Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

Title: Devils Unto Dust
Author: Emma Berquist
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Source: Greenwillow via Edelweiss

Ten years ago, a horrifying disease began spreading across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attacked the living and created havoc and destruction. No one has ever survived the infection. Daisy Wilcox, known as Willie, has been protecting her siblings within the relatively safe walls of Glory, Texas. When Willie’s good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most dangerous shake-hunters in town, she finds herself on the hook for his debt. With two hunters, including the gruff and handsome Ben, to accompany her, she sets out across the desert in search of her father. But the desert is not kind to travelers, and not everyone will pass through alive.

Western meets horror for this riveting story about survival, family, and inner strength. Tense, short chapters propel readers from one action-packed scene to the next, while Willie’s distinctive, introspective voice deepens the emotional stakes with every turn of the page. High concept and character-driven, Emma Berquist’s debut will satisfy fans of The Magnificent Seven, Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger, and HBO’s Westworld.
Review by Nara

Devils Unto Dust was an excellent book. The writing was fantastic, with there being language and tone reminiscent of a Western. Willie's voice is quite distinct and instantly grabs your attention as the reader. She is living in a brutal world, and I did like how it was quite realistic in that not everyone can survive.

I think the premise on face value was actually relatively unoriginal, with that sort of zombie tale having been told before, but it was so excellently executed that that didn't really matter. Basically, it's a zombie book with the heroine needing to pass through a dangerous wasteland full of zombies to track down her father (who has left her in a lot of debt with deadly debt collectors after her). As seems to be the tradition these days with zombie novels, they're not called "zombies" but "shakes", but of course we all know they're just zombies and for some reason the people in the novel don't call them that...

The plot is fun and action packed, and has a very fast pace that would work quite well as a movie or TV show (leaning towards movie because I think the whole story could fit nicely into a single film). I could also see a sequel or companion novel set in the same world, because the story was left relatively open, and much more of the world could be explored. For example, I'm rather curious as to what is happening in the "North" and why they're just content to leave the South as a zombie filled wasteland.

Overall, an excellent novel. Recommended to fans of post-apocalyptic novels.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 2/5