - mysterious beings that feed on fear, and possess the bodies of people on Sorry Night - when that are at their most afraid. Reggie thinks it's an odd, but interesting tale, made up by some crazy person. However, for fearful Henry (whom she reads the story to), the Vours are real, and something to be very afraid of. Unfortunately for them all, it's Sorry Night; and Henry's right.
As I mentioned before, the first half of this book is a psychological thriller. The spooks are all from the dark, or flickering lights, or strange voices, or cold mysterious places. However, at the halfway turning point we are taken into an alternate world - a fearscape, as the book calls it - a world that is filled creepy clowns, swarms of spiders, all sorts of gruesome weapons and their resulting damage. Ick.
*Spoilers* I have a few other complaints that can't be explained without spoiling things, so be warned. When Reggie and Aaron first go to Eben and show him the book and mention that Henry is acting strange, he chastises them for fooling around with the book, but also shrugs off Henry's weird behavior. At the end of the book we learn that Eben knows all about the Vours and has been fighting them for years. Didn't he realize Henry was a Vour? And why didn't he tell them? If there is a reason for this - the author should have explained it, because left unexplained it just seems like a mistake. Also, Aaron just deduces all the answers to the puzzle of what the Vours are, where Henry is, how to get him back, etc. really suddenly! Reggie falls asleep and when she wakes up, he's found no info in his Internet search, but concludes that Henry is trapped in his own fearscape and Reggie went there because she ate the Vour and is now partially Vour, so she can go there by touching Henry. Ta-da! And "fearscape"? - just a little hokey. *End Spoilers*
In short, interesting premise, gross end of the book, annoying non-concluded ending.