Review: Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Permuted Press (May 20, 2014)

From  From an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction. 

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod's Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were...but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I will admit, I had my reservations when I agreed to read and review this novel. I don't typically for for things where "bad things" happen to children, however I felt that overall the question the synopsis raised was enough for me to take a chance. And I got more than I bargained for. 

This is one of those novels that takes hold of you from the very first moment, and doesn't let you go under the last word is read. Its a story about love and loss certainly, but there are so many other "psychological" aspects to this novel that I felt far out-shined any misgivings I had going into it. 

For starters, the novel itself alludes to the complete breakdown of society as we know it, not only in the small town of Lansdowne, where the story takes place, but all over the world. When the children first die, no one is equipped to handle it. Morgues fill up, funeral homes close their doors as they simply can't handle the influx, and your everyday trash collectors are suddenly tasked with the job of picking up the bodies and transporting them to a mass grave site. At first, the loss of jobs on already grieving families seems like their biggest concern, as one of the characters puts it, there is suddenly no need for toys, or pediatricians (among other things). Now families who have lost their child (or children) are faced with the uncertainty of having the means to financially get past this.

And then the children come back. That is where the story really begins to pick up steam. You witness the entire story unfold through the eyes of the townspeople. Some have more than one child, some are single parents, some have no children at all, but are still thrust into the middle of the chaos. As parents find themselves unable to donate anymore blood themselves, and are faced with losing their children forever, some take drastic measures. Which makes myself as a reader think - what would I do if faced with that situation? Would I be strong enough to let me children go or would I join a murdering mob? Would I kill my neighbors for their blood if it meant another hour with my children? Its a scary things to actually sit and ponder, which makes this novel (for me anyway) all the more gripping (and terrifying). 

I think the ending of this novel was also a standout. You see these people at their absolute lowest, and you see the level of desperation they have sunk to with no hope left to them. And I think when you last see the children... well lets just say I would not be opposed to a sequel of sorts detailing what happens to them (and the rest of humanity) after. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has NOT altered or changed my review in any way. All thoughts expressed in this review are 100% my own.

Suffer the Children is available for purchase from


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