review by Jacob Chon, age 16
Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
Devils Unto Dust is a zombie novel set in a post-Civil War era. Willie is just a girl trying to survive in the harsh, Midwestern desert. She lives in constant fear of the shakes—zombies who have lost every shred of who they once were. But the greater danger are the hunters who attack these shakes. When they are not hunting shakes, they torment and steal from those they swear to protect. Willie must learn to navigate her world and defend herself not just from threats outside of the town, but inside as well.
While some may enjoy this novel at face value, I personally found Devils Unto Dust to be somewhat trite and clichéd. Willie is far too much of a protective sister who must defend her family, and the darkness of humanity has been sufficiently explored that no new insight is offered in this book. Obviously, the world is well-built, but the novel introduces no groundbreaking concepts. Zombies, while a refreshing change of pace from natural disasters and the human-caused future of doom, are still squarely within the realm of dystopia. Although it may be well-written, it does not bring anything unique or new to the table, and it does not create any new discussions about the topic at hand. 3/5 stars.
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