Not even a million of God’s animal-shaped Ministers can save people this time around. The end of the world is here, and 12-year-old Merciful Truth and her older brother, Gospel, are among the last left standing.
In this vivid horror novel set in a cabin in the woods, Merciful and her wild brother, who is “halfway to the Devil,” are not quite home alone. Their mother’s corpse is decomposing under the kitchen table as there’s too much snow outside to bury her, and the Minister, a shape-shifting, God-appointed “made thing,” pads about the house murmuring its daily gospel. Worse still, Mama isn’t staying dead. Is that milky-eyed corpse singing “Hush, little baby” in their late papa’s rocking chair their once-crazy mama, or is it a “ghost angel” from a faraway world of cities and science? This is full-on horror, complete with putrid undead, a world-devouring fog and creepy ballerina music boxes. Merciful’s frank, down-home, first-person voice is steady and true as she navigates not only the challenges of pioneer-style survival and the impending apocalypse, but also tricky relationships with God, the newly undead, the enigmatic Minister and her embittered brother.
Faith and hopelessness swirl like snow in a winter storm in this scary but terrific debut novel with a fresh, engaging voice. (Fantasy/horror. 13 & up)