While I liked the premise of Devils Unto Dust and it was entertaining, it seemed a little predictable. There was great genre mashing and an interesting premise, but a lot of it read – to me – as telling (versus showing).
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.
Okay so this was a solid middle of the road book for me. I wasn’t overly enthralled, but I didn’t dislike it. Because of that, I want to break this down in bullet points because I think that will be easiest for all of us (also it seemed punny because there’s a lot of shooting in the book).
- I loved that it was a Genre mash up between a Western and the sickness that is pretty similar to zombies – I mean come on people.
- I enjoyed the family dynamic between Willie and her siblings – even if I wanted more of it
- Willie had some aspects that I really loved – like she had doubts about her life and whether this was it for her.
- The setting was remarkable here – you feel the heat radiating off the pages.
The Not as Good
- There was a lot of telling versus showing. I love when I have to figure things out for myself. But Berquist does a lot of telling. Some people could argue that maybe that is more indicative of the YA genre as a whole, but I’ve read some excellent YA books where it’s more about showing. It’s about showing feelings or actions, rather than just straight out telling us things.
- For example, one of the things I liked in this is that the shakes are obviously dangerous and monstrous, but the outlaws are the more dangerous. They are the more reckless and the least human – even compared to zombies. But this was outright told to us. There were plenty of incidents that showed it to us and allowed us to see it. Yet Berquist still went ahead and told us.
- In some ways I found this pretty predictable.
You can find Devils Unto Dust on Goodreads.