52 Book Challenge: Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

25 Aug

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{Proceed with caution, light spoilers all up in this bitch}

This is a book I’ve been anticipating for a long time. There was a lot of hype surrounding it, and it was on my “to read” list for months before the release. I mean, the idea is just so insidiously deviant: all the children of the world die, at once, and are revived several days later… but they aren’t the same. In fact, the only way they can be kept alive is by ingesting blood, which they beg their parents for.

Suffer the Children is a slow burn horror. In fact, the resurrection only happens about halfway through. The first few chapters introduce us to the main players we’ll be following: a family with two happy children, a single mother, and a doctor & his wife who lost their only son several years ago. The family dynamics are quickly set up, and Craig DiLouie does a wonderful job at making well-rounded, flawed but likeable characters.

Then, the death. I was not expecting such emotional impact from these scenes. I suppose it’s because, well, the plot involves them coming back… but the parents do not know this. All of the scenes involving the deaths of the children, and the subsequent news coverage, were devastating. The mourning of the parents was just as horrific as any of the “true” horror in this book.

Of course, things get more and more twisted once the children “come back.” I say that in quotes, because… well, they are a little off until their parents figure out how to cure them. And a “feeding” only keeps them alive for a while. There are many directions DiLouie could have gone with this, since it’s a worldwide event, but we’re kept in the orbit of the previous three families in this small town.

The horror is slow, slow, but always mounting. Two thirds of the way in the tension is impossibly high. In fact, most of this book is pure emotional horror: there’s very little blood or violence until the last few chapters. And it has one of the most well-executed endings I’ve ever seen in a horror. Really, this is pretty much the epitome of a good horror novel: amazing plot, fascinating characters, and events that play out with frightening reality. You could see this happening in your town. You can feel the grief and terror. It’s horrible. It’s brilliant. Craig DiLouie is my new hero.

Rating

Book 57 Suffer the Children Lipstick Rating5 Full

 

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