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Book Review: The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics

Harlequin Teen
Title: The Ravenous 
Author: Amy Lukavics
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult
Subgenre: Horror

Words cannot describe how excited I was to read this book. I love Amy Lukavics' first book, Daughters Unto Devils (you can read my glowing review of it here). It was an original and fresh novel that mixed two of my favorite genres: historical fiction and horror in a perfectly combined way, like a book version of a Reese's peanut butter cup. I wasn't that big of a fan of the her second book, The Women in the Walls, which I really wanted to love, but it didn't have that same riveting quality that I found in Daughters Unto Devils. But once I heard that the author had a new book coming out called The Ravenous...well, I was hooked by the name right away and was counting down the days till I could read it!

The story focuses on the five Cane sisters. Their father is in the army and always stationed overseas and visits rarely, while their mother, who still resides at home, is severely depressed, resents the fact that she had children, and is a frequent prescription pill user who'd rather be in bed than raise her daughters. Because of this, intense, fierce, and sometimes cruel oldest daughter Juliet has taken the role of matriarch of the girls, with the second oldest sister Taylor always following closely behind, always imitating her older sister in the hopes of earning her favor. Anya and Mona (who's perspective is our view into the story) are the middle and second youngest girls, respectively, only a year apart, and used to be close but have now grown apart and barely speak. And the youngest Cane sister, Rose, is a sweet soon to be twelve year old and seemingly the only bright light and unifying force in this otherwise dark and fractured family.

From Mona's view, we learn more about the history of the family, the complicated relationships between all five sisters, and the ways they all try to cope with being trapped at home with a mother who wishes she'd never given birth to them. Tensions are unusually high on the morning of Rose's birthday because their mother has decided to come down from her room after a bender and throws off the somewhat normal household the girls have whenever their mother isn't fully there. After Juliet and their mom get into the inevitable fight that happens whenever their mother is slightly sober, Rose is accidentally killed. The other Cane sisters are devastated but their mother, suddenly hysterically maternal, insists that she knows a way to fix this and takes Rose's body, promising to bring her back to life. And much to the girls' disbelief, when their mother comes back from her trip, Rose is with her too. Alive.

The events after that are desperate and frazzled efforts to keep Rose alive and healthy. Because Rose needs a certain food to stay alive (or medicine, as they tell Rose, keeping the real ingredient a secret from her). And when her older sisters find out what that ingredient is by discovering what their mother left hidden in the basement, they realize that they have to do whatever it takes to keep Rose alive. Even if that means killing.

The Ravenous is fraught with emotion, tension and terrifying and sickening moments that show just how strong that sisterly love and sacrifice can be. The fact that the older Cane sisters can't stand one another but they love Rose enough to come together (some unwillingly) to commit horrendous and immoral acts to keep her just shows how much Rose represents that normal and happy life they all secretly want for their family. But another thought comes to mind: are they really being kind to Rose by keeping her alive or are they selfish by keeping her in this life when she should really be in the next one?

I could have read the book in about an evening, but decided to prolong it as much as I could because I was enjoying it so much. It's not my usual horror read, but the author writes so well and creates such complex and interesting characters, especially the five Cane sisters (The Ravenous has some parallels with The Virgin Suicides and is even mentioned in the book when the girls are watching the movie on TV) that I just couldn't put it down. It was still just as creepy as my preferred supernatural read and that feeling of anxiety and dread dripped throughout the entire book, even to the very last page. It's a different take on horror, but one that is done so well it almost redefines that certain horror genre, thanks to the emotional pull and the strain between the sisters. The Cane girls showed us what sisterly loyalty looks like at its very best... and at its very worst.


Where to Buy: Pick up or download a copy of The Ravenous now and start reading!

That was my review of The Ravenous! What did you all think? It was literally the perfect book to read in Halloween/October! Does it seems like a story you'd like? Do you have any recommendations for a scary book to read around Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
2 comments on "Book Review: The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics"
  1. Ok, I'm convinced!! I'm downloading it on my Kindle tonight! I've been in such a book rut lately and this sounds right up my alley! I'm also in denial that it's spring right now but also, reading a good horror book and pretending its fall sounds perfect too. Haha. Thank you for the awesome review!

    1. Yay! You're so welcome! I hope you enjoy its creepiness and get into the holiday spirit- even though it's spring where you are ;) Let me know how you like it! Or if you don't, haha. And thank you! I had so much fun writing the review!


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