Book Review: Devils Unto Dust

Devils Unto Dust
Published By: Greenwillow
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Page Count: 488
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Young Adult - Paranormal

Willie lives in one of those fictional worlds that I am so thankful is not my own. Her life would be hard regardless with a dead mother and a deadbeat father who only comes home to sleep off alcohol or take what little money Willie has been able to scrounge together in an attempt to keep herself and three younger siblings alive. To make matters worse, Willie lives in a desert town in Texas where nothing much grows except snakes, but even that isn't the biggest problem Willie faces on a daily basis. Avoiding an illness that turns you into a shakes is her top priority - especially after watching her mother succumb to the affliction.

The novel opens on a typical morning at Willie's house as she wrangles her younger siblings and makes plans for their survival, but things take a turn for the worst when a hunter shows up demanding to know her father's whereabouts. Willie is at a loss, but she is more frustrated when she learns her father has stolen a substantial amount of money and now her neck is on the line for the payment. Trying to come up with the funds will lead Willie into dangerous territory as she heads out into the desert on her search.

Willie is strong and fiercely protective of her family. She will do anything to keep her siblings safe; this bond was one of my favorite aspects of the novel.

As you can probably predict, things aren't going to be sunshine and roses for Willie once she hits the desert. The environment itself is brutal enough, but add the shakes into the equation, and the whole endeavor is downright deadly. Berquist creates a gorgeously detailed setting that brought me into the moment - even in those times when I wanted to run for the hills. I love when authors use their setting so masterfully that it almost becomes a character.

I'm not usually one to jump on a novel with western flair and zombies aren't my favorite supernatural being, but I ended up enjoying this one in spite of it being beyond my comfort zone. I also might have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't recently read another zombie novel, Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. These two novels have little in common aside from strong female heroines and undead marauders, but I wish I had spread them out a bit more.

A word of caution - I would prepare yourself for some tense moments, a few gruesome scenes, and expecting that some characters won't make it to the end. It's rare for all the characters to make it out unscathed when zombie like creatures are out and about. 

This is a strong debut and Bequist is an author to watch.

One Last Gripe: I wanted to know more about the origins of the shakes.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The family dynamics

First Sentence: Life out here is hard, my mother used to say, so you have to be harder.

Favorite Character: Willie

Least Favorite Character: Yancey

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.


  1. This was one I was very interested in, but never got around to reading my e-galley. I need to check it out from the library. Your review makes me think I want to read it for sure. Great review!


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