Suffer the Children


Suffer the Children by Graig DeLouie is an interesting combination of apocalyptic epidemic tale and a vampire novel. But it made me think more of P. D. James' The Children of Men than any vampire book, especially in the first half. One day all the children in the world who haven't reached puberty falls dead. The phenomena is named The Herod"s Syndrome after King Herod who murdered all the children in order to kill the Jewish messiah. Two days after the mass dying, the children come back to life. At first there seems little outward change and much celebration from the families. But soon, they begin to have a yearning for blood. If not quenched, they begin to die again.

DeLouie centers his tale around basically three group of people. A blue-collar couple with two children, a wealthier single mother with one somewhat over-protected son, and a pediatrician and his wife who recently lost their son before the syndrome. It is a good setup and through the eyes of these families, we also see the devastation of society after an event that may mean their extinction. Yet I'm not really sure what kind of novel the author intended this to be. For the first half, it is a good apocalyptic novel like the previously mentioned Children of God where no children were being born into the world. Suffer the Children does a better job at focusing on the individual loss while Children of God is more of a socio-philosophical commentary. The first half was both sad and enthralling. Yet when the children rise again, the book seems to be turning into a monster tale. The world is still disintegrating and families are forced to do terrible things to survive. However switching from Children of Men toDracula is simply too much of a change in gears. At the end, the monster portion of the story comes into clearer focus but it was way too late for this reader. The author also tried to explain what the Herod Syndrome is but it is just too much of a out of nowhere explanation let my mind suspend belief. The open endedness typical of a author hungry for a sequel doesn't help my opinion either.

So while this is a well written tale that held much promise, However, I didn't think it held together well enough for what the author was trying to do. It would have made a great post-apocalypical story or a promising revision of vampires. But both? Not this time.