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.
Let me start this review by saying that I am the biggest wimp when it comes to horror. Haunted houses? I’ll pass. Scary movies? Nope. Can’t do it. I was the kid at the Halloween party staring at the wall while everyone else watched The Exorcist. I’m not a fan of horror…or so I thought before reading Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (Harlequin TEEN). I started reading Daughters Unto Devils with great trepidation…and LOVED it! I mean, every page.
This book is Little House on the Prairie gone horribly, horribly wrong. It’s fantastic! The wide-open prairie with its solitary blood-soaked cabin is the perfect setting for this horror story. The cabin, a place that’s supposed to offer refuge and hope for the struggling settler family, quickly turns out to be anything but. Yet in true pioneer spirit they try to make the most of it. They might be able to scrub away the blood, but they can’t scrub away the evil. But how is Amanda supposed to warn away her family when she might just have brought the evil with her?
Amanda Verner’s voice is very strong. I spent most of the novel unsure whether the evil on the prairie is real or whether it is all in her head. The feeling of madness mounts throughout to a taut breaking point.
My favourite thing about this book is the tone. Lukavics does an amazing job of maintaining a sinister tone throughout—even moments of levity are shot through with darkness. Things that shouldn’t be creepy are, and things that are…suspect worry on your nerves. I found this story has a folklore quality about it that makes it even more shiver-inducing.
And the descriptions! Lukavics uses visceral descriptions to great effect. Since when are words like gray scary? With Lukavics they are. The pie scene *shudders!*
Dark and deliciously creepy, Daughters Unto Devils will make your skin crawl and your pulse pound. Rotate out your usual ghost stories and read this book around the campfire—I dare you.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5 hearts)
Enter to win a copy of Daughters Unto Devils here.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this review are my own as part of my personal blog and not my employer’s.