Release Date: March 2nd 1997
Publisher: Harper Collins
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I still have my childhood copy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
In the brutal world of Shade’s Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? He is a sworn enemy of the Overlords, but his use of the children to gain knowledge and power seems uncaring and ruthless. Finally, Gold-Eye and his new friends set out to destroy the Overlords–with or without the enigmatic, dangerous Shade. Garth Nix, author of Sabriel, blends suspense, action, and high emotion in this excellent, fast-moving science-fiction story.
Shade’s Children was a book I read and loved as a child and I thought it would be fun to revisit it as an adult. It was just as bleak and terrifying as it was all those years ago, and I absolutely loved rereading this childhood favourite.
Shade’s Children is set in a world in which everyone above the age of fourteen has disappeared. Now when you turn fourteen you are taken to the meat factory to be harvested. The story follows Gold Eye, a young boy who escapes the dormitories before he can be taken to the factory. While fleeing the monstrous creatures who mean to return him, he teams up with a band of Shade’s Children, and together they fight to survive against Overlords.
I honestly just adored this book. It’s dark and gritty and absolutely stands the test of time. It was just as gripping and absorbing as the many times I read it as a child. The world is completely fascinating and I loved learning about this unique dystopian world that Nix has created. While everything isn’t necessarily explained, the world building is solid and the plot exciting. Despite this book being published over twenty years ago, it definitely still stands up as a brilliant YA story.
Shade’s Children is just over the three hundred page mark, but I absolutely raced through this. You’re dropped right into the action in this one and it’s an absolute roller coaster ride. This story has such a tense, eerie atmosphere as Gold Eye and the gang fight to survive. If you’re looking for a dystopian tale that will have you reading long into the night, you definitely need to check this one out.