This was a fantastic book!! Kind of made me think of a junior version of 'Battlestar Galactica', which is one of my favorite television shows.
The book takes place in a futuristic setting. One day all of the people over the age of 14 just disappear leaving behind nothing but children. Shortly after the adults disappear the children are rounded up and taken to dormitories where they are raised until their 14th birthday at which time they are taken away by creatures, to the Meat Factory. The Meat Factory is a holding area where the children are help until their brains and bodies are used to create more creatures, whose sole purpose is to participate in horrible war games for the enjoyment of 'overlords'. These overlords think of the children as nothing more than animals and treat them as such.
While most children are resigned to the fact that they will be taken away when on their 'Sad Birthday', some manage to escape, and try to stay alive, constantly running from the various creatures who hunt them down.
This book follows a group of 4 of those survivors who are taken in by 'Shade', a computer program that holds the consciousness of an adult man left over from before the Change. Shade shelters and trains the children to survive against the creatures, while at the same time, using them to gather information so that he can 'set things right'. His ultimate goal is to defeat the overlords and return the world back to the way it was before. But at what price?
This book is non stop action and I had a very hard time putting it down once I started it. What a fantastic storyteller Garth Nix is and I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the near future.
Nix is a good writer, but this is not my favorite of his books. I found this had a much more depressing and hopeless tone than most of his other works, which have tended toward sad yet beautiful (Abhorsen) or dangerous yet hopeful (the Fall) or funny while challenging (the Keys to the Kingdom).
Although not as good as his 'Abhorsen' trilogy, "Shade's Children" reminded me a lot of many post-apocalyptic books I read as a kid - so I rather liked it.
The premise is that beings from (possibly) a parallel world have taken over Earth, eliminating everyone over fourteen, and imprisoning and raising the human children in order to use their physical parts to create Creatures with which to play wargames. However, a few children manage to escape, and some of those come under the wing of Shade - a human-created AI which has been oddly enhanced by the fields that the alien (?) Overlords generate (and which also gives some human children precognitive or other powers). Shade's stated goal is to find a way to overthrow the Overlords and restore normality to Earth - but his methods are cold and ruthless - and will his own self-interest outweigh altruism?
It's an interesting premise, but I felt like there were quite a few logical plot holes, I didn't find that the social attitudes of the characters matched up realistically with their given backgrounds, and there were several aspects to the whole story that I wished had been more deeply explored.
This is a post apocalytic thriller. Nix is one of the best sci fi writer's around and this measures up to his other works.
Lots of action.
Once I started it I couldn't put it down.
I am a "mature" adult and I can say I loved it !
Suprisingly, I enjoyed this book a lot. I got it for free and thought that I would read a couple of pages and not like it. Boy was I wrong. It was easy to get hooked on this book. Very interesting story and some likeable characters. A little predictable, but still a good read.