January 11, 2019

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 6:05 pm by suebe2

Devils Unto Dust
by Emma Berquist
Greenwillow Books

When I picked up Devils Unto Dust, I picked it up for the setting – the Texas desert.  I’ve got a sweet spot for the alpine desert of West Texas. Once I realized that this probably wasn’t my desert – too flat – I had been hooked by the story.

Willie is a survivors.  You have to be when you life in Glory, Texas.

Her parents homesteaded there looking to build a life for their family.  But after the Civil War the rains failed.  Farmers and families struggled.  Then came the sickness.  No one recovers and, before they up and die, the afflicted attack those around them biting and clawing with a savage hunger.

It’s what happened to her mother only she never got to the point that she attacked her own children.  Willie saw to that.

Now in 1877 it’s just Willie and her younger siblings.  Their father has disappeared again but before he goes he steals a gambler’s winnings and sets the law on his family.  Find the money to repay the debt or be put beyond the safety of the wall.

Willie uses money she doesn’t have to pay two young hunters to guide her across the desert after her father. If she can get the money back, she can pay everyone off.  Then she’ll have the space to find a way for their family to survive.

Willie loves the desert – the heat and the sun and the space.  But the space can also work against you because you can only carry so much water and sand storms are always a risk.  She isn’t even sure how far she can trust the two men she’s paid off.

I’m not going to say any more about the plot because there’s no way to do it without giving too much away.  This is definitely a teen book.  There are zombies and there is death.  There is also alcohol and there are references to sex and an attack but anyone who attacks Willie is a fool.  That said, before things are said and done, Willie learns that she can’t do it all on her own and that, if you pick the right people, it is okay to trust.

I have to say that I wish there had been more books for teens like this back in the olden days when I was a teen.  I could have used a heroine like Willie.  And if there’s a second book – I’ll be in line to get it.



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