Friday, November 7, 2014
Book Review: Suffer the Children
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to those who get creeped out by evil blood-hungry children
Publisher: Permuted Press (imprint of Simon and Schuster)
Released: May 2014
Craig DiLouie walks a fine line between horror and the absolutely horrific in his latest novel Suffer the Children when one day, without warning and for no immediately apparent reason, all of the children, all across the globe, die. Amid the ensuing confusion, as grieving parents prepare their little ones for mass burial, the cause is discovered. They're calling it Herod's Syndrome - a parasite that resides inside every living person. What caused it to active and why it only affected the pre-pubescent is still unknown, and the world is forced to consider the inevitable. No more children will mean the eventual end of humanity.
Three days later, however, as the town of Lansdowne, Michigan's sanitation department begins to collect the bodies for burial, the children awaken and return home to their parents. Bloated with gas and in the early stages of decay, they reek of rot and moan about hunger. But they refuse the food their parents put in front of them. Because this is a different kind of hunger. They hunger for blood.
The average human body contains ten pints of blood. One pint will keep a child "awake" for an hour. Without it, the parasite stops functioning and they return to that state of rotting, stinking death. How far would you go to save your children? How much would you give to keep them alive? And at what costs? And when you can't give any more? What then?!
DiLouie paints a very somber picture of the lengths a parent will go to in order to protect and defend their family. He plays around with religion and politics - rising from the dead on the third day; blood sacrifice; the economic collapse caused by a world suddenly without children - no more need for school teachers, pediatricians, clothing, toys; the rise of black market blood, cleverly renamed "medicine"; and the depths to which people will sink to keep their kids "fed".
It really is a terrifying thought. Helplessly watching your child die right before your very eyes, grieving the sudden loss, and then having them return to you in this unbelievable undead state. Like a second chance, like an act of God. Though you can now help them, these children have the upper hand. They demand, they need, they REQUIRE your blood to survive. As a mother, how could not provide it? How could you live with yourself? Sit there and watch the light and life fade from your precious babies? How could you let them slip back into death when your very veins carry the cure for them? How could you not push your body to the limit? How could you not beg friends and family to give until it hurts them too? And what if they refuse? Would you TAKE it from them?! Your children, their very lives, depend on you now in ways you could never have imagined.
Suffer the Children takes vampirism to a new, chilling level as DiLouie masterfully tugs at your heartstrings while terrifying the shit out of you.