Title: Daughters unto Devils
Author: Amy Lukavics
No. of Pages: 240
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 29 September 2015
“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.”
My Thoughts: In Daughters unto Devils, Amanda and her family are still struggling to forget the horrors of the past winter and are barely surviving in their cabin in the woods. With another winter rapidly approaching, Amanda’s father hears about opportunities on the prairie with empty homes for the taking and jumps at the chance to improve his lot in life in addition to finding a place where all of them can start fresh. While this may sound like the rough outline of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Amanda’s life is vastly different.
Amanda is no Laura. The dissimilarities are not just of the obvious sort, like the fact that she is the oldest of five children. They are also subtle. Amanda feels stifled by the close quarters and seeks her escape in the arms of a boy. She never hides her disloyal thoughts towards her youngest sister or parents. In many ways, she is a tortured soul before she ever sets sight on her new house.
There are many forms of horror in existence. For some, it is blood and gore. For others, it is the unknown, while someone else feels specific mentions of devils horrifying. Others might find isolation terrifying. Some people think psychological illness horrific, yet more might find horror lurking in more mundane avenues, like unwelcome pregnancies. Ms. Lukavics manages to use several of those forms within Daughters unto Devils without sacrificing the story while making sure all readers find at least one thing to make their skin crawl.
Amanda is spunky and strong in some ways but proves highly vulnerable in others and her struggles add to the ominous tone of the story. Even better, Ms. Lukavics leaves the story open-ended in a way that is ripe for interpretation or imaginations to take flight. In this case, the lack of answers enhances the story’s creepiness. Daughters unto Devils is an effective horror story that will definitely keep you up at night or at least uncomfortable enough to double-check the locks.