From an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.
Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?
In Suffer the Children Craig DiLouie takes the idea of an illness tha kills all the world’s children and turns them into vampires, but the vampires aren’t the scariest thing about this book. It’s the reactions of the parents when faced with impossible choices that make Suffer the Children a book that I won’t forget.
Suffer the Children is told from the perspective of three different families – single mother Ramona, Megan and Nate and their parents, and Dr. David Harris. Although I’m not the biggest fan of multiple POV’s, DiLouie does a great job in Suffer the Children – all of the characters are fully realised and individual, as are their stories.
Herod’s Syndrome sweeps across the world in a macbre wave, killing children instantly. This in itself is rather unique plotline as opposed to the gradual spread of illness in most PA novels – it’s literally a Mexican wave of death. Which is kinda cool when you think about it in a really detached way. Several days later, the children seemingly come back to life – not in the anatomical sense, but enough to be mobile and find their way back to their parents. It’s only once the parents realise that blood is the only thing that can save their children, even temporarily, that things start to get really messy.
Of course, law and order breaks down, people do crazy things to spend just a few precious minutes with their children and eventually anything to get a little blood, as is demonstrated by some of the main characters, and it’s a rather frightening scenario.
David is the only character without children, but he’s a paediatrician – and so his perspective is very much from both sides of the coin – the children need blood to ‘live’ but the parents are slowly killing themselves by giving that blood. And I really liked him as a character – he doesn’t give in to peer pressure and continues to try and do the ‘right’ thing, despite the fact his wife believes completely the opposite.
I had expected Suffer the Children to be almost completely focused on the blood sucking ankle biters, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s not so much about the children, but far more about the adults – parents react in a very different way to people without children, but it’s all rather disturbing what people will do to save their children.
Suffer the Children is first rate horror – it’s not just a gore-fest, it’s a book that really made me think about human nature and the lengths that people will go to for those they love. Unique, thought-provoking and completely captivating, it’s a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and can highly recommend – even if you don’t normally enjoy horror.