Thursday, June 18, 2015

Suffer the Children-Craig DiLouie

Suffer the Children-Craig DiLouie
the facts
satisfaction: up/side
pages: 352
gender: M
nationality: USA
year: 2014
novel
A sudden disease (Herod's Syndrome) strikes down all the children. When they return to life, they demand blood.
I'm not the sort who is all idealistic about children and I've been known to regard them with difficult-to-disguise mild horror so I guess if I said how horrifying the children in this novel are, you'd not really be able to conceive of how utterly creepy DiLouie makes them. But that's the main image I retain of the novel. DiLouie's prose conveying the switch between the child a parent recognizes and the monsters demanding blood. This horror story begins early-the victims you feel most keenly for are what changes as the novel progresses. There's never any sense that it will get better (after all, the children died first) and so you know that this novel will not have a happy ending but you can't stop reading through all the attempts to understand and deal with this catastrophe unfold. That is, if you make it past the character introductions. Multiple points of view to really drive home what is to be lost makes for a slow start in a world that is our own (thus the world-building could have been shorter) but DiLouie handles the switches of points of view well without relying on events to remind you of the perspective (i.e. the prose and events work together to tell you whose point of view you're experiencing).

This is true apocalyptic. There is no ability to plan for it and there is no escaping it (those fantasies argued over after horror movies-"those characters were idiots, we'd survive by....") and represents a unique premise on both the global and personal level. I just didn't expect that ending to hit me so hard! Especially when I spent much of the first part of the book either a bit bored (slow pacing) or scoffing at the implausibility ("yeah, because a parasite would work that fast" goes my disbelief/sarcastic voices)

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