Book Review: Suffer the Children (Spoiler Free)

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As promised, a novel of terror. Let me just start right off by letting you know, this read is not for the book worm who is tender of heart. This one had been on my radar for a while, so I was super pleased when it arrived in my (first ever!!) Nocturnal Readers box. The author, Craig DiLouie, is new to me. Here Mr. DiLouie tackles that ever taboo topic in horror of, “BAD STUFF HAPPENING TO CHILDREN.” So, if that’s a turn off for you, consider yourself warned! I’m not totally heartless or anything, by the way. I love kids. I’m a proud auntie! It’s hard to read about scary things happening to children, it raises the stakes. And it makes every wicked thing that more insidious, tugging on the heartstrings. Personally, I do better with my horror fiction involving kids if the foe is supernatural. I don’t take a great interest in the all too real, indisputable abuse of kids that happens in our world every day being used for a plot device. And I think that anyone who hurts a child can burn in hell. But trust me, the kid’s are not really the victims in this story. This blog is proof alone that I adore a good spooky tot in my scary movies, and this book is no different. Okay, now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s chat about Suffer the Children.

I love reading apocalyptic fiction. And it tickles me when an author can put a new spin on the genre. A crisis has happened out of nowhere on a global level. ALL the children in the world suddenly fall over dead. Just DIE. No warning, no obvious illness, just done. We see a glimpse of this mysterious tragedy from multiple perspectives of parents living in a small suburb of Lansdowne Michigan. The young-lings bodies are barely in the ground when something miraculous happens. As quickly as they died, the kiddos come back! They’re not quite alive, but not silent corpses anymore either. In fact, they’re personalities and memories are intact. However, their reanimation comes at a cost. Let’s just say the little sweeties are hungry.

Are you tempted yet? Intrigued? I hope so. I devoured this dark, and disturbing tale. Enjoy!

Book Review: This Savage Song (SPOILER FREE)

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I’m back again with some YA spookiness for you all.

CORSAI, CORSAI, TOOTH AND CLAW

SHADOWN AND BONE WILL EAT YOU RAW.

MALCHAI, MALCHAI, SHARP AND SLY, SMILE AND BITE AND DRINK YOU DRY.

SUNAI, SUNAI, EYES LIKE COAL. SING YOU A SONG AND STEAL YOUR SOUL.

MONSTERS, MONSTERS, BIG AND SMALL.

THEY’RE GONNA COME AND EAT YOU ALL.

-Victoria Schwab

This was my first ever Victoria Schwab book!! I’ve definitely been meaning to pick her up, but you know how it is. So many books, so little time. Anyway, I will absolutely be reading more from her. Our story follows two teens in a semi-dystopian/alternate version of our own world. Some time after the Vietnam War ended, things took a darker tone here in America (I assume it’s just America? I actually don’t know for sure…). Whenever a violet act is committed against another, a monster is born. As the playground rhyme above tells us, there are three different types of monster. There are the Corsai, the Malchai (my favorite!), and the very rare, Sunai. One of the young leads is a guy named August, who happens to be a Sunai. August lives with his adoptive human family, the Flynn’s. He looks like an ordinary person, but he’s actually more like an angel of death in disguise. August longs to be “normal” and shuns his existence.

Our other main character is Kate Harker. She’s no monster; but she wishes she was. Her father is a ruthless, cunning, and powerful man. He rules over half of V-City, selling costly protection from the monsters who would rather be feasting on the citizens. The other portion of the city is Flynn territory. August’s father leads a military militia fighting the monsters free of charge to help keep the people safe, and the darkness at bay. You can see how these two are clearly on opposing sides, right?

Both start as the new kids in high school on the Harker side of things. Kate is trying to prove that she can live up to her family name. Meaning to be feared, to be brutal, and ultimately, to win her dad’s admiration. No one knows August’s true identity, and that he is attending as a spy. He’ll be watching Kate, and gathering information for his faction. It isn’t long before things start to go off the rails, and both Kate and August are thrown into the fray.

I realllllly liked this book, guys. Kate and August were both totally compelling characters to read with refreshing perspectives. The stakes felt higher than usual with these two kids. They’re both outcasts struggling to fit in, but not in the normal way you find in most YA horror books. Their problems are made even more unique by this hellish world they live in. I was really struck by the unique premise of this book, and I can’t really think of a plot device that comes close. If you can, tell me! I would love to read more stories like this. Needless to say, I look forward to the second half of this story arriving in June.

More books for horror fans…

Here are some books I’ve read recently that my fellow horror fans may dig.

Doctor Sleep-Stephen King

All hail the King. This little gem is a sequel to “The Shining.” Now we get to catch up on what the devil Danny Torrance has been up to since childhood. It wasn’t exactly happily ever after upon leaving the Overlook hotel. Dan, as he’s now known, finds himself coming to the aid of a young girl named Abra who “shines” as well. Abra and all the other children with the shine are in danger from a nasty evil cult called the True Knot. These cultists look innocent, harmless, and non threatening. Just boring “RV-ers” you pass at truck stops and campgrounds all over America. When in actuality they sustain themselves by kidnapping  psychically gifted kids and slowly torturing them in order to “drink” in the psychic, magical steam they let off upon dying. I don’t like to spoil books, so just trust me when I say this one did not disappoint me. If you’ve read the Shining you will obviously get more out of this story since it is the sequel. Duh. 😉

Mr. Mercedes-Stephen King

Why stop at one Uncle Stevie book? For those who don’t know, King is one of my favorite authors. When I was in 8th grade, we had to pick a person we considered to be our hero to make a report on. This was to be someone from pop culture or history who we didn’t know but that we greatly admired. I was the only kid to pick an author, and it was you-know-who. The love is still strong to this day! Anyway, Mr. Mercedes was a fun little departure. I tweeted the author himself upon completion that these were some of my favorite characters of his that I’ve met. Our hero is newly retired detective Bill Hodges who remains haunted by a case he never closed. A crazy bastard in a stolen Mercedes plowed into a line of people waiting to get into a job fair at the height of the recession. Said weirdo then sends Hodges a letter basically taunting him and encouraging the man to take his own life. Only Hodges uses this opening as a chance to solve the case once and for all. Along the way he picks up a rad rag-tag little team to help him. Oh, and we also get very intimately (and chillingly)  acquainted with the killer, “Mr. Mercedes” himself, Brady Hartsfield. I encourage you all to continue you King education and give this one a read!

Seed, The Bird Eater, and The Shuddering- Ania Ahlborn

I love this lady. She spins a good horror yarn, my friends. I already talked about one of her books, The Neighbors, in a previous post. All three of these books were total page turners for me. Ania has made me a loyal fan and life-long reader for certain. Seed is about a man running from a childhood filled with horror, only to find that as an adult he is far from safe from this evil he thought he escaped. In fact, the damn thing was just waiting. Trust me when I say, shit gets really creepy… The Bird Eater is about a guy named Aaron. He is another fellow who thought he was escaping childhood trauma to once again have it revisit him and making him question his own sanity in the process. Maybe you could think of it as a haunted house novel of sorts. But it is really much more than that. These two books may sound similar, but really each is quite unique. I am really cautious to give away too many plot details since neither book is particularly long.  The Shuddering may be my favorite. The scenario is the classic “cabin the woods” vibe, only Anhlborn puts her own twist on it with the terrible monsters she pits our “heroes” against, painting a great visual in my mind of these savage and blood thirsty creatures. It made me glad I don’t live in a place where it snows…

Dark Places- Gillian Flynn

God knows I loved Gone Girl.  We all did, right? I think I may have liked this one by Flynn even more. Libby Day was the sole survivor of a “Santanic Massacre” at the hands of her own brother that resulted in her whole family being murdered. Years later she’s a pretty screwed up adult who is running out of money. So when a group of true crime enthusiasts (the “Kill Club”) offer to pay her  to uncover what really happened that night, she goes for it. You see, not every one is convinced her brother Ben was actually was the killer. But digging in the past makes Libby confront the demons and secrets she never really faced until now. As the name implies, Libby has to go into some shady places. Both of the novels I’ve read by Flynn really blew me away. She really brings her characters to life in a way I don’t think all authors are able to do. Libby herself was really fantastic. I found myself getting super attached to this seemingly “unlikable” person and really rooting for her. The novel also touches upon all those cases of “Satanic Panic” murders carried out by young people, this is a topic I find really interesting so I dug that.

Anyway, please go read any or all of these books. All would be preferable. 🙂