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All the Little Children

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When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe? Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside wor When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe? Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside world is lost. Knowing something terrible has happened, Marlene suspects that the isolation of the remote campsite is all that’s protecting her family. But the arrival of a lost boy reveals they are not alone in the woods, and as the unfolding disaster ravages the land, more youngsters seek refuge under her wing. The lives of her own children aren’t the only ones at stake. When their sanctuary is threatened, Marlene faces the mother of all dilemmas: Should she save her own kids or try to save them all?


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When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe? Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside wor When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe? Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside world is lost. Knowing something terrible has happened, Marlene suspects that the isolation of the remote campsite is all that’s protecting her family. But the arrival of a lost boy reveals they are not alone in the woods, and as the unfolding disaster ravages the land, more youngsters seek refuge under her wing. The lives of her own children aren’t the only ones at stake. When their sanctuary is threatened, Marlene faces the mother of all dilemmas: Should she save her own kids or try to save them all?

30 review for All the Little Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I actually had to look this author up while I was in the midst of reading the book to see if it was actually a woman...because I could not, for the life of me, imagine a woman portraying mothers like the two in this book. When I confirmed that Jo Furniss is, indeed, a woman, I researched whether or not she was a mother. Lo and behold, she is. All I can say is...wow. This book drops you right into the action. There is no build-up. No character development. One minute you're opening the book, the ne I actually had to look this author up while I was in the midst of reading the book to see if it was actually a woman...because I could not, for the life of me, imagine a woman portraying mothers like the two in this book. When I confirmed that Jo Furniss is, indeed, a woman, I researched whether or not she was a mother. Lo and behold, she is. All I can say is...wow. This book drops you right into the action. There is no build-up. No character development. One minute you're opening the book, the next you're in the woods with several characters you know nothing about and it's all going bad. I'm not a fan of this style of writing. With no character development, how are we supposed to care about them? Beyond that, once Marlene and her sister-in-law, Joni, realize there is a very serious problem, their actions are just freaking odd. They have no real idea what's going on, yet they let their kids wonder off on their own; they sit in the middle of a park eating beans in broad daylight; they separate from each other constantly (have they never heard of safety in numbers?); they don't seem overly concerned about gathering food, weapons, or masks to protect themselves against the virus; there is virtually no reaction at all to the death and destruction around them (except the constant mentioning of "the buzz"...God forbid Marlene have to be around flies); and a possible contagion is nothing more than a brief blip on their radar. I simply don't believe their actions, or attitudes, are plausible. And let's face it, Marlene is not a likable character. In fact, she's pretty damn heinous. Her children, clearly taking after their mother, are total brats who do not listen at all. Lucky for us, that means we get to spend the entire book reading about her trying to chase them down and find them when they disappear. Joni is a doormat. Her daughter, though older and supposedly more mature than the rest of the children, is disrespectful, self-absorbed, and a total PITA too. Nothing about these awful people made me root for them. In fact, I probably would have applauded if Marlene had croaked off. Even worse, the animal deaths (most notably the dogs), bothered me a great deal. (view spoiler)[Did she really have to kill off Horatio Von Drool....the one likable character in the entire book? (hide spoiler)] And the freaking ending is a cliffhanger! I struggled through this entire hot mess of a book, only to find an ending with no answers. I don't know about you, but when a book isn't advertised as a series, I feel a little screwed over. I can ASSURE you, though, I won't be bothering with the sequel. What a stinker this book was... UPDATE: I saw the author answer a question about the sequel on Goodreads just a few days ago (August 2017). Apparently, there isn't going to be a sequel. Here was Jo Furniss's response: "Hi Carol, I'm not planning a sequel. For me, the story ends with the resolution of Marlene's 'coming-of-age' as a mother." Haha...yea, Marlene and Freddy Krueger, both epic mothers. I can't believe the book was intentionally concluded like that...such a cop-out! Clearly, the author had no idea how to end this epic disaster of a story, so she just...didn't.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    For some reason I didn’t pick up on the fact that this was a dystopian novel based on the blurb so when I started reading it, I was a bit surprised. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m not opposed to a post apocalyptic book, I just didn’t catch the hints in the description (duh Amy) and I had to adjust my mindset and expectations right away. But once I did I found this book to be a pacey, compelling read though I did have a few issues by the end. The entire thing is told from Marlene’s point of v For some reason I didn’t pick up on the fact that this was a dystopian novel based on the blurb so when I started reading it, I was a bit surprised. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m not opposed to a post apocalyptic book, I just didn’t catch the hints in the description (duh Amy) and I had to adjust my mindset and expectations right away. But once I did I found this book to be a pacey, compelling read though I did have a few issues by the end. The entire thing is told from Marlene’s point of view and she was a really difficult character to like. She’s brusque and comes across as cold and unfeeling even when she’s in the role of mama bear protecting her cubs. Despite the fact that I didn’t really relate to her on a personal level I was invested in her story and I could relate to her doing her best to protect her children. Her sister in law Joni wasn’t my favorite either, but again these women were fighting for their lives so I tried not to judge them too harshly. But I was shaking my head in frustration quite a bit and wondering what they hell they were thinking?! This would be the perfect book club read as it poses many tough questions that could provide hours of discussion. How far would you go to protect your children? Would you try and keep other children safe at the possible risk of your own family? Are adults duty bound to step up and care for kids in serious times of need? There’s SO much to talk about here! This was a page turner that held my attention, there’s something fascinating about seeing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Furniss is a talented writer who conveyed a strong sense of urgency throughout, I was constantly worried about what would happen next. All was really going great until the ending and honestly, it really disappointed me. I don’t want to say too much but it was a huge cliffhanger and at first I assumed there would be a sequel, then I poked around and it sounds like there isn’t one planned?! It’s a pretty huge letdown and endings are super important to me and without the promise of another book to follow up I’m seriously displeased. Sigh. A cliffhanger is understandable, albeit frustrating, if you know that eventually you’ll get some answers, but never having any resolution always seems like a cop out to me. As annoyed as I am today it wouldn’t stop me from reading another book by Furniss, she really is a good writer so I would definitely give her a second chance! All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dash fan

    3☆ A Unique Read All the Little Children is very different from the books I usually read, as it is a dystopian mix with apost apocalyptic / thriller mix. The reasons I rated a 3☆ was this really isn't a genre i usually read so I found it a little difficult to fully engage with the story. However I did enjoy it and it's in no reflection of the Author it's just down to my personal taste. Secondly the ending! It felt like the ending was left on a cliff hanger instead of finishing it with an ending. I d 3☆ A Unique Read All the Little Children is very different from the books I usually read, as it is a dystopian mix with apost apocalyptic / thriller mix. The reasons I rated a 3☆ was this really isn't a genre i usually read so I found it a little difficult to fully engage with the story. However I did enjoy it and it's in no reflection of the Author it's just down to my personal taste. Secondly the ending! It felt like the ending was left on a cliff hanger instead of finishing it with an ending. I do wonder if there will be a second book?! Marlene is in need of a break and so does her hubby. So she decides to take her three children Billy, Charlie (and his friend Peter) and Maggie on a family camping trip leaving her husband to fend for himself at home. Her sister-in-law Joni and her little girl Lola decide to tag along. Quickly things start to go wrong when they spot a fire in the distance. Marlene has to think on her feet as she does everything in her power to protect her family. For me this was a thought provoking read. I'm not a mother but I am very protective of my family. It's one of those books that you can criticise Marlene's decisions all you want but ask yourself.... What would you do in this situation?... truthfully I haven't a clue! Marlene frustrated me, although it's not easy judging her decisions she wound me up with her attitude. I don't imagine she will be particularly likeable to many readers, but I did feel sorry for her at the same time. All the Little Children is a unique read as it's hard to place it into one particular genre. Right from the start you are placed into the action. Although I enjoy being in the thick of the action early on, I felt that I missed out on connecting with the characters stories as I didn't really know anything about them. This is a fast moving read that keeps you on your toes. The perfect read for those who enjoy dystopian, post apocalyptic, and a sense of a thriller. Thank you to Random Things Tours for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily. My Review is also on my Blog Website:- https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/2018/0...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    The only reason why this got 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. I didn't know it was going to be part of a series or at least set up for a part 2. Ugh.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    All the Little Children is a book that interested me because of the dystopia theme. A family, two sisters with their children out camping, and then they realize that something is wrong. They can't contact anyone and they see fires in the distance. What has happened? Are they the only one that has survived? All the Little Children is a book that engrossed thanks to the brilliance of the narrator and the thrilling story. You don't know what will happen next all through the book. What I really like All the Little Children is a book that interested me because of the dystopia theme. A family, two sisters with their children out camping, and then they realize that something is wrong. They can't contact anyone and they see fires in the distance. What has happened? Are they the only one that has survived? All the Little Children is a book that engrossed thanks to the brilliance of the narrator and the thrilling story. You don't know what will happen next all through the book. What I really liked about the book is that Marlene, the main character is not a perfect person, she makes mistakes and sometimes she frustrated me (a lot), but she is also a fierce mother who will do anything to protect her family. There is not a slow start to the book, pretty early one do we learn that something is wrong, but it will take a while for the full truth to be learned. And, Jo Furniss doesn't hold back the punches. There are several scenes that were hard to listen to and if you have a hard time reading books where children are hurt should you perhaps pick something else. I found the book to be very gripping and suspenseful, and the ending left me wanting more. I would love to know what happens next. All and all, this book is a great book, perfect for thriller and dystopia fans!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Whilst the premise sounded great, I can't stand the main character. DNF at page 115. I received an early copy of this via Kindle First.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    All the Little Children is a pulse-pounding free fall of a novel. The story of an unnatural disaster and one mother’s fierce battle to protect her children rings both hauntingly true and terrifyingly possible. As Furniss wrestles with questions of love and sacrifice, readers are embroiled in their own moral dilemma: What would you do to save the ones you love? All the Little Children is gorgeously written, utterly riveting, and bound to be the book everyone is talking about this fall.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K Allen

    Very disappointing This is my first one star review on Kindle. I usually only review books I really like to encourage other people to read them. If I don't like a book I figure it's a matter of taste and others might enjoy them. This novel on the other hand was such a colossal waste of time (and I only read half of it) that I felt the need to share this, especially after seeing several 5 star reviews (??). This was by far the worst Kindle Firsts in a long time and the first book I just couldn't fi Very disappointing This is my first one star review on Kindle. I usually only review books I really like to encourage other people to read them. If I don't like a book I figure it's a matter of taste and others might enjoy them. This novel on the other hand was such a colossal waste of time (and I only read half of it) that I felt the need to share this, especially after seeing several 5 star reviews (??). This was by far the worst Kindle Firsts in a long time and the first book I just couldn't finish in years. Even if a book is so-so I usually feel compelled to finish it, but I just couldn't do it. I am a fan of post-apocalyptic, end of the world and dystopian novels and I know they aren't "feel good" reads, but something about a novel must make you want to read it, and keep reading it. You have to like or root for a character, there has to be suspense, there has to be something positive, no matter how gruesome the story, some kind of solution, or hope, or at least facts that are educational. This book had none of it. I hated the adult characters, the were weak, totally unlikable women who were basically both completely nuts and impossible to identity with. I guess I am one of the moms Marlene constantly criticizes, who actually cares about her kids (despite holding a full-time job). And she does that during an apocalyptic event - which is completely beside the point at the time, but so are most of her erratic statements. The children's characters are not well developed, at times you can't tell if it's the 3 year old or the 9 year old boy speaking. I can't tell the kids apart nor can I picture them at all. A teenager runs away during a catastrophic event, and stays away for two days to teach her mom (who is supposed to be "the good mom") a lesson and because "she met a boy" while everyone else lies around dead, covered in flies. I mean, really?? The story was so all over the place and made you feel only angry and frustrated, it just kept getting worse and worse with more and more carnage and unbelievable dialogue. The writing was mediocre and although I love metaphors and similes, if every sentence contains one , even to describe the surface of the road (not important!), then that's just too much. I made it halfway through the book and then I skimmed through it and skipped to the end, to find out what really happened and hoping for some kind of solution, good or bad. But - even that didn't happen, the ending was just as terrible as the rest of the book. The only explanation I have as to why on earth she would end it that way (the ending was even more unbelievable than the rest of it), is that there is a plan for a part two (I hope not). The final sentence actually made me cringe - please leave it to the Terminator to "be back". Unbelievable waste of time, too bad because it could have been a great story. Thank goodness I didn't pay for this!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Horner

    Stumbled across this book on audible and decided to give it a try -- a mother and her kids are camping in the woods when a disaster strikes. They have no knowledge of what's going on until they return home and find that there aren't any people around, and those that are, have died. This is a post-apocalyptic, government conspiracy, great characters, lots of suspense, reminiscent of Lord of the Flies meets the end of the world kind of book. I liked it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    What the actual *bleep*? I came here to leave a review saying that the book was mediocre and that it was nowhere near compelling enough for me to continue its story in the sequel... only to find the author saying there WON'T BE A SEQUEL?! What the hell is that ending about then? Original rating was 2 stars but I'm dropping it to 1 since if this is intended as a full rounded story in and of itself then it's sorely lacking. Alright, ending and lack of sequel aside, it's still not a very good book. What the actual *bleep*? I came here to leave a review saying that the book was mediocre and that it was nowhere near compelling enough for me to continue its story in the sequel... only to find the author saying there WON'T BE A SEQUEL?! What the hell is that ending about then? Original rating was 2 stars but I'm dropping it to 1 since if this is intended as a full rounded story in and of itself then it's sorely lacking. Alright, ending and lack of sequel aside, it's still not a very good book. Interesting premise and a promising start but then things just don't go anywhere. The struggles they face are just... dumb. Like being hungry? If this was a while after everything went to shit, it'd make sense; but the country literally died in less than a week. There's food left in stores ALL OVER THE PLACE. They went to a fully stocked grocery store. Why the hell don't they just camp out there? Afraid of the virus? There was NO ONE in the grocery store. Even if there was, just go find another store that's abandoned. There's literally everything you could ever need in the cities and this wonderful mother lets her kids go hungry. FFS. Add to that the author's weird style of writing in which she doesn't bother to explain certain things. Sometimes the main character just suddenly decides she needs to do something or goes somewhere and you're like, "why is she doing this?" Easily fixed by the author just explaining what's going on inside the head of the character... You know, like one of the main advantages of the written form of storytelling?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dramapuppy

    I got this free from Kindle First, but I waited to review it till it was published because I didn't want to two-star a book before it even came out. But now I can complain about it guilt free! Okay, so as much as I love the premise, this book was never going to be more than three stars. The writing leaves a lot to be desired. "Nowadays, my principles were about as firm as my pelvic floor. And yet the outcome was the same: neither maternal instinct nor higher intellect has time for heroism." What I got this free from Kindle First, but I waited to review it till it was published because I didn't want to two-star a book before it even came out. But now I can complain about it guilt free! Okay, so as much as I love the premise, this book was never going to be more than three stars. The writing leaves a lot to be desired. "Nowadays, my principles were about as firm as my pelvic floor. And yet the outcome was the same: neither maternal instinct nor higher intellect has time for heroism." What does that even mean?? But still, I wasn't bored. I wanted to find out what would happen next. But it turned out that what happened next was one of the most frustrating endings I've ever read. I don't mean it was unsatisfying. I mean it actively angered me and ruined the whole book. (view spoiler)[You're gonna abandon your own kids on a boat you just randomly trust to be safe so that you can run out and save someone else's teenager (who we know is flighty and probably fine) so that this other mother doesn't have to risk her unborn baby? She abandoned her kids. I can't forgive that, and the worst part is that the author seemed to think this was a heroic and good choice. (hide spoiler)] Definitely not recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Ending? The story was good. Loved the main character . The ending??? I don't want to completely spoil it for other readers but we are clearly missing some info for this to make sense.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krissy

    I started this thinking it was a mystery/thriller but it ended up being a post apocalyptic novel. Not exactly what I was in the mood to read. Then that ending was horrible. It just ended. Wtf happens? Guess we'll never know since this is a standalone and not part of a series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this book when I finished reading it. I like the overall story of what happened and how it was being handled by those in authority. I kept thinking, could this really happen? It was different than some of the other books I had read. Also, I liked that we were not following up a bunch of preppers or survivalist or former military that just happen to have every skill for every situation. The main character, on the other hand pissed me off at the en I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this book when I finished reading it. I like the overall story of what happened and how it was being handled by those in authority. I kept thinking, could this really happen? It was different than some of the other books I had read. Also, I liked that we were not following up a bunch of preppers or survivalist or former military that just happen to have every skill for every situation. The main character, on the other hand pissed me off at the end. I wasn't sure if I should ding the book a star for how angry the end made me or keep the star because a book was able to bring about such a strong emotion. I am still seething about her choices in the end the next morning. The book follows two woman and their children who took the kids on a camping trip to spend some quality family time. Then something happens and when they get home from their trip, their world has ended and they need to figure out what to do and how to survive. Problem is, both of these woman seem to have brought all their excess baggage of their former world with them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The only thing I didn't love about this book was the end, which leaves juuuuust enough of a door open to generate a sequel. But our main story is, for the most part, nicely wrapped up, so it didn't bother me too much. I read a lot of "end of the world" stories and this was the first that tackles the excellent question, "how would you manage that while still taking care of your kids?" Not the noble warrior children we see in most post-apocalyptic fiction, but a whiney three year old who has tantr The only thing I didn't love about this book was the end, which leaves juuuuust enough of a door open to generate a sequel. But our main story is, for the most part, nicely wrapped up, so it didn't bother me too much. I read a lot of "end of the world" stories and this was the first that tackles the excellent question, "how would you manage that while still taking care of your kids?" Not the noble warrior children we see in most post-apocalyptic fiction, but a whiney three year old who has tantrums when they lose sight of their favorite toy? I liked that Marlene wasn't super intro motherhood OR being a post-apocalyptic hero/leader. She was a complex character who goes on quite the emotional journey throughout the book and ultimately finds strength in both. (And for those who say the world's reaction to the crisis which unfolds in the book is too far fetched: bless your sweet little innocent hearts. Read more history books.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Morrell

    While out camping, disaster strikes and a mother finds herself trying to survive with a whole passel of kids. Quelle horror!! She reminded me of myself, actually, but she had more patience over the things that would have made the top of my head pop off. Little kid feeds all their scavenged food to a dog? POP. Teenager keeps running off with a boy without telling anyone that she's even going? POP. Still, I totally respected how she just kept going and going and going because all these kids were re While out camping, disaster strikes and a mother finds herself trying to survive with a whole passel of kids. Quelle horror!! She reminded me of myself, actually, but she had more patience over the things that would have made the top of my head pop off. Little kid feeds all their scavenged food to a dog? POP. Teenager keeps running off with a boy without telling anyone that she's even going? POP. Still, I totally respected how she just kept going and going and going because all these kids were relying on her. Kudos lady, you rock, even with your big ticket mistakes.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Lake Union Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read/review this book. I'm a bit frustrated because Ms. Furniss has obvious writing skills, but her characters were so unlikable, and did the most idiotic things, that I just couldn't get past it. About 40% on, I started speed reading to get to the finish. That's when my proverbial crap hit the fan! There is no ending to this book. What happens next? Well, what about...? Nothing. I can't recommend this story, and I'm not even sure if My thanks to Lake Union Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read/review this book. I'm a bit frustrated because Ms. Furniss has obvious writing skills, but her characters were so unlikable, and did the most idiotic things, that I just couldn't get past it. About 40% on, I started speed reading to get to the finish. That's when my proverbial crap hit the fan! There is no ending to this book. What happens next? Well, what about...? Nothing. I can't recommend this story, and I'm not even sure if I can forgive the author enough to read another book of hers. Great writing, but lousy story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Well THAT escalated quickly! A little clutch people, mainly two mums and their little ‘uns, are standing on the edge of civilisation (camping in Shropshire to be precise) and beyond the isolation of their holiday hideaway all hell has broken loose. Soon the story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘getting back to nature’. That first impression of loss begins with mobile phone coverage which could be reasonably explained by their location. But this progresses to uncertainty over loved ones wh Well THAT escalated quickly! A little clutch people, mainly two mums and their little ‘uns, are standing on the edge of civilisation (camping in Shropshire to be precise) and beyond the isolation of their holiday hideaway all hell has broken loose. Soon the story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘getting back to nature’. That first impression of loss begins with mobile phone coverage which could be reasonably explained by their location. But this progresses to uncertainty over loved ones when neighbouring villages are seen to have been affected by something truly dreadful. It’s always fascinating to see how things play out when ordinary people are forced to confront extraordinary situations, especially when they apply the same attitude as they would have BC (Before Chaos). Let’s face it, people's dumb / tragic mistakes keep fiction realistically grounded. Same goes for explaining the morals of looting/stealing VS salvaging/foraging to kids from an adult's perspective when operating in mother hen mode. An excellent balance is struck between survival instincts kicking in and let’s become feral because only basic facilities remain. Plus, that vile yet brilliantly depicted ‘buzz’ conjured all manner of hideous visions waiting behind closed doors. There’s no denying that All the Little Children was pacey and compelling from the get-go, but the conclusion hinted that there could be more to come so I’d be interested to see if / how the author could expand this survivors’ tale in the future. In the meantime I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    RedRedtheycallmeRed

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the second time this year that I've picked a Kindle First book that gave no indication that it was part of a series. Had I known that, I probably would have picked something else. By the time the next book comes out, I'll have forgotten what happens in this one. The main character, Marlene the martyr, is hard to like. She's camping with her sister-in-law for the weekend with their kids, mostly to get away from her husband. He sounds like a total loser (doesn't have a job, won't help take This is the second time this year that I've picked a Kindle First book that gave no indication that it was part of a series. Had I known that, I probably would have picked something else. By the time the next book comes out, I'll have forgotten what happens in this one. The main character, Marlene the martyr, is hard to like. She's camping with her sister-in-law for the weekend with their kids, mostly to get away from her husband. He sounds like a total loser (doesn't have a job, won't help take care of the kids or the house), yet Marlene is the one who married him and chose to have three kids with him, so I didn't feel a lot of sympathy toward her. She's a jerk to her S-I-L, and that combined with several annoying teenagers in the story gave me few people to root for. The closer the book got to the non-ending, the more ridiculous it became. Marlene driving the truck at the end was way too over the top. Governments hunting down civilians, putting people in internment camps, when the virus only started a week or so prior? That's all the time it takes for civilization to collapse? ***SPOILER ALERT*** Be warned, there are two child deaths and a dog death in this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    This book was nothing more than a list of unrelenting miseries with very little redemption at its abrupt end. Perhaps if there was a single character for whom we could root, the book would have been more enjoyable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victor *I Miss "FREE HUGS"*

    This is more like a 2.5 star read for me. I only really cared for three characters and they were all kids - Peter, Charlie and Maggie. The decisions made by the older characters were sometimes ridiculous. This story needed more Maggie... and more cowbell.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie Morris

    When I was a teenager, the absolutely brilliant librarian at my secondary school fuelled my insatiable thirst for books by recommending authors I had never considered reading. This wonderful lady introduced me to the works of Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm is still the title I will cite when asked for my favourite book), Dorothy L Sayers (Gaudy Night is a masterpiece and a book I return to time and again) and John Wyndham. John Wyndham is the master of the dystopian novel and I have adored his When I was a teenager, the absolutely brilliant librarian at my secondary school fuelled my insatiable thirst for books by recommending authors I had never considered reading. This wonderful lady introduced me to the works of Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm is still the title I will cite when asked for my favourite book), Dorothy L Sayers (Gaudy Night is a masterpiece and a book I return to time and again) and John Wyndham. John Wyndham is the master of the dystopian novel and I have adored his work ever since I first read one of his books. I started with Chocky but The Chrysalids is my favourite. However, he is known to most people by way of his most famous two novels, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day of the Triffids.. The reason for my seemingly irrelevant ramblings about my youthful reading habits and my abiding love of a long-dead science fiction writer in this blog post is that from early on this book reminded me of The Day of the Triffids and I can’t think of higher praise than a book garnering a favourable comparison to one of my most beloved authors. The opening scene of the novel sees the protagonist, Marlene, hiding from her children in the branches of a tree, trying to make a phone call in peace and this pretty much tells you all you need to know about Marlene and her mothering techniques. Many of us will recognise this woman, if not in ourselves, then in people we know. She is a modern woman, trying to juggle a demanding job, young and exuberant children and a failing relationship, and feeling like she isn’t doing any of it particularly well. Even on a weekend away in a remote, rural location, she can’t switch off and is frustrated by lack of connection to the outside world and being unable to escape for five minutes from her needy offspring, . Marlene is not an obviously likeable central character. She is brusque and short-tempered with her children and her sister-in-law, who has joined her on the trip. She is bitter and resentful and impatient and self-centred and some readers may find it difficult to bond with her. However, Marlene’s personality and attitude are important tenets in the story arc, both from the perspective of how she deals with the predicament she finds herself in throughout the novel and the journey she goes on in her personal relationships. We are thrust into the action instantly when it becomes obvious very quickly that something is terribly wrong in the outside world and the small group have only escaped harm because of their isolation. This isolation never feels idyllic from the start because of Marlene’s attitude towards being stranded in a remote place trying to entertain her children but it soon becomes suffocating, as the party gradually realise that this is their only refuge, despite it’s lack of facilities – it becomes a prison without walls or bars. As we find ourselves in the heads of the characters, only knowing the very little they know and gripped by the fear they are feeling, the whole book is imbued with menace and an underlying current of suppressed panic that propels us from page to page in a desperate effort to find out what is happening and how the characters can make themselves safe. Marlene doesn’t know where to turn or who she can trust in a world turned on its head and so we in turn are suspicious and wary of every new character. It is uncomfortably compelling reading and I was hooked from the beginning, almost desperate for the intolerable ride to be over so I could relax. The central theme of this book for me is Marlene’s development as a mother and in her relationship with her children. She is a fairly hard and strict woman with very little patience to begin with. However, over the course of the novel, as her family are threatened and she realises that she can depend on no one for help but must rely on her own resources and work with her children to save them, she learns things about herself and her children which change them all. All the best novels involve a journey that is both emotional as well as physical and this book does not in any way disappoint in this regard. Marlene may not be the most sympathetic character I have ever met but she was real and interesting and complicated and I found myself with a lot of questions as to whether things would have turned out differently if Marlene had been a different type of person and how I myself would react and fair if I were placed in the same situation. If you have read any of the reviews of this book on Goodreads, you may have seen some readers complaining about the ending of this book, and it is certainly unconventional and unexpected. Why some people see this as a negative I am unsure, as anything that surprises, that makes you question why the author chose this conclusion, wonder what happens next, can only be a good thing. For me, I love a book that makes me FEEL something, that leaves me questioning, pondering the issues, wanting others to read the book so I can see what they think is nothing but a positive and this book did all that. This book is not a comfortable read but it is evocative and thought-provoking and tense. It will stay with you beyond the final page and I would highly recommend it. And read some John Wyndham while you’re at it, you won’t be sorry.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay -hooked on books

    3.5 stars All The Little Children occupies the intersection of dystopian fiction and coming-of-age fiction. Camping in a remote site in Shropshire, Marlene Greene hopes to reconnect with her children and enjoy being in the moment. Little do they know, the world as they knew it ended while they were camping. Something drastic befell the rest of the country while they were away, and they're part of the few survivors left. The rest of the book follows Marlene and her family's attempt to escape to s 3.5 stars All The Little Children occupies the intersection of dystopian fiction and coming-of-age fiction. Camping in a remote site in Shropshire, Marlene Greene hopes to reconnect with her children and enjoy being in the moment. Little do they know, the world as they knew it ended while they were camping. Something drastic befell the rest of the country while they were away, and they're part of the few survivors left. The rest of the book follows Marlene and her family's attempt to escape to safety. There are many elements that threaten their survival. Some absolutely dark moments make up this part of the book, including endangerment of children. ( content warning ) It is a fast-paced, engrossing read. But if you expect an expansive look at dystopia and post-apocalyptic world, this might not be the best book for you. The plot is firmly placed around Marlene's life; it is her voice that dominates the book. As much as it is about survival, the book also follows the path to Marlene discovering herself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Constantine

    Rating: 3.0/5.0 Marlene & Joni along with their children decide to go camping. Things go wrong. It's a nightmare! Can't say more because it will be a spoiler. The book has a steady pace and events unfold in an adequate rhythm. The reading was easy, but I have several problems with the children characters. Although the children were of different ages they sounded the same to me! There was hardly any distinction between them. You will need some time to grasp what is going on here but that is not a n Rating: 3.0/5.0 Marlene & Joni along with their children decide to go camping. Things go wrong. It's a nightmare! Can't say more because it will be a spoiler. The book has a steady pace and events unfold in an adequate rhythm. The reading was easy, but I have several problems with the children characters. Although the children were of different ages they sounded the same to me! There was hardly any distinction between them. You will need some time to grasp what is going on here but that is not a negative thing, because usually mysteries are supposed to be like that and keep the reader guessing what is happening, but be warned this is one of those books you will think it is incomplete! Yep, I thought my kindle edition came without the final chapter! I am usually very open minded to open endings but in this book it is actually a disadvantage because nothing is left to your own imagination (for that you need some inputs) and this will leave the book with an ending that takes away the merit from the story. I feel many would dislike this book purely because of its ending. Some readers are calling the ending a cliffhanger but it is not, because a cliffhanger means there will be a sequel for it and the author clearly said she has no intention for a sequel for now. I did not enjoy it a lot but I did not hate it either. However, I expected more from the book since the synopsis is really interesting. I got this as part of my Kindle First subscription. The book will be released in September that is tomorrow!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really, really wanted to like this. It had all these amazing elements, all this potential. But the main character Marlene just ruined everything. Jolene was a little better, but by the end....well. I could easily go on a rant about Marlene, her lack of parenting, empathy, understanding, her selfishness. Do not say well, if you were in her shoes, because if I was in her shoes, I would be different. I mean who the fuck thinks its ok at the end of the world (view spoiler)[to leave a toddler on a I really, really wanted to like this. It had all these amazing elements, all this potential. But the main character Marlene just ruined everything. Jolene was a little better, but by the end....well. I could easily go on a rant about Marlene, her lack of parenting, empathy, understanding, her selfishness. Do not say well, if you were in her shoes, because if I was in her shoes, I would be different. I mean who the fuck thinks its ok at the end of the world (view spoiler)[to leave a toddler on a bridge, full of cars with dead bodies (hide spoiler)] OR teach a lesson to a different toddler (view spoiler)[by leaving said toddler in the parking lot and losing said toddler (hide spoiler)] What the hell? Or as the English might say, "fucking hell" (imagine an accent) I mean, that was a small rant, but I could write paragraphs. I liked so many other things, ugh it pisses me off. So much potential. Marlene needed to wear her big girl panties, but she left them back at the house with the food she was supposed to get, so all the kids went hungry. Fucking Marlene. I feel myself getting worked up at all the things the "adults" should have , could have, done better. So I will just stop here with fucking Marlene.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Venus Maneater

    Wonderful. The story of a woman who needs a literal disaster to discover her kids are probably best off without her. Mar is not a good mother. She's not a bad mother either, but she sure isn't good and the single best decision she makes for her kids is when she leaves them. This is a book about a woman who was perfectly comfortable in her role as the absentee mom. Trips to China, long days at work, always online and herding the kids towards their nanny or dad. And when you're home there's only tim Wonderful. The story of a woman who needs a literal disaster to discover her kids are probably best off without her. Mar is not a good mother. She's not a bad mother either, but she sure isn't good and the single best decision she makes for her kids is when she leaves them. This is a book about a woman who was perfectly comfortable in her role as the absentee mom. Trips to China, long days at work, always online and herding the kids towards their nanny or dad. And when you're home there's only time for the fun stuff. She's a typical weekend dad...mom. And suddenly you're trapped. Trapped without internet, trapped with your hippy sister-in-law (wonderfully written), trapped with your own three kids plus three extra. Trapped while you're in the midst of a personal crisis, in the midst of a divorce. And you have to be the best mother. Not the most loving mother, but the best mother. A mother who keeps her children safe and alive. She fails so horribly. Even with the luxuries of thousand-dollar-tents and stores to loot and giant camper cars, she still fucks up. Children die in such gruesome ways. The ones that still breathe are developing PTSD at a frightening tempo. Marlene KNOWS this and still runs from her responsibilities if they guarantee her time away from her keening children. I felt so sorry for her. You're not build to be a mother, Marlene. At the end, she chose well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    comfort

    This has a shocker of an ending and I can't believe a Mother would act like that, but all in all was a pretty good read. A family go off for a bit of a camping weekend in the country, when suddenly things start to go wrong. Firstly a large fire is noticed by her son, in the distance, then the mobile phones don't work. They drive into the local village and people are lying dead on the street. Now, being of that generation that watch zombie shows I was expecting them to re-animate and eat them all, This has a shocker of an ending and I can't believe a Mother would act like that, but all in all was a pretty good read. A family go off for a bit of a camping weekend in the country, when suddenly things start to go wrong. Firstly a large fire is noticed by her son, in the distance, then the mobile phones don't work. They drive into the local village and people are lying dead on the street. Now, being of that generation that watch zombie shows I was expecting them to re-animate and eat them all, BUT they don't they just lie there dead and dead from no apparent reason. They move on and all around them are dead people, there is no radio and no apparent other people alive until they bump into what appear to be an organisation of street kids. This is a fast moving, gripping story and the narration was excellent. But oh, that ending!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was my Kindle First choice for August and the second time I've been disappointed (the first was my fault as I unknowingly chose a book that was a genre I don't like). I like the premise of the book which is why I chose it. However, as others have said, the main character is not very likeable and even annoying at times. To me the whole book was a series of "one person leaves the group and now we must go look for him". It happens over and over and over. When the scenario happens yet again at This was my Kindle First choice for August and the second time I've been disappointed (the first was my fault as I unknowingly chose a book that was a genre I don't like). I like the premise of the book which is why I chose it. However, as others have said, the main character is not very likeable and even annoying at times. To me the whole book was a series of "one person leaves the group and now we must go look for him". It happens over and over and over. When the scenario happens yet again at the end of the book, I thought "Are you kidding me?" The ending makes it apparent there is to be a sequel, but other reviewers have said the author has no plans to write one. If that is the case, the ending just sucks.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Chose this book as a Kindle First, and I'm so glad I did. That said, this book is unsettling at times, and there were times I wanted to shake Marlene and Joni both because their reactions befuddled me. And the ending! The ending leaves in a cliffhanger with no plans by the author to write a sequel. However, it's an apocalyptic novel and it isn't supposed to feel cheery. Nor can I fault Marlene's or Joni's missteps even though I didn't always understand their actions. I felt I was drawn into the p Chose this book as a Kindle First, and I'm so glad I did. That said, this book is unsettling at times, and there were times I wanted to shake Marlene and Joni both because their reactions befuddled me. And the ending! The ending leaves in a cliffhanger with no plans by the author to write a sequel. However, it's an apocalyptic novel and it isn't supposed to feel cheery. Nor can I fault Marlene's or Joni's missteps even though I didn't always understand their actions. I felt I was drawn into the panic and uncertainty of the story by the way it is written, so while it was unsettling, it made the story more real.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Dryden

    Couldn't put it down! A well written, very believable book which really made me think of what I would do in the same situation - not many books have made me do that! Quite frightening in its way because the storyline is about something which could actually happen. I couldn't put this book down. The characters are well fleshed out and believable and the storyline is excellent. If you like a gripping post apocalyptic thriller which is so true to life that its scary - then this is for you!

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