Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie is an adult novel that promises a fresh take on the apocalypse genre where children are dying, and then rising from their graves shortly thereafter, hungry only for blood.  It is marketed as horror novel that aims to pose the question: how far would YOU go for your children?

(Hi, everyone!  I'm back, finally.  I spent the last month busy with moving (packing and unpacking) in addition to work, of course.   We now have a fenced in yard for our dogs!  I'm so happy!)

 From an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod's Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were...but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to 
bring your child back?   

There was just so much I did not like about Suffer the Children.  I think part of the reason I pushed through it was due to the utter ridiculousness of the plot;  I had to see where that train was going to take me.  It took me fucking nowhere, that's where it took me.

So there's some disease that affects only children.  It sweeps the globe within a matter of hours, and causes all children in any given area to just immediately drop dead.  At the same time.  In unison.  Because that's how viruses work.  That is problem number one, and it's a big one.  That's just stupid.  I understand that the author didn't want to go into this aspect of the plot, but go just explain the death of every child under puberty on the planet in like one page is just not acceptable.  

The story is told in the perspective of several different characters that are all connected in some way, over the span of a few months.  The premise is as I described; all children die at exactly the same time, defying everything we know about science, and then rise from their graves a few days later, only to go into a waking sleep.  It's quickly discovered that the children are hungry for blood, and parents all over the world begin bleeding themselves to feed their children.  Once fed, any decomposition is immediately gone, and the children are their happy old selves.  But their children only stay awake for 1 hour per pint of blood.  Exactly one hour, down to the minute.  Science.  Then they die again, decompose, cycle repeat.  After a short time, parents are weak and bled out.  They need to find a blood source to sustain their children, if only for just a little each day.  BUT HOW?!

Now I know this entire story is extremely far-fetched, so you may be wondering why I question the science in a vampire book.  Well, simply put, when said vampire book has non-existent characterization, overall lack of anything happening at all, and with very little of the horror promised (aside from some ridiculous decisions the  parents in this nonsense faced), you tend to be a little picky. Would a more complex plot describing the slower and believable death of all children have made the novel better?  Probably not, but it would have made it a lot less ridiculous.  At least to me.

Slow throughout, with a slightly faster-paced ending, I unfortunately was not impressed at all with Suffer the Children; actual rating 1.5 stars.  

Please note:  This title was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher.  

Expected date of publication: May 20, 2014