Daughters Unto Devils
by Amy Lukavics
When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.
While I love reading horror, it isn’t often that the written word gets under my skin enough to really freak me out. Daughters Unto Devils however managed to do just that. When I first finished reading it I bluffed until I had myself believing I wasn’t freaked out in the least but as soon as the lights went out I was cowering beneath the sheets.
The character development left a tiny bit to be desired but then again I am a picky little book monger, so I doubt it would be a problem for most. Amanda did grow some especially in her relationship with her sisters, I just expected there to be a bit more, or just for it to be more obvious, because of the dramatic circumstances around her.
I was most impressed with how masterfully Lukavics spun the plot. Just because it is a short book doesn’t mean it has to have a simple plot. Lukavics filled it with the perfect amount of twists and turns, but what impressed me the most was how perfectly she connected all the dots and tied up the loose ends. I’ll admit, there was a moment when I was worried that some parts of the plot were going to be forgotten, but by the final words my mind was completely blown by how it all came full circle. It made my bookworm heart infinitely happy.
Last Thoughts: Daughters Unto Devils is fantastic for a quick, yet horrifying read. Lukavics unflinchingly and expertly tackles profound and relevant social issues then flawlessly combines them with deliciously appaling lore. I would absolutely recommend it and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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