Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Devouring

"When dark creeps in and eats the light
Bury your fears 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.”

October is the perfect month to read a creepy horror novel. Actually any month is perfect for that, in my opinion, but reading horror in October is just more festive. So in the spirit of the season, I recommend The Devouring by Simon Holt.

When teenage Regina (Reggie) finds a hand-written manuscript entitled The Devouring in the bookshop where she works in small Cutter’s Wedge, she thinks it’s just another scary story. But it turns out the Vours, dark creatures who take over human bodies, are all too real. And on this Sorry Night, the Vours attack Reggie’s younger brother, Henry. Reggie doesn’t understand what has happened at first; she only knows Henry has changed and the changes are so disturbing she can’t attribute them merely to psychological fallout from their mother’s unexpected abandonment of their family. No, something worse has happened to Henry, and soon Reggie and her best friend, Aaron, are locked in a horrific battle for Henry’s soul.

This novel was definitely a page-turner. The action is fast-paced, and the horror is delicious. Lots of grotesque scenes within! The squeamish won’t appreciate the nightmare visions of little girls with rotting faces or severed heads held aloft by psycho clowns (these are just a few of the creepy visions the Vours create from human fear) but the avid horror reader will eat them up, as I did. Both main characters are likable. Reggie is no shrinking violet—she faces her fear head-on, so she is really a character one can appreciate, while Aaron's loyalty and determination to save his friends makes him a nerdly hero. The author ends this book with a satisfying conclusion but also with the tantalizing suggestion of future books to come.

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