6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An amazing book - truly terrifying in it's vision,
This review is from: Shade's Children (Paperback)
A warning to younger readers. This book isn't just scary, it is truly terrifying. I'm a big fan of Garth Nix and after i had finished reading the amazing Abhorsen Trilogy i was eager to try out more of his work and so got this.
Wow! What a surprise i got, this is a far more mature book, and while still aimed at a young audience, it deals with much, much darker themes than the aforementioned trilogy. To give you an overall idea of the feel of the book, imagine the film 28 Days Later. It is a world like that, devoid of almost all human life, where those remaining must be constantly wary of things ready to kill them in an instant. The world of Shade's Children is 100 times more terrible, mutant-cyborg creatures controlled by a mysterious force patrol the land making any kind of travel night-on-impossible.
The only remainder of the human population are enslaved by these creatures, and when children reach a certain age, they are taken away, killed, and their body parts used to make more 'creatures'. This vision alone is terrifying but as you will discover when you read the book, far worse is yet to come.
You follow the character of Gold-Eye in his escape from enslavement and struggle to survive in the remnanats of a shattered world. The plot is tense in the constant threat of danger that permeates every scene and believe me, if a book was ever deserving of the title 'unputtdownable' it is this one - seriously, i was addicted. Fans of stuff like Lost, Doctor Who, Torchwood and Heroes will love this kind of sci-fi-esque material and the way you gradually discover answers to questions throughout the novel. Many of the answers are provided in flash-back esque recordings, again, very Lost-esque and don't intrude with the plot at all. Instead, they only add to the gravity and power of the central plot.
Part of the appeal of Shade's Children is it's gritty feel - it's rough and ready yet at the same time slick and precise in a clinical kind of way. The reader isn't spared the gruesome details and by the end of the book you'll have been scared, shocked, revolted and amazed. The book also deals quite strongly with sexual issues, so again, caution for parents buying this for younger children.
For a book that isn't in fact that long, it feels truly epic. I'm not sure precicely what i think about the ending and i won't spoil what happens to anyone but i will say now that it is quite vague and is perhaps slightly dissapointing. Everything is resolved but nothing is specified, perhaps Nix's intention - allowing the reader to use their own imagination. Ultimately though, the ending doesn't matter when the journey getting there is so utterly enthralling. Truly, Shade's Children is one of the most terrifying, visonary and best books i have ever read.