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.
I finally read my first Amy Lukavics book, which is her first book as well, Daughters Unto Devils. When I first saw this last year I was positively creeped out by the cover! It looked like a creepy read and it turns out it was! But the creepiness took awhile to come about. There was some weirdness in the beginning but it was like the last 50 pages that truly had my heart racing. Considering the book is 231 pages, this is a decent chunk of the book. But as I said, there was still plenty of "weirdness" happening beforehand that greatly held my interest!
Amanda is a simple girl of sorts, one of five children she and her siblings live with their parents in a cottage on top of a mountain. Amanda has a secret though, well, a few actually. But one is that she's been secretly meeting the mail-boy and having...well...they're together. Let's just say that! They're togetherness spawns a child inside of Amanda and she's afraid of telling her family for fear of being outcasted. And when she tries to tell her lover, he freaks out.
The more pressing matter, however, is the approaching winter. Last winter was a bad one. Especially for Amanda for reasons unknown to us, as well as her mother and baby sister. When they travel down the mountain to the plains where there's an empty cabin, things should be great. There's more room in the cabin, but there's also dried blood. A lot of blood.
And slowly a tale of darkness begins to unravel before our eyes. Amanda continues to hide her pregnancy from her family. Only her sister knows and it was sort of an accident that she found out which causes a rift between them as well. Thins start happening, inexpiable things that make Amanda fear she might be losing her mind. And then there's the mysterious boy, Zeke and his father who live in the woods nearby. They visited infrequently to use the water pump that's on their new property. And sure enough sparks start to fly between Zeke and Amanda's sister.
This book was creepy and mysterious! The best kind of combination at times! Although, I kind of wish we had a clearer idea of the history of the creepiness. It definitely seems to have some history with the land and we only get teasers of what that all means. I guess things must be taken at face value. But at the same time, I still felt confused by some of the outcomes. There were too many puzzles that were popping up towards the end. In a way, it was like an M. Night Shyamalan movie...only without an ending that makes you go OHHHHH, but more like WHAAAAAT?????! So again, it's more about taking things at face value.
That being said this was still one creepy and fantastic read! Sure there were some drawbacks. At times, I felt like the pacing was starting to slow because I wasn't sure what direction things were headed in. There are so many things left unaccounted for in the end and you're left wondering about them all. But I guess that's also part of the terror! It was definitely a heart-racing and terrifying read at times! Especially with its climatic ending! I will definitely be keeping Amy Lukavics on my list of authors to watch out for!
Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars--a near 4 stars! As I said there were a few things that left me wondering about them at the end. I chalked some of it up to just terrifying horror, but there are still things about the horror I was unclear on. So it's NEARLY a 4 star read in that sense!