Every child in the world—dead. Instantly. After three days, all the children come back. The caveat: they need blood to survive. Kick that idea around a bit. Visualize how that pays off. Author Craig DiLouie describes the ramifications of that scenario in this book, SUFFER THE CHILDREN.
When thinking of this book, you’d be correctly astute to imagine words like pandemonium, terror, and chaos. Parents doing anything to protect their kids, and keep them alive. I know this may sound like a cheesy comparison, but imagine that plant crying “feed me, Seymour” from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, but millions of times over. Every kid, asking their parents for more blood, or else they die again. Things got pretty gruesome for Seymour—picture that on a global level.
DiLouie does bring us, as the reader, around the globe a bit, but primarily focuses on the stories of about a dozen characters within one community. Each of the families are unique enough to show how different people react to this terrifying situation. The build-up takes about twenty percent of the book (it may help you to keep a running list of characters, especially due to common names) and then it takes off. The pace of the book dips back to a meandering pace again towards the quarter end of the book.
The pacing is an issue here. Given the topic, this book should be full throttle terror. A slow build-up burn is fine, but the author lets up on the gas as the conclusion nears. This is a big no-no. The other issues I have are the dialogue and incongruities. The dialogue could have been snappier, more poignant, but felt trite and dull in many parts. Small disparities are throughout. One quick example: the alive-again kids don’t have vital signs, except for the resurrected baby still in the womb. Various things like that slide through the cracks. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they do have an effect on the overall enjoyment (I feel like a sick bastard for saying I enjoyed a zombie/vampire kid book) of the writing.
I want to say thanks to the Gallery and Simon & Schuster folks for providing me with an electronic review copy of this book. Maximum levels of creepy, which will please many fans.
Be sure to check out the author’s site for info about the book and to see its trailer: http://craigdilouie.com/
Also, ScienceFiction-dot-com gives this book 4.5 atoms out of 5. Here is their review: http://sciencefiction.com/2014/02/08/book-review-suffer-children/