Devils Unto Dust
By: Emma Berquist
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Bang Bang Review
After a virus killed her mother, Will is left to take care of her three younger siblings. Will’s father, a gambler and drunk, stole money from a zombie hunter and the hunter threatens to hurt her siblings if Will doesn’t return the money. Will hires two hunters to help her travel to find her father. Simple plot? Yes but there are a whole bunch of ways to screw it up.
Let’s begin by saying that this book is 500 freakin’ pages with a whole bunch of short chapters.
Devils began well enough with a teen girl who is left to care for her family in a zombie/virus infested world. There’s some initial tension build up but that fades pretty quickly as there’s little to no world building or nuanced characters. We don’t learn what year it is until midway through and that’s not neccessarily a problem but it would have helped to picture the world since the author didn’t. I hate when new worlds are told in first person! In some books such as Dread Nation, the world is info-dumped-no bueno. In this book, we’re barely told anything.
Another problem with 1st person POV is that if the main character dies, the story abruptly ends. At one point, Will gets sick and the author tries to create an intensity of her impeding death but we know she’s not going to die because SHE’S TELLING THE STORY! Some authors have killed the 1st person POV but it’s at the end of the story not the middle.
The writing was elementary. There were several instances in the book where Will and her fourteen year old brother argue like children and not people who have had to grow up really quickly because their parents left. “She started it.” Yes, this is a sentence uttered in this book a couple of times. There were pages of these pointless and juvenile arguing and it became comical and humor was not the intention of the author. There was no substance to any of their conversations. When characters are placed in a situation of dire circumstance, they often have strong opinions of life and love and death but none of that happens in this book.
If you are looking for a good book about the meaning of life and family and hopes and dreams with meaning and insightful dialogue and strong and special characters, this ain’t it. I don’t read a lot of zombie books but I’d recommend In the After by Demitria Lunetta or reread The 5th Wave.