Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie: Book Review

Updated: Jun 27

CW: child death, blood, gore


All the children die in one day. There is no warning, no explanation, but they all drop like flies. The world's in shambles. Until they come back to life. Families are reunited and filled to the brim with exuberant joy to have their little ones back in their arms. Yet they are shattered versions of the children they once were, once happy children become walking ghosts in the home. The only way to bring them back is through blood, and a lot of it. And parents will do anything to feed their child.



What makes Suffer the Children a compelling novel is the overview of a wide scale tragedy on both a macro, but most importantly a micro level. We follow three characters: a single mother, a doctor whose son passed a few years prior, and the traditional family man who provides for his home, and all within the confines of a small suburb. It's an original and creative take on the traditional vampire story, intermixed with a thrilling literary horror and dreadful dystopia.

The real horror of this book is the realization that if this were to take place, one can easily imagine the horrific outcomes would mirror those in the novel. The price gouging on blood, the slang used on Craigslist to get around the bots. People would obviously exhaust their own blood supply, but what happens when that runs out? Of course people would turn cruel. Of course local police would abuse their power. At every turn, it had me shaking my head and going oh, now that would definitely happen. It's turned me cynical at the selfish ideals of American society, but that's the emotional response that the author intends to inflict upon the reader.

I loved it because it explored the lives of three characters that were simply trying their best. They succeeded, they failed, but never at any point is it difficult to sympathize with characters that if I met in everyday life, I'd hold a hint of scorn. Because at the end of the day, these are just parents that want to provide for their children and who can blame them. I've never been put in that situation, but if I were, I know what choices I'd make and that's what terrifies me more.

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