While the world outside succumbs to a fast-moving plague of horrific violence, Katie’s Amish community remains intact and at peace—for now.
Katie’s been looking forward to venturing into the wider world and sampling its pleasures with Elijah, whom she expects to marry. Rumspringa, the Amish-youth rite of passage, won’t happen this year. Instead, their own world’s invaded, heralded by a helicopter crash in a cornfield. Trying to free the pilot, Katie is shaken to see glowing red eyes amid the smoking wreckage. An outsider family friend brings news of more catastrophes. Seeking Elijah's missing brothers in town, Katie and Elijah find it perplexingly abandoned. Although elders have decreed no one may enter or leave their community, when she discovers a Canadian outsider on the verge of death, Katie risks everything to save his life. Readers will find the misuse of “eh” jarring. (Canadians don’t start sentences with “eh,” but tack it onto the end for interrogative emphasis.) More importantly, the opposing forces feel mismatched. “What is good?” begs the question, “What is evil?” While Katie questions the faith and traditions she was raised with and wrestles with tough ethical dilemmas, her mindlessly rule-bound antagonists simply wreak senseless violence.
Philosophical quibbles aside, readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure, which has a companion title coming in 2013. (Horror. 12 & up)