The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – REVIEW
The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.
Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.
May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.
Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.
With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.
But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast…
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Titan Books.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Things were rising that should have been long buried – bodies and broken promises, betrayed friends and dishonored families.”
I was on the blog tour for The Devouring Gray last year and really enjoyed that atmospheric and creepy tale. I was pleased to discover it was only the first part of a duology and have been eagerly waiting to read the sequel. So, when I was invited to take part in the next blog tour, I grabbed the chance to get early access to The Deck of Omens and I’m pleased to say it did not disappoint. One of my favourite elements of these books is the setting of Four Paths which is skilfully evoked and feels almost like another character. I still think these books would make a great TV show as the descriptive writing is very cinematic and would lend itself well to the screen. The plot was well-paced, with the slower start ratcheting up to a fast-paced and brutal showdown that will leave the reader breathless.
“Power was power and people would always want it, whether it was dressed up with pretty words and careful manipulation or stripped down to teeth and claws.”
It’s the characters I adore most in this duology though. The supportive friendships are wonderful and the slowly-developing romances feel believably realistic and organic. The romantic arc of Harper and Justin was refreshingly handled and Violet and Isaac remain my favourite bisexual disasters. With college on the near-horizon, hard decisions are made as the four friends accept that growing up and the inevitable changes this entails is sometimes hard and can certainly hurt. I was so proud of these kids at the end though. We also get to dive even deeper into their complicated families, with the return of both Isaac’s brother Gabriel, and Justin and May’s father, which lent another facet to their characters.
“A friendship was its own type of ritual…one where people bound themselves to one another not with blood but with words.”
The reader finally learns more about the history of the town and the events that led to the creation of the Gray, with the author exploring the dangers of greed for magic and the corrupting potential of power through the Beast and the spreading illness affecting Four Paths. The addition of May as one of the main characters was particularly successful as the author used her thirst to prove herself to mirror the past dangers that faced the forest. The ending definitely leaves the story open to returning to Four Paths via May and I would love to revisit her one day. The Deck of Omens was a fantastic ending to this duology and it’s creepily evocative writing and wonderfully flawed characters prove it deserves a place on your bookshelf.