Wednesday, August 22, 2018

YA Zombie Western Satisfies On Every Level

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Dusty and desolate, the mostly abandoned town of Glory, Texas, is little more than a pile of dirt in a vast, unforgiving desert.  It's a miracle anything survives in the rough, ugly settlement.  With "shakers"—mindless, cannibalistic zombies—haunting Glory's perimeter and greedy, heartless men-monsters ruling its interior, no one escapes Glory unscathed.  

Daisy "Willie" Wilcox lost her mother to the shaker disease last year, but the 17-year-old is determined not to let any harm come to her three younger siblings.  They might be penniless, but she's doing everything in her power to keep them sheltered and safe.  When a pair of violent shaker hunters accuses Willie's no-good, never-around father of stealing from them, Willie knows she has to take their threats against her family seriously.  She doesn't have $3 to give the men, let alone $300, but with a little help, she thinks she can track down her drunken dad.  After tricking a pair of more benign shaker hunters into accompanying her, she sets off on a desperate, perilous journey across the cruel, callous desert.  Willie will do anything, risk everything, to protect her siblings.  Even if it kills her—and it probably will—she'll fight to the death to save her family. 

As a desert dweller who's enjoyed a number of YA westerns in the past little while, I found everything about Devils Unto Dust—a debut novel by Emma Berquist—appealing.  From its gritty cover to its enthralling premise to its action-packed plot to its endearing characters, this is one of those books that just satisfies on every level.  True, it's not the most original zombie tale out there, but what it lacks in creativity it makes up for in solid writing, relatable characters, and an engrossing storyline.  Besides a little blood and gore, it's also a clean novel that has a lot of crossover appeal.  I thoroughly enjoyed Devils Unto Dust and can't wait until Berquist's new book (not a sequel) comes out next year.

(Readalikes:  Dread Nation by Justina Ireland)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Devils Unto Dust from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.

3 comments:

  1. I don’t need original if there’s good writing, plot, and characters. Sounds like a good one.

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  2. There isn't a lot out there that is purely original these days so good writing and characters goes a long way. I'm glad this one was so good.

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  3. I'm with Jenny. Good writing and good characters are what's most important. (Zombies is just an added bonus.) :D

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