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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Plague of Flies: Revolt of the Spirits, 1846 is a work of fiction in the historical, cultural, and fantasy subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author Laurel Anne Hill. As the title suggests, we find ourselves in the mid-nineteenth century in this action-packed story, where protagonist Catalina Delgado dreams of what her future will hold in terms of marriage and life among the cattle ranchers of Alta California. But a curse hangs over the young woman’s head, a promise that the mysterious Spirit Man would take Catalina away someday. So when invaders from the United States threaten her family and her future, Catalina must face the harsh realities of her past, present, and future at all once.
It is rare to find a work of historical fiction that blends its spiritual and fantasy elements into the plot in such a way that they appear totally realistic, but author Laurel Anne Hill has achieved it in this emotionally charged novel. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its visual quality, describing the historic features of what would someday be modern California, from the gritty way of life for the locals through to the vicious invaders ripping through the land to take whatever they lay claim to, without mercy. I also found the dialogue totally accessible for the intended YA audience, but it also gives a great sense of culture and history to the piece. Plague of Flies is a highly recommended read for fans of westerns and YA coming-of-age tales alike.