Title: Daughters Unto Devils
Author: Amy Lukavics
God bless the little children
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.
“Still, the question awakened memories of last winter unmercifully, the ones that were too painful to bear, the ones that ended up causing all sixteen years of my life to slip away from me like water through open fingers.”
I had such high hopes for the novel. The fact that it had been marketed as “Stephen King writing Little House on the Prairie” immediately grabbed me, but upon finishing the first chapter I knew that this book was going to drag on and on – and it did.
The main character, Amanda Verner, is a sixteen year old pioneer who has been sleeping with another young man and becomes pregnant. The young man, of course, refuses to ever see her again, but she and her family move anyway, so it didn’t really matter. She never tells her parents about the pregnancy, and instead prays for a miscarriage. Not surprisingly, she does suffer a miscarriage and begins to wonder about the evil inside of her.
Throughout the novel we suffer through Amanda’s repetitive thoughts and fears that she might be evil – which is already blatantly obvious. We also have to listen to her complain about how much she hates her baby sister who is blind and deaf, and how those thoughts are connected to the evil within her as well.
I expected this book to be much scarier, but it failed me. The first 2/3 of the novel was a chore to read due to the dullness of the main character and her same thoughts being expressed over and over. And it wasn’t until the very end of the novel that the horror actually began to happen – and it happened too fast, and all at once.
Within the last few chapters, Amanda’s baby sister gets attacked by ants, and her father takes the baby away to the doctor to see if she can be saved. During that same period of time, Amanda’s mother becomes possessed and immediately starts spouting nasty things at Amanda. During this time we just have to follow Amanda and her sister walking through the woods to go find their father and sister, but they eventually find out that their father and sister both died, and that the doctor sacrificed himself as well.
The ending after this is ridiculously rushed. It is as though the author realized that she didn’t add in any horror elements and throws in as many elements as she can before the book abruptly ends as though she couldn’t wait to get the novel done and published. I was extremely disappointed since the last chapter or so of this book are the only parts that are worth reading, and this novel would have fared much better if the author had focused more on the elements that she threw in at the end of the story.
I do not recommend this novel to horror fans. It might be a good novel for those trying to get into horror, but I do not think that it represents the genre well. In my opinion, it is an incomplete novel.
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