Review: Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

Suffer the Children

$16.00; 352 pages; May 2014


By Craig DiLouie

Gallery Books

 “He stumbled toward his truck in a daze. He didn’t make it. He fell to his knees with a long primal cry of anguish. Behind him, panic had given way to shock and grief, the park quiet now except for intense sobbing and the odd scream. Across the entire park, not a single child was still alive.”-Suffer the Children, Craig DiLouie

Suffer the Children is an apocalyptic ride into a world where Pet Sematary meets The Lost Boys. It will have readers on the edge of their seats as they witness the effects of Herod’s disease and watch what parents will do to keep their children alive. It’s a terrifying masterpiece as DiLouie crafts monsters not out of the infected, but rather in those who are trying to find the cure. It’s a novel of blood, a novel of war, and it puts the reader right in the middle, forcing them to pick a side.

Told from the point-of-view of four characters, Joan, Ramona, David, and Doug, the story gives readers different perspectives on parenting from all walks of life, detailing that there isn’t just one way to raise and care for a child. There are parents that pray, parents that heal, and then there are those who threaten, who kill for their children, all in the name of bringing the dead back to life, even if it’s only for a day, even if it’s only for a few hours.

But it’s not just a matter of bringing them back.

It’s feeding them.

The children, infected with a parasite that hungers for blood, require the sacred wine to come back, and just a drop or two won’t work. Bloodletting, transfusions, and donations soon become a way of life, as do suicides and murders. The homeless are disappearing, families are turning against one another, and friendships are dying. The need to acquire blood comes before all else, and in a world where the healthy become a threats, every living person becomes a target, a solution. It’s every man for himself. The only problem is staying alive.

Suffer the Children gives readers the unique ability of becoming one of the characters in the book. Page after page, readers will question themselves, revisit their morals. What would you do to see your children again? How far would you go to bring them back? It’s a game of would-you-rather, a test for humanity, and everyone’s choice and everyone’s feelings will differ, but that’s what makes the novel so brilliant. It’s our lives and experiences that shape us into the people that we are, but it’s not until everything is taken away from us, when everything disappears and we’re staring down the barrel of a gun, that we find out what we’re actually made of. Man or monster, monster or man? This novel asks if there’s a difference between the two, and if there is, if we have the ability to separate one from the other when it comes down to family, when it comes down to love.

–Stephanie M. Wytovich

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