On the cover of this book, there is a quote from the lovely author, Cat Winters, which states: “Imagine Stephen King writing Little House on the Prairie.” This one statement can sum up this entire book. It’s a dark, disturbing novel that not only gave me the creeps, it freaked me out worse than a lot of horror movies that I’ve seen.
Almost the first half of the book is essentially taking us into the life of Amanda Verner, a sixteen year old girl who has made some mistakes (mainly with the boy who delivers the post), and finds herself pregnant. Since this book obviously takes place years ago, her God fearing and Bible loving family will be disappointed when they find out. When her sister, Emily, overhears her telling the post boy about the pregnancy, she tells her she can never forgive her for this (and the post boy leaves, telling her he wants nothing to do with Amanda or the baby).
Feeling alone and trying to hide the pregnancy from her parents (who will kick her out with no where to go), Amanda tries to go about her life as normal, even though nothing will ever be the same for her. Dealing with chores, her siblings (including her baby sister who was born blind and deaf due to an illness their mother suffered during pregnancy), Amanda tries to live her life until the baby is born and she knows she will no longer have a home or a family. When her father tells them that he heard the winter will be a hard one and decides it would be best for them to move to a larger cabin, Amanda tries to be upbeat about it, and the family makes the trek down the mountain from their small home to a large prairie with several abandoned cabins – one of which they claim for themselves.
However, something is clearly wrong as soon as they settle. The floors and walls of the cabins are soaked in blood, and Amanda soon begins hearing a baby cry from inside the cabin, even though they are camping outside while they renovate the inside. She begins seeing things and feeling as if something isn’t right.
When it’s clear that this new paradise isn’t the paradise it’s cracked up to be, and Amanda has to deal with loss, loneliness, and fear, it seems like everything is falling apart around her as evil makes its way into the cabin and the family’s lives.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. For one, it scared the hell out of me in several spots. Sure, maybe I scare easily, but man, this definitely lived up to my standards when it comes to YA horror (is it just me or is good YA horror just difficult to find? This one fits the bill, that’s for sure). It freaked me out to the point where I had to stop reading it before I went to bed because I just knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. The writing was beautiful and Amy Lukavics definitely knows how to tell a story. But at the same time, there were a few parts of this book I felt were a little too descriptive. A few parts of this book (that I won’t even mention because I don’t want to spoil any of the aspects of the story for you) really depressed me and made me wonder why they had to be the way they were, but it didn’t exactly ruin the book for me or anything.
I wish Daughters Unto Devils had been a little bit longer, because it took about half the book for anything creepy to happen, and then it seemed like too many scary things were being crammed into half of a book. Because I absolutely love horror (especially YA horror), this book really was a treat! I hope Amy Lukavics writes another horror novel soon. because she certainly has the special talent that it takes to weave such a creepy novel!
If you’re looking for a dark, imaginative YA horror novel, Daughters Unto Devils does not disappoint, and it’s terrifying to the very last page.