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.
This book was a disappointment. It was described as Little House on the Prairie meets Stephen King. Well, you can take both out of it, because it’s neither scary nor fun. It bears little resemblance to my beloved Little House on the Prairiebecause the people in that series had common sense and the main character wasn’t a whining little feather-brained twit.
This book is not a horror. It’s a psychological tale, which is to say, it is boring as fuck. Don’t expect anything to happen. Don’t expect any scares, you won’t get it. The entire book feels much like the result of a teenaged girl’s twisted, guilty mind combined with the result of cabin fever and isolation that plays tricks on the mind (which was poorly depicted, else I would have given it a higher rating).
In a psychology-driven book, a character’s emotions has to feel real, a reader must feel empathy for the character, and the author has to bait the reader with the reveal. There was no clear motive for the main character’s guilt, and she ended up annoying me so much I completely lost all liking for her.
This is how the book goes. Girl lives in 19th century-or-so time in an isolated place. Don’t expect any setting, don’t expect any explanations. You won’t get it. It’s just some vague historical place, and the only reason I could deduce the era was by the Little House in the Prairie blurb and the use of Ma and Pa.
So girl makes a mistake like so many girls who came before her and after her did. She spreads her legs for a guy, thinking that he loves her (he doesn’t) and that he’ll marry her (he won’t), and when she inevitably falls pregnant with the asshole’s child, she thinks he will do the right thing and marry her (he won’t). All this time there’s multiple hidden mysterious spooky OOOOOOOOOH referenes to how she went nuts last winter (don’t worry, you won’t find out The Secret) for a long time.
I believe a part of myself may have died last winter.
But the book will smack you with the reference for the rest of it.
And so stupid girl has to tell family she’s pregnant (in due time). And all of a sudden Da decides to move them into a new house. No idea where the house is, but sure, new house. Because that’s so easy to get in this time and age. New house turns out to be covered in blood from within.
There is a dark substance, a stinking liquid that covers the entire edge of the torn out floor. Even as much as I don’t want to believe it, I know that the liquid is, unquestionably, blood. There is more of it splattered up the sides of the peeling bark walls, and a broken chair amongst the wreckage is also ruined with the red. Fat black flies the size of coins buzz against the filthy glass window that lines the back wall.
Ma and Da are like “oh, no biggie, it’s just some blood, let’s clean it up and move in.” Excellent idea.
Well, not really, but I swear on my most beloved stuffed animal’s life that NOTHING HAPPENS.
If you’re looking for a good Halloween read, look elsewhere.