Suffer The Children by Craig DiLouie is a book that takes a look two of people’s worst fears. That being the death of your children and the end of life as we know it. The story starts simply enough by showing people dealing with the ups and downs of a normal life. Then the unthinkable happens, within a 24 hour period all children who have not reached puberty suddenly die. Doctors call the disease Herod’s Syndrome and there is no cure. As the world mourns the death of over a million children, they are shocked when the dead children start coming back to life.
The children return to their parents but they are not the same. They ask their parents for blood,scientists can’t explain it but the only way to keep the world’s children alive is to let them drink blood. When they do the children come back to life but only for a short time and each time they die and come back, they lose a little bit more of themselves. The question Suffer The Children asks is How far will a parent go to save their child?
That description of the book sold me, vampire children rising from the dead and their parents have to get them blood to drink, now that sounds like a great horror novel. This is not that kind of horror novel though, which leads me to my only complaint about the book. I would have liked to see a little more action and scary moments, but this is more of a character driven story. This book focuses on the psychological horror that parents go through when they lose a child and the science behind the disease that is causing all this to happen.
In Suffer The Children, blood is a high-priced commodity and desperate people will do anything to get it. Society is crumbling slowly and everyone feels it. One of my favorite scenes in this book was when a woman asks a priest to read a eulogy for her dead children. The priest tells her no, not because he is busy but because everything he ever believed was a lie and he doesn’t want to do a ceremony. He then says that he always liked the woman but can’t keep doing what he is doing. I loved how each character changes in the story.
Another example is when one woman blames herself for her son’s death and regrets that sometime she thought more of herself than her kid. She then does some disturbing things to make sure her son has the blood he needs. Another character named Doug goes from a caring father into a raging drunk when his kids die but when he finds out that his kids can be brought back, he gets the blood they need by becoming a criminal. Doug is kind of presented as being a villain of sorts in Suffer The Children but I found myself liking the character because I didn’t see him as bad. Doug was doing what he had to do to keep his kids alive because he looked at it as his purpose. Suffer The Children is a different type of apocalypse thriller and examines people’s worst fears on a personal level. I loved how the book ended and I’m hoping for a sequel.