My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Horror
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: September 29th 2015
Trigger Warnings: Graphic imagery and violence, miscarriage, and child death.
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. – Synopsis from Goodreads.
“The only devil inside of you is the one you created yourself.”
Holy shit, what did I just read? This was in the YA section?!? Really? Man, they really went for it here. This is a VERY dark, historical fiction horror novel and it was very unsettling, which means I was completely there for it.
Ok guys, really take caution with this one with violence that involves children bothers you. This one doesn’t holdback any punches. This book is marketed as Little House on the Prairie meets Stephen King and that’s pretty darn accurate. I love dark historical fiction, so I’m a bit surprised that this is the first time I’m picking this one up – glad I did though. This story follows a family that is going through a hard time and doesn’t really have a large enough house to be able to get through the next winter with their sanity intact and so when they hear about another settlement that has some free cabins to claim, they set out to find a new home.
Our main protagonist Amanda is a very polarizing character, many people are going to hate her from the get-go. Her inner dialogue is dark, selfish and at many times repulsive. I had a love-hate relationship with this young girl because that is exactly what she was – young. Her family is struggling and her sanity is questionable and I thought her thoughts were very authentic. Ugly, but authentic. When they finally get to the settlement, things are not what they had hoped for – it kind of blows my mind that anyone would stay there but I guess desperate times. I won’t say what they find when they arrive but I think most of us would scream and run in the other direction pretty fast – not fix it up and decide to stay. It wouldn’t be much of a horror book if they didn’t that though!
Daughters Unto Devils is a slow burn, like a lot of historical fiction is. It does feature an unreliable narrator as well, since we have no idea if she has lost her mind or if what is happening is real for most of the book. I thought I had completely figured it out at one point and I was wrong. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on this one and I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a slower paced book or because it’s fairly gory and disturbing. Either way, I thought it was a fantastic October read and I’m sure I’ll have some of those images stuck in my head for awhile.
You have been warned about the content, if the story still sounds intriguing then go pick this one up! Totally worth and a very quick read. Incredibly disturbing though.