Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.
This week’s featured title is Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane:
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0451239296
- Source: Publisher
In this follow up to Children of Paranoia, eighteen-year-old Maria has just witnessed the brutal killing of Joseph, her lover and the father of their infant son, Christopher. The killer, Joseph’s best friend, Jared, claimed he did it for “the cause.” After killing Joseph, Jared tears Christopher from Maria’s grasp. Maria is now on a mission to locate her son, now nearly a year old. She attempted to contact others like Joseph, those fighting in this nameless war, but they shunned her, told her to forget she had a son and to get on with her life. Unable to do so, Maria tracks down Michael, another of Joseph’s friends involved in the cause, as well as a group known as the Underground, dedicated to “cleaning” the lives of those no longer interested in participating in the war. Together, they must carefully cross the lines waged by war, risking their lives in order to track down young Christopher.
Interspersed throughout the story are journal entries, reminiscent of the entries from the previous novel, that fast forward in time to Christopher’s youth and adulthood. Readers get a glimpse of the life Christopher led, immersed in a war that continues to have unknown causes and no indication of ending. Shane has crafted a truly terrific and chilling concept: a silent war rages, millions of citizens clueless to what is going on around them. Those involved in the war don’t have clear enemies or allies. It is rare to find someone you trust.
This sophomore book has absolutely no inklings or hints of a sophomore slump. As a matter of fact, I think this novel is more intense than the previous. Perhaps, because I am a mother myself, I found it easier to connect with Maria’s character than Joseph’s in the previous novel. Although she is still a teen in age, Maria has been forced to endure a lifetime worth of loss and pain. One wants to feel sympathy for her character, but Maria’s strong will and emotion will not allow it.
The character of Michael was an incredibly unique one as well. Despite being scarred by the war he reenlists, fighting for a cause he does not believe in because he knows it is the only way Maria can get her son back. A killer by trade, on the surface he appears cold and emotionless yet his dedication to finding Christopher shows a softer side.
As mentioned, this is the second book in a series. While Shane does provide a bit of back-story and history of the characters, I do believe it is best to start this series from the beginning. It is imperative to see the progression of the characters and their motives, to truly comprehend the depth of the battle they are fighting.
Fans of a wide range of genres would appreciate this series, from action and adventure to thriller. I see great things ahead for this truly talented writer. Highly highly recommended.
Tags: Frightful Friday, NAL, Penguin, Review, Thriller