Before The Devil Knows You’re Here is a captivating blend of folklore and mystery. A fast and well-crafted read that leaves you craving more.
1836, Wisconsin. Catalina lives with her pa and brother in a ramshackle cabin on the edge of the wilderness. Mamá died years ago, and the harsh winters have brought the family to the brink of starvation. Catalina has replaced her poet’s soul with an unyielding determination to keep Pa and her brother alive, period.
When Pa takes suddenly ill, Catalina tries everything to revive him. But as soon as the illness claims him, a strange man appearsa man covered in bark, leaves growing from his head, and sap dripping from his eyes. Before Catalina can stop him, he scoops up her brother and disappears, leaving behind a bird with crimson wings. She can’t let this manif that’s what he ishave her brother. With no idea where they’ve gone, she grabs Pa’s knife and Mamás jorongo and follows the bird.
Along the way, she finds help from a young lumberjack, who has his own reasons for hunting the Man of Sap. As their journey takes them deeper into the woods, they encounter strange beasts and tormented spirits who share secrets of the past. The more they uncover about the Man of Sap, the more they learn how deeply Catalina’s fate is entwined with his, planted long ago in cursed seeds.
Before The Devil Knows You’re Here is a fast and easy read. It’s a relatively short story, which I feel a bit sad about, to be honest. I think this could have been an amazing longer story to have a bit more depth in certain things. For example, Catalina’s poems. We don’t really get to see a lot of them, but the things we do read are very well done. It would have been amazing to read a bit more and get to know her better through her poems. The same could be said about her family. I felt like it would have given the story that little bit of extra to know her bond with the family more.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the story because it is absolutely well done! To turn Johnny Appleseed into something horrifying and make it about deals with the devil is simply amazing. Also, the fact that Catalina is inspired by the author’s own grandmother makes the character a bit more personal, which I loved! It definitely gave me this folklore feeling, and it could have been! It’s like a story you hear, and every time someone tells it, it’s a tad different.
My compliments to Autumn Krause because she did an amazing job writing Before The Devil Knows You’re Here. I am certainly going to check out her other books as well because I need more 😉
Autumn Krause’s Before The Devil Knows You’re Here is a captivating blend of folklore and mystery. While the story could have delved deeper into certain aspects, it remains a well-crafted and fast-paced read that lingers in your mind. Krause’s unique take on Johnny Appleseed and the personal touch of Catalina’s character make this book a must-read. It leaves you craving more of her storytelling.
Title: Before the Devil Knows You’re Here
Author: Autumn Krause
Publisher: Peachtree Teen