Like a car crash, Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie is tragic and horrifying, but no matter how much you may want to, you simply cannot look away.
DiLouie goes for the throat, hitting us where we are most vulnerable: our children.
This apocalyptic tale introduces us to Herod’s Disease, a virus that kills every child in the world without warning. The kids are buried, they are mourned, and then, they come back. They still look and act dead with the exception of their ability to walk and say a few words— sometimes expressed as screams in the night. They’re hungry and they’re asking for blood. Once fed, they return to their former selves. If they’re not fed, they die again. Their parents are forced to make sacrifices they never thought possible to keep their children alive.
How much blood would you shed to save your child?
This is an incredible book, equal parts heartbreaking and chilling. A true literary horror tale where the writing is as strong as the plot. This is not a book for readers looking for a simple gorefest. While there are some grisly scenes, the true horror of this novel lies in the ebbing humanity of desperate people. At times watching these characters make terrible choices to save their children is painful to read. In particular, because these characters are us. These are characters you can relate to whether you have children or not.
While I was impressed with DiLouie’s characterization, I was initially put off by the slow start to the novel and the barrage of characters introduced up front. There are four primary points-of-view: a husband and wife, a pediatrician, and a single mom. I’m always skeptical when an author chooses to use multiple points-of-view, but DiLouie handled it as a true master of the craft. The languid introduction of each character is necessary to show us what is at stake— what each of these characters has to lose. I appreciated the unique viewpoints of each character and their separate journeys made for a compelling read.
This is not a book for sensitive readers. If you cannot handle reading about children in pain or dying, this is not the book for you. However, if you want a book that is intelligent, terrifying, and unique you won’t be disappointed. Suffer the Children is not only one of the most original vampire tales I’ve read, it is one of the best horror novels that I have come across in a long time. As a mother, this one got me where I live and continues to haunt me. A book you won’t soon forget.
Suffer the Children
AUTHOR: Craig DiLouie
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2014
LENGTH: 352 pages