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The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day. In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machine like creature whose sole purpose is t The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day. In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machine like creature whose sole purpose is to kill. The mysterious Shade — once a man, but now more like the machines he fights — recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power — and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become ...


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The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day. In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machine like creature whose sole purpose is t The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day. In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machine like creature whose sole purpose is to kill. The mysterious Shade — once a man, but now more like the machines he fights — recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power — and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become ...

30 review for Shade's Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angel Martinez

    Yes. I'm reviewing a YA book. (Picture me sticking my tongue out at anyone who has a problem with this.) I've read a lot of YA as an adult, partly because of my own child, who liked to have me read the same books to discuss them, and partly because I like YA SFF. There's often an honesty, a pared down-ness to the stories that attracts me. The flip side is that some authors tend to talk down to their audience, which is depressing and disappointing. Garth Nix has never, ever done this. This is a man Yes. I'm reviewing a YA book. (Picture me sticking my tongue out at anyone who has a problem with this.) I've read a lot of YA as an adult, partly because of my own child, who liked to have me read the same books to discuss them, and partly because I like YA SFF. There's often an honesty, a pared down-ness to the stories that attracts me. The flip side is that some authors tend to talk down to their audience, which is depressing and disappointing. Garth Nix has never, ever done this. This is a man of astounding imagination. I would probably read an article about car maintenance if he wrote it. (Due to time constraints, I haven't kept up with his work in the past few years, but I devoured his Abhorsen series and several short works as well.) Shade's Children is characteristically dark, stripped down and focused. You get a minimalist feel from the prose due to the tight beam on the five main personalities and their respective limited views/understandings of the terrifying world in which they live. Is everything completely explained? No. It can't be. Is everything conceptually fully realized? Hell yes. I won't rehash plot or details and I fully encourage the reader to approach this one with as little information as possible to get the full experience since this is a journey of discovery, of putting the pieces together as the characters do. It's tense, it's stomach churning, it's immersive, it's tragic and triumphant. I don't know why this man isn't more famous.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This book was originally published in 1997 but I feel that it stands up well against current YA fiction. At the beginning of the book we discover that on one night everyone over the age of 14 suddenly just disappeared. The story jumps straight in to the action and centres on one boy, Gold-Eye, who is running and hiding from monsters. The action once begun does not stop for the rest of the book. I enjoyed all the characters, especially Ella who was exactly the kind of person you would expect to com This book was originally published in 1997 but I feel that it stands up well against current YA fiction. At the beginning of the book we discover that on one night everyone over the age of 14 suddenly just disappeared. The story jumps straight in to the action and centres on one boy, Gold-Eye, who is running and hiding from monsters. The action once begun does not stop for the rest of the book. I enjoyed all the characters, especially Ella who was exactly the kind of person you would expect to come to the fore as a leader in an emergency. Shade was suitably creepy, a bit like a computer generated Fagin. There were a few plot holes if you think too deeply, but if you sit back and go with the flow the book, overall, is excellent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    After the Change, only children were left alive – and once each child reached the age of fourteen, they were taken to the Meat Factory to be harvested. Gold Eye was one who managed to escape and not be caught, though his life on the run was a dangerous one. The night he was close to capture, he was rescued by a group of three, Drum, Ella and Ninde and taken back to their refuge – an old, abandoned submarine where Shade ruled, and small groups of children ventured out into the danger to search fo After the Change, only children were left alive – and once each child reached the age of fourteen, they were taken to the Meat Factory to be harvested. Gold Eye was one who managed to escape and not be caught, though his life on the run was a dangerous one. The night he was close to capture, he was rescued by a group of three, Drum, Ella and Ninde and taken back to their refuge – an old, abandoned submarine where Shade ruled, and small groups of children ventured out into the danger to search for information for him. Shade was a computer-generated adult male who provided creature comforts for his children. But he also sent them on dangerous missions into the Overlord territory where the risk of capture and death was constant. The Overlords directed the Myrmidons, Wingers and Ferrets – so avoiding them all was difficult, but imperative. The four friends quietly made plans to do all in their power to destroy the Overlords, which would in turn destroy the strange creatures who controlled their lives. But could they do it? Would they have the strength and fortitude to complete their biggest mission yet? Shade’s Children by Aussie author Garth Nix is a fascinating, brutal, action-packed sci-fi novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. A fast read, even at 334 pages; I flew through it in a matter of hours. I don’t read a lot of this genre – perhaps I should read more! Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Willow

    Garth Nix is wonderful. He is one of the true great sci-fi and fantasy authors. Shade's Children was heartbreakingly sad and clever. This book is not a pick-me-up but I do think that it is original and interesting. However, fans of the Old Kingdom beware, this is very different from his other books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorothea

    I liked this a lot when I was a YA myself, but while I still think some parts are well done, in general I don't find Shade's Children nearly as good as the Abhorsen trilogy. One problem is the backstory -- there are some small holes and some very big ones. I mostly liked that Nix doesn't try to explain the situation very much, because it should only be a little less mysterious to the reader than it is to the protagonists; but then again, in science fiction there should at least be a pretense that I liked this a lot when I was a YA myself, but while I still think some parts are well done, in general I don't find Shade's Children nearly as good as the Abhorsen trilogy. One problem is the backstory -- there are some small holes and some very big ones. I mostly liked that Nix doesn't try to explain the situation very much, because it should only be a little less mysterious to the reader than it is to the protagonists; but then again, in science fiction there should at least be a pretense that the science fiction makes sense. "They came from another dimension" is not really enough, especially when the solution is to (view spoiler)[send them back to wherever they came from by destroying the thing that (1) maintains their power but (2) was somehow placed by them or their agents in advance of their coming (hide spoiler)] . There's absolutely no assurance that (view spoiler)[they won't just come back by the same means, in which case the happy ending is a total fake (hide spoiler)] . Another problem is Shade. I found him mostly annoying. There are a lot of Serious Questions this book could have ruminated about (if absolutely necessary) without straw man dilemmas about utilitarianism. It makes sense for Shade to be corrupted by the power he necessarily has over the escapees; it makes sense for him to lose touch with his original goals because of his unusual, isolated situation. But I think Nix was trying to do too much with this character, making him bear inane pop-philosophy, the scifi film trope of computer program gone wrong, etc. Thirdly, the (view spoiler)[happy (hide spoiler)] ending. The four protagonists' actions during the conclusion make sense, but the final disposition of the world doesn't go well with one of the novel's strengths. I really liked how Nix was able to show how confusing things were for children who had either grown up entirely in the Dormitories established by the Overlords, or who had witnessed the entire adult world vanish during the Change and then had to endure the Overlords. Gold-Eye's instinctive submission and running away; Ninde's obsession with social rules learned from videos of 1990s television; Ella's absolute single-mindedness; (saddest of all, and most angering if this was actually a considered view of Nix's instead of just what Drum thinks) Drum's secret belief that because of his physical differences, there would be no place for him in a restored ordinary world. It's clear that none of them has any substantial idea of what would happen next if the Overlords were defeated: some imagine that their parents would magically come back; most of them vaguely think that they would somehow simply restore the world as it was. To the adult reader, it's clear that none of them (the oldest perhaps four years old when the Change happened) has any idea what would need to be done to restore the old world, which they must think of as some kind of utopia. Shade presumably knows better, but has long since lost interest, and teaches only those skills that are needed to survive and assist him in the present. Should the Overlords be defeated, the survivors are in for years of anarchy; whether they'd end up restoring the old world as much as possible, or making something new, is a completely open question; the only thing certain is that it will be terribly difficult. (view spoiler)[And perhaps that is the case -- but if Gold-Eye's final vision is true, then in only a few years the basics of Work and School and Nuclear Heterosexual Family will be restored and everyone will be happy about it. I suppose that seemed like the best way to wrap things up -- but it all crashes down with the slightest questioning. (hide spoiler)] I think I like how sex-positive this story is -- in taking care of the escapees on his secret submarine, Shade makes sure to provide sex education and avoid stigmatizing adolescent sexual desires -- but on this reading, I noticed that the narrator insists on referring to all of these sexually active adolescents as "children," which is creepy. (Also, hooray for narrative insistence on contraception! But boo for not noticing that if all the submarine's supplies come from grocery stores that were abandoned 15 years ago, those condoms are really not safe to use anymore.) This time I was amused to think of the Overlords as (view spoiler)[a really dedicated gaming club playing an evil version of Warhammer (hide spoiler)] . The best part of Shade's Children, and what if anything really makes it worth reading, is the characterization of the four human protagonists. Gold-Eye, being the ingenue for whose benefit (and the reader's) everything gets explained, is the weakest; but I absolutely loved cheeky Ninde (irritating and endearing at the same time), badass Ella (who studies military handbooks), and cynical Drum.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rems

    When I picked this up, I picked it up for the fact I was a fan of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy, and was hoping to find more that he had written. And this really did ace it. Shade's Children is set in a dystopia setting, perhaps more modern than not, as the technology of present day is still there in that setting, but no one knows how to use it. Fifteen years ago everyone over fourteen vanished, and eventually children were rounded up and taken to the Dorms. When you turn fourteen, you die. If When I picked this up, I picked it up for the fact I was a fan of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy, and was hoping to find more that he had written. And this really did ace it. Shade's Children is set in a dystopia setting, perhaps more modern than not, as the technology of present day is still there in that setting, but no one knows how to use it. Fifteen years ago everyone over fourteen vanished, and eventually children were rounded up and taken to the Dorms. When you turn fourteen, you die. If you're bred or put on drugs, you might last longer. But you all die. And all the children know that when you die, you become monsters. It's not all children that meet this horific end, though - some manage to escape and find their way to Shade, a man fighting against the Overlords who is not as he seems. Maybe he's your friend - maybe he's not. The book, to me, was different from a long of things I have read, and no the kind of thing I usually would. But it's compelling once you start, and you have to read as the many mysteries surrounding it are unravelled. My favourite part about this book is probably the breaks between each chapter, whether it be an interview, a conversation that Shade's recorded, or some records that Shade has, though particularly the interviews. It was the first one that gripped me, Ella's, right off the bat, from the Now you're watching me... and you're wondering... what got her?. Not to say I don't enjoy the rest - because I did. There's something about Nix's writing style that makes it very easy for me to read his books, regardless of the subject matter, and it was easy to read as well as enjoyable. Recommendable, but not for the faint of heart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daria

    *Spoilers for him or her who cares whether this book has a happy ending or a sad one. (In retrospect, that's probably loads of people, but I'm always unwilling to mark the "contains spoilers" box. I usually try not to spoil things.)* We open the first few pages and here we are, cheerily dropped by Garth Nix into a world in which seven psychopaths of a higher life form, apparently hailing from another dimension, have taken over this world and taken World of Warcraft to the next level. So far so go *Spoilers for him or her who cares whether this book has a happy ending or a sad one. (In retrospect, that's probably loads of people, but I'm always unwilling to mark the "contains spoilers" box. I usually try not to spoil things.)* We open the first few pages and here we are, cheerily dropped by Garth Nix into a world in which seven psychopaths of a higher life form, apparently hailing from another dimension, have taken over this world and taken World of Warcraft to the next level. So far so good. But to further the sense of catastrophe, these Overlords' armies are powered by the brains and sinew of fourteen-year-old humans who are bred and raised in captivity. Said brain and sinew power a variety of freakish cyborg-things who, when not engaging in bouts of capture-the-flag, track down children escapees. (Every adult on the planet, however, had vanished when the Overlords came, so everything works out conveniently.) Enter a myriad of characters, each of whom I found fully developed and interesting in their own right. The characters thus were a great success, as was the dystopian environment. The action unfolded well, gaining the right amount of momentum after the climax peaked. The alternation of chapters, jumping from third-person narrative to the inside of Shade's machine system, was an incredibly clever touch. The machine chapters served the dual purpose of being generally awesome and fulfilling the side of the plot which the narrative didn't. So, in midst of all this, what was lagging? Garth Nix seems to like happy endings. Having created a plot this grim, one would be astounded that he'd be able to get away with a happily-ever-after in this case. Like the good writer he is, however, he steers us readers toward it. The reader has no choice but to heartily wish that the end of this particular story is happy. Indeed, there is so much dark content throughout the book that the ending desperately needs to turn out positive for our unfortunate protagonists. But, given the overall dark content matter of the book, it must be positive to a certain extent. There are several points which are left unresolved by Nix and which glaringly do require our attention. Throughout the book, Nix focuses us in on the setting and moment, letting our imagination supply the situation which is occuring elsewhere. Only through occasional lines do we surmise that the rest of Earth is in the same condition as the unnamed city in which the given events take course, for example. Having endured Nix's dark world for several hundred pages, full of abandoned urban structures and flooded sewage tunnels and all manners of horrid, inhumane things which will creep after you, capture you, and take you to a factory plant for disassembly, the ending could not be more out of place. And so the daisies burst from the ground! The sun started shining and the birds began singing! And all who were present joined linked hands in a circle and... You get the point. Well, it seemed that Nix left more to our imaginations. He did not specify whether the adults which were taken ever came back (we presume they did not). Nor does he tell us directly if the Overlords ever left. (This is also assumed.) Why not some more details, Mr. Nix? I mean, he left enough to write a whole companion novel, it seems. I think we'd like to know more about these parallel dimensions, and the world from which the Overlords came. Why do they look like us and yet act so brutally? Why would they treat those who look like them as animals? (Very nice allegory here by the way, Mr. Nix. I'm surprised those groups who are against animal testing/genetic meddling have't recruited this book as their manifesto yet.) And finally, how is it that, leaving the whole world post-apocalyptic and at the hands of a multitude of children, we see human civilization pick up right where it left off with hardly a blunder? That's a pretty far-fetched leap, and it was the one which made me unhappiest. I must also add that I very much approved of Shade's machine-human struggle, although his redemption was rather bland. He had nothing to lose at the very end, so the final triumph over the Overlords did not feel as satisfying as it might have been. All that said, if one performs a final leap of faith for Garth Nix (who, if you don't already know, wrote the stunning Sabriel, which you, without question, must immediately go read), one will find Shade's Children to be a compelling and blood-chilling telling of dystopian settings and events which hurdle by with barely a breath to spare.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    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 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 held 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ}

    From what I remember, this was a really dark book to read. Being as young as I was, I do remember picking up once and unable to read it. The second time was better because I was so sucked in, I couldn't put it down. Unfortunately, because I was so young and naive, I didn't understand half of what I was reading until the third reading. Quite intensely dark for a children's book--for a child!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    My favourite individual book from Garth NIX. The plot is great! It's racy, thrilling, futuristique... and the ending made me cry it was that good!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wheeler

    Didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it. Interesting storyline, and likeable characters. Except for use of the word “fuck” on a couple of occasions, I feel like this read like more of a 9-12 age group than YA. The ending was a tad too abrupt for my liking.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura Jayne Tricker

    I really enjoyed this one and really enjoyed the ride.it kept me guessing and although there are some plot holes and an abrupt ending it was quite clever. Will have to read more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenn, Reader of Things

    "If an action must be taken that will benefit the majority at the cost of the minority, is it morally indefensible? If an action taken for the benefit of a majority occurs at the expense of a minority, is it moral action?" ***3.5 staritos*** I keep getting the vibe that this book would've made a great video game. Monsters, evil Overlords, runaway teens, a mysterious mentor.... it could be epic. Shade's Children tells the story of the world fifteen years after the "Change" led to the rule of the e "If an action must be taken that will benefit the majority at the cost of the minority, is it morally indefensible? If an action taken for the benefit of a majority occurs at the expense of a minority, is it moral action?" ***3.5 staritos*** I keep getting the vibe that this book would've made a great video game. Monsters, evil Overlords, runaway teens, a mysterious mentor.... it could be epic. Shade's Children tells the story of the world fifteen years after the "Change" led to the rule of the evil Overlords who harvest children on their fourteenth birthdays (called your Sad Birthday) and take them to the Meat Factory, where they are used to create the monsters the Overlords use in their constant warring. It centers around four main characters(Ella, Drum, Ninde, and Gold-Eye), each of which have a special "Change Talent" that somehow helped them escape the Dorms before being killed. They are each one of Shade's Children, a small group of rebel escapees led by the mysterious human-but-not-really Shade. Shade is an interesting character, and probably one of my favorites of the story. Because Shade is not human... or is he? The question of how much of a person Shade really is lingers throughout most of the book, revving up the suspense. There's also plenty of action to keep the reader well-engrossed and entertained. This novel was alot more mature than I expected, seeing as the cover of first-edition copy I purchased was a little cartoon-y, though in a creepy way. There's mention of sex and also a few disturbing scenes and themes. This is definitely not a middle-grade book. Fourteen and up is about right. I absolutely LOVED the "video archive" chapters. They were full of meaningful plot and character insights that really added alot to the story. Very interesting. Much coolness was present. It was a very original, very intense story and it's refreshing to see a well-crafted stand-alone in a world where John Green and Sarah Dessen seem to be the only people who haven't launched into trilogy or 5-book series. It does, however have it's faults, one of the main ones being the overall lack of supporting characters. The main characters are well-crafted, even if not very complex. Other characters are mentioned, and come into the story a few short times, but never enough to really care when we hear something's happened to them. They're just not present enough. I feel as if the whole story was so centered around our MC's that everyone else was either forgotten or kicked to the curb. As the story progresses, there is a noticeable void that a few interesting side characters would fill nicely. The ending was just heartaching. I was so sad and happy at the same time I wanted to just explode, or maybe eat twenty packs of Doritos. So sad, so beautiful. In Conclusionness, Very original and disturbing. Though faulty in some areas, it will keep you entertained and engaged. Definitely recommended for people in search of something cool and original, but who don't feel like getting into a series. -JennTheAwesum

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Maybe 3.5 stars. An interesting teen novel with some great aspects. The characterisation is very good and the plot engaging, although I feel like the premise had more potential that was perhaps actually explored. Anyway, an enjoyable read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    I was about halfway through this book before I got the inkling that I had read it before, so long ago that I only had the vaguest of memories being brought back by reading. So weird. A fascinating dystopia novel with interesting characters and lots of mysteries to be solved. This is a very imaginative, and disturbing, world. Obviously, it is not mind-blowing writing or anything as I didn't even remember reading it, but it is enjoyable and quick. There is a bunch of swearing, spread out into bunch I was about halfway through this book before I got the inkling that I had read it before, so long ago that I only had the vaguest of memories being brought back by reading. So weird. A fascinating dystopia novel with interesting characters and lots of mysteries to be solved. This is a very imaginative, and disturbing, world. Obviously, it is not mind-blowing writing or anything as I didn't even remember reading it, but it is enjoyable and quick. There is a bunch of swearing, spread out into bunches, talk of sex among children, violence, and disturbing imagery and characters. It was written in 1998 but still fits right in with more recent dystopia novels that I've read. I listened to this on audible, and the narrator was generally engaging and did a good job. I stayed up 3.5 hours later than I meant to the first night as I had been sucked in to the story and lost all track of time. There are a few parts that would have been easier with reading though, mostly lists that acted as kind of transitions between chapters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kereesa

    You know that moment of pure emotion where you just sit there gasping and wondering what the hell just happened to you? Well, that's me right now. I haven't been affected by a book like this in a very long time. And it's a pretty fabulous and terrifying feeling all at once. Bare with me, I'm trying to find my thoughts. I fell in love with Garth Nix the first time I read Sabriel, then fell deeper in love with the rest of the Abhorsen trilogy series. I kind of fell out of love with him when I got to You know that moment of pure emotion where you just sit there gasping and wondering what the hell just happened to you? Well, that's me right now. I haven't been affected by a book like this in a very long time. And it's a pretty fabulous and terrifying feeling all at once. Bare with me, I'm trying to find my thoughts. I fell in love with Garth Nix the first time I read Sabriel, then fell deeper in love with the rest of the Abhorsen trilogy series. I kind of fell out of love with him when I got to Drowned Wednesday in his Mister Monday series (I can't remember the real name of that series tbh..) I haven't attempted to read anything else of his until, after being pushed by more than a few friends, I ended up picking up Shade's Children on a whim. And thank god I did. Because it really got me thinking about re-reading the Days of the Week series (whatever) and maybe even checking out some of his other work instead of just sticking to my collection of well-read Abhorsen novels. Shade's Children is kind of sort of your typical scifi. Evil overlords, good rebels, and a sense that everything isn't quite what it seems. But it's...well it's just damn good. The world, the narrative, the way everything collides so beautifully. Practically everything about this book was wonderful for me, even if the characters, at moments, weren't quite pulling at my heartstrings-though I definitely felt for them more than once. The suspense really go to me throughout this novel, and I really was breathless while I was reading. Because damn if I knew ANYBODY was going to get out of this alive. Stand alones are definitely not good for my heart. I really love the fact that Nix is also playing with some pretty big ideas here in Shade's Children, especially since he does it covertly and subtly throughout the piece. While the novel is about manipulation, knowledge, and the concept and corruption of power, these elements to the book are carefully weaved into the plot without taking over it. And that's truly my kind of book. Mostly because it forces me to think really hard about these themes and then I get to analyze the shit out of it. English majors, we don't live for much. All in all, I loved/adore/worshipped Shade's Children. (Which made it really hard to do homework this week) It had everything I wanted in a scifi book, and got me to question my earlier tastes concerning Nix's other series. I mean I liked Gossip Girl back then; my tastes have definitely changed. I hope, at least. 5/5

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Very mixed feelings about this one. It gets four stars because I thought the writing was excellent, and the scene-setting brilliant. I was instantly drawn into this dystopian world, in which everyone over the age of 14 has disappeared and children are basically farmed for their body parts, which go to provide soldiers for the "overlords" that have taken over the earth. Garth Nix's imagination seems so fertile, it makes me despair of ever being able to write anything decent in comparison. The rest Very mixed feelings about this one. It gets four stars because I thought the writing was excellent, and the scene-setting brilliant. I was instantly drawn into this dystopian world, in which everyone over the age of 14 has disappeared and children are basically farmed for their body parts, which go to provide soldiers for the "overlords" that have taken over the earth. Garth Nix's imagination seems so fertile, it makes me despair of ever being able to write anything decent in comparison. The rest of this review will be pretty spoilery, so at this point I'll say, give this book a try if you like well-written dystopias with teenage protagonists and don't mind the odd plot hole. I liked the character of Shade, although (view spoiler)[he became pretty hammy for a while toward the end. However, I thought his redemption arc worked well (hide spoiler)] . I liked that Nix doesn't shy away from some truly bleak moments as we find out the fates of various characters. Unlike some other reviewers I've seen, I really enjoyed the inter-chapter interpolations of the various reports, and I thought they successfully built up the tension in addition to what was going on with the main characters. The fact that the evil overlords are basically (view spoiler)[gamers using the earth like an RPG with human characters as foot soldiers was fun (hide spoiler)] . But the ending was far too pat for my liking, particularly given the science fiction set-up. Really, really spoilery bit: (view spoiler)[I hated the fact that Ella and Drum had to die, even though it was clearly set up from quite early on. I didn't like it for two reasons: firstly, there's the feeling that they've both gone through too much and would not be able to settle to life in a nice, normal world (a la Frodo Baggins), so their deaths aren't really such a tragedy. I really hate this attitude. There's also a strong intimation throughout the book that Drum somehow would not be able to live a fulfilled life because of his physical state, which...feels very dated in this day and age. And then Nix really amps up the bittersweet by showing us a happy ending with the other two characters, safe in their new (old) world. And I cried, which made me both more annoyed and more impressed with the book. It's a cheesy way to wrap it up, but it works. (hide spoiler)]

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    It took some time for me to determine whether to give Shade's Children two or three stars... but decided on two in the end. The premise is compelling: four children (who appear to range in age from 15 to 19) escape from evil overlords who rule a dystopian future where humans don't live past age fourteen, and all adults have disappeared. On their "Sad Birthday," the children are taken to the "Meat Factory," where they are dissected and used for parts to create the Overlords' nightmarish creatures It took some time for me to determine whether to give Shade's Children two or three stars... but decided on two in the end. The premise is compelling: four children (who appear to range in age from 15 to 19) escape from evil overlords who rule a dystopian future where humans don't live past age fourteen, and all adults have disappeared. On their "Sad Birthday," the children are taken to the "Meat Factory," where they are dissected and used for parts to create the Overlords' nightmarish creatures who they use to attack members of rivaling clans as a form of entertainment. Don't worry-- this isn't a spoiler. Nix tells you up front what the children are used for, and the nature of the future that awaits them. The four escaped children find the enigmatic Shade, who is not quite human and not quite machine, who vacillates between human holographic manifestations and various robotic appendages of himself. It's hard for me to pinpoint why I didn't love this book, but the best reason I can determine is that I felt it was rushed. I didn't feel that I developed a bond with the characters, and that the entire book was one large action sequence. I think I was expecting a mish-mash of The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies, where well developed characters run a survival gauntlet, while re-forming society using their childish wiles alone. That's not what I got. Instead, I felt that it was entertaining at times, and though I was horrified by Shade's Childrens' plight, I was uninvested in the characters, and by the time the incredibly rushed conclusion occurred I didn't care as much as I should have. After saying all of that, though, I think that Shade's Children might be the rare instance where a movie based on the book is better than the book itself. In short-- maybe someone should make this into a movie.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm a big fan of Garth Nix and have read practically all of his books. Which is why I was so surprised to find this one since I've never heard of it before. And after reading it, I realized there's a good reason for that: this book kind of stinks. As a book, it's all right, but as a Garth Nix book, it's terrible. It's his worst book by far. It's almost like he decided he wanted to do what all the other young adult authors were doing by putting in a bunch of swearing and sexual references, but it I'm a big fan of Garth Nix and have read practically all of his books. Which is why I was so surprised to find this one since I've never heard of it before. And after reading it, I realized there's a good reason for that: this book kind of stinks. As a book, it's all right, but as a Garth Nix book, it's terrible. It's his worst book by far. It's almost like he decided he wanted to do what all the other young adult authors were doing by putting in a bunch of swearing and sexual references, but it was very clumsily done and just made his writing sound amateur. I did like the structure of the book, though. I thought it was a neat idea to have the computer transcriptions in between each chapter. I also liked the characters. They were interesting and unique, and the plot surrounding Shade is very interesting. The overall plot, though, not so much. It's really difficult to get into this book because the world is rather complex and confusing, and nothing is really explained very clearly for quite a while. You basically have to figure things out as you go. And nothing really important happens until the last few chapters of the book. So, for Garth Nix's one and only attempt at Science Fiction, I say it's a no go. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, let alone a young adult, for fear it would make them not want to read the goodness that is Garth Nix's other books. I really wonder what happened for him to write this weird fluke. Warnings (on a scale of 1-5): Sexual/Body: 5 Though there is only a moderate amount of sexual references, they are very explicit and detailed. Garth Nix doesn't hold back on his descriptions at all. Language: 3 There isn't a whole lot of swearing, but when it is there, it's pretty intense. Violence: 3 The characters fight/kill a lot and the description of their enemies' injuries and deaths is a little graphic and sometimes disturbing. Death: 2 Again, the characters kill a lot, a lot of the off-screen characters die, and other characters die. Basically, there is a lot of death, but it's dealt with very lightly, unlike everything else in this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    Picture this: A group of humans from another dimension come to Earth in the late 20th century and found a church and a religious movement. They direct their ignorant followers to build "churches" for them on mountaintops, on which the other-dimension humans install projectors that radiate energy. They cause these projectors to be installed on the rooftops of the tallest buildings in this unnamed metropolitan area in which this novel takes place. Once all their preparations have been done, they t Picture this: A group of humans from another dimension come to Earth in the late 20th century and found a church and a religious movement. They direct their ignorant followers to build "churches" for them on mountaintops, on which the other-dimension humans install projectors that radiate energy. They cause these projectors to be installed on the rooftops of the tallest buildings in this unnamed metropolitan area in which this novel takes place. Once all their preparations have been done, they turn on these projectors and all of us over the age of 14 just disappear. Then they collect the ones 13 and 11 months and younger left behind and put them in seven dormitories. For 15 years, when these children and any others that they breed from the survivors reach the age of 14, they are shipped off to the Meat Factory to be turned into various "creatures," which the Overlords, as the seven humans from the other dimension call themselves, use to fight one another in bloody battles held all over the city, all for a trophy that the Overlord who wins the most battles each year gets. But one man, a computer science professor, survived the projectors being turned on because he had placed his consciousness in a computer beforehand; this man now calls himself Shade. For 15 years, he takes in any children who escape the dormitories or who have been living as wild animals in the city, but Shade always exacts a price. He sends them on constant missions into the city and the Overlords' territory, and many of his children don't return. This novel is full of gripping, tight action scenes, interspersed with computer records and musings from Shade. Four of his children are the main protagonists, two young men and two young women, and how they free the 50,000 children held captive in the dorms when the novel begins is a quick, tightly-paced read that will have you furiously flipping the pages for more.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    There were three reasons why Shade's Children only got 3 stars, for it was a entertaining storyline and you bonded with Ella, Ninde, Drum and Gold-Eye. First, after having read a series of dystopian novels such as the Gone series, Matched, The Maze Runner series etc.. I found the novel to have way too much sci-fi for my taste. Picking up the book, I excepted it to be similar to other dystopian novels. However, I found out later on that the author specializes in sci-fi. Second, I found it hard to There were three reasons why Shade's Children only got 3 stars, for it was a entertaining storyline and you bonded with Ella, Ninde, Drum and Gold-Eye. First, after having read a series of dystopian novels such as the Gone series, Matched, The Maze Runner series etc.. I found the novel to have way too much sci-fi for my taste. Picking up the book, I excepted it to be similar to other dystopian novels. However, I found out later on that the author specializes in sci-fi. Second, I found it hard to picture the creatures. The descriptions were not that detailed and I found it difficult to perceive the Tracker as terrifying when it was basically described as looking like a super skinny being with big, bulging eyes. The very last thing was that there wasn't much detail given to why the Change even happened and I personally find the ending could have been elaborated a bit more. I found that I still had questions that were unanswered. In all, it's not a book that I would recommend to everyone. Rather, it would be enjoyed most by people who have an interest in sci-fi thrillers with a bit of a post-apocalyptic twist. However, if you have the time and money, I would suggest reading it. It's definitely not a pick-me-up but it does make you wonder about humanity, among other things.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angypants

    Possibly, if this book is read in these days of popular post-apocalyptic stories, one might be tempted to throw this one in with the "ah, someone read 'Hunger Games' and wrote a book" crowd. Now, some of those books fall in the AWESOME category (DIVERGENT), but others can make someone either say, "Ooo, I love that kind of book", or "No more!". Well, luckily, "Shade's Children" was published in 1997! Ahead of the trend! Booyah! Aaaand now it's been re-released, with a new cover. Garth Nix is known Possibly, if this book is read in these days of popular post-apocalyptic stories, one might be tempted to throw this one in with the "ah, someone read 'Hunger Games' and wrote a book" crowd. Now, some of those books fall in the AWESOME category (DIVERGENT), but others can make someone either say, "Ooo, I love that kind of book", or "No more!". Well, luckily, "Shade's Children" was published in 1997! Ahead of the trend! Booyah! Aaaand now it's been re-released, with a new cover. Garth Nix is known (or unknown- get reading!) for his Abhorsen series. Having finally read those (yes, I was a reluctant reader) I was eager to read any other Nix novels. "Shade's Children" is a decidedly different, but similar story. Different, in that it is science fiction/thriller, and similar in Nix's ability to write young people at odds with their environments and others in a convincing and deft way. I won't spoil anything here, but if you might enjoy another one of those "post apocolyptic" thriller-y types, or even if you know you won't, you can read this either way. Because it's fun and good adventure, and it's different with little to no love triangle. Oops. Spoiler!

  23. 5 out of 5

    SE Panoply

    http://bookwayfarer.wordpress.com/201... I read this book, I believe, in junior high. It's one of those novels that sucks you into the story and doesnt let you go till you've reached the end, and then want more. It's about these kids, set in the future, when all the adults are gone. Poof, gone. And these kids are trying to survive in a world run by machines when at 12 years old you might as well kiss yourself goodbye because you're old enough to become a drone of some kind, or food. So there's a r http://bookwayfarer.wordpress.com/201... I read this book, I believe, in junior high. It's one of those novels that sucks you into the story and doesnt let you go till you've reached the end, and then want more. It's about these kids, set in the future, when all the adults are gone. Poof, gone. And these kids are trying to survive in a world run by machines when at 12 years old you might as well kiss yourself goodbye because you're old enough to become a drone of some kind, or food. So there's a rogue group who are trying to change things and Gold Eye, the main character is rescued by them and starts going on missions with them, where he learns more about life, love and growing up. I really enjoyed this book and if you like any of Nix's previous works you'll like this too. Or even if you're starting on this and you're reading Nix for the first time (this was my first book by him too) you'll appreciate this one and want to read more of his work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sasha Ivashkov-Herondale-Jackson (aka Clarisse)

    i think i read this book like when i was in grade 6 and i was scared imagining a world were i would have died in 3 years. (i was 11 at the time) Garth Nix is a FANTASTIC writer and i was hooked, i tell u HOOKED!!!! to this book till the end. It was one of the very few stand alone books that blew my mind.... fantastic writing and veryyyy original considering its a dystopian and i dont usually like dystopian (after suffering from PTSD from readin fail dystopians such as Matched and Delirium) so yeh i think i read this book like when i was in grade 6 and i was scared imagining a world were i would have died in 3 years. (i was 11 at the time) Garth Nix is a FANTASTIC writer and i was hooked, i tell u HOOKED!!!! to this book till the end. It was one of the very few stand alone books that blew my mind.... fantastic writing and veryyyy original considering its a dystopian and i dont usually like dystopian (after suffering from PTSD from readin fail dystopians such as Matched and Delirium) so yeh read this book its sooooo good and sooooo original and creative... (view spoiler)[ what with using dead teenagers' bodies to make the overloads and all... eww but a VERY good plot! ) (hide spoiler)] yeh so by all the other review and from my five stars u cud tell that it was a GREAT book. when i was reading it i thought it was quite good, but now i think its AWSME. although i probably shudnt have read it when i was 11yrs old but whatevz...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    For some reason I found this book rather difficult to get into the first time around, although upon picking it up for the second time I managed to work my way through it in next to no time at all. I cannot pinpoint what prevented me the first though, yet I am glad I managed to get over whatever it was. It’s a thrilling story of a group of people in a world where children are the only ones left and being used for a much darker reason. The characters themselves are all easy to believe, the fictiona For some reason I found this book rather difficult to get into the first time around, although upon picking it up for the second time I managed to work my way through it in next to no time at all. I cannot pinpoint what prevented me the first though, yet I am glad I managed to get over whatever it was. It’s a thrilling story of a group of people in a world where children are the only ones left and being used for a much darker reason. The characters themselves are all easy to believe, the fictional aspects all well thought out and the idea itself a wonderful one. We follow the story of one group, with their story full of twist. Most of these twists were unexpected but there were a few which seemed a little bit on the obvious side. Nevertheless, the ending itself made up for those few predictable moments, ending on a sentimental note.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    One day, everyone over the age of fourteen has vanished from the Earth, and in their place are Overlords and hideous alien creatures. The children are rounded up and trained until their "sad birthday," when an alien attaches itself to them or they are ripped apart for meat. The few children who manage to escape live a borderline life, constantly fleeing the aliens that have overrun their world. The only ray of hope is "Shade," a personality left behind in a computer. And yet Shade has been worry One day, everyone over the age of fourteen has vanished from the Earth, and in their place are Overlords and hideous alien creatures. The children are rounded up and trained until their "sad birthday," when an alien attaches itself to them or they are ripped apart for meat. The few children who manage to escape live a borderline life, constantly fleeing the aliens that have overrun their world. The only ray of hope is "Shade," a personality left behind in a computer. And yet Shade has been worryingly casual about the children’s lives…Action packed and nicely dark.

  27. 5 out of 5

    X

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Four stars, though I don't know why. The writing wasn't outstanding, though it was good, I'm not so sure I liked the ending, some things could have been explained better, and all my favorite characters got killed. Still, it was quite hard to put down; I read it in two days. It has loads of action, the characters are believable and largely likable, and the general idea of the story is also good. And if one were of a mind, there would be plenty of moral, ethical and philosophical questions to pond Four stars, though I don't know why. The writing wasn't outstanding, though it was good, I'm not so sure I liked the ending, some things could have been explained better, and all my favorite characters got killed. Still, it was quite hard to put down; I read it in two days. It has loads of action, the characters are believable and largely likable, and the general idea of the story is also good. And if one were of a mind, there would be plenty of moral, ethical and philosophical questions to ponder.

  28. 4 out of 5

    MichelleG

    Normally I love anything by Garth Nix, but I'm just not so sure about this one. Obviously the writing is fantastic - that is to be expected, but I just couldn't seem to connect with the characters or really feel involved in the story. Perhaps that might be because I've so enjoyed everything I've ever read by Garth previously, so my expectations may have been elevated. This is a good book, but just not great... In my humble opinion.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Jones

    In Shade’s Children by Garth Nix, we learned that the world has been taken over by weird-looking beings called the Overlords. In this world, once children turn 15 years old, they mysteriously disappear. Where did they go? The children were all hounded and kept like prisoners and once they age more than 14 years old, they are taken to the Meat Factory to have their insides harvested so the Overlords can create creatures with it. Brutal. Our protagonist, Gold-Eye, has the ability to see visions. So, In Shade’s Children by Garth Nix, we learned that the world has been taken over by weird-looking beings called the Overlords. In this world, once children turn 15 years old, they mysteriously disappear. Where did they go? The children were all hounded and kept like prisoners and once they age more than 14 years old, they are taken to the Meat Factory to have their insides harvested so the Overlords can create creatures with it. Brutal. Our protagonist, Gold-Eye, has the ability to see visions. So, with this ability, he managed to escape from getting captured but then he was almost caught. A group of other teens rescued him and took him to meet their leader, named Shade. Shade is an uploaded consciousness of a man named Robert Ingman, the one who is responsible for what happened to the world. Under Shade’s leadership, the team, consisting of Gold-Eye; conjurer of inanimate objects, Ella; telepathic Ninde; and telekinetic Drum, went on a mission to retrieve a device that would help to destroy the Overlords. However, Shade betrayed the team in the end for his own gains (not going to spoil why), and the children were captured. Ella and Drum managed to escape. This pair has a bittersweet journey. They end up dead from the blast of the device that regulates the Overlords, and at the last moment before they are consumed by the blast, they are given a vision by Ninde. The explosion caused Ninde and Gold-Eye to read the minds of the now-freed children and they could see some visions of the future--one of it is Ninde and Gold-Eye having children named Ella and Drum. Brutal story, but really loved the pace and the characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Loryn Kelley

    Nearly twenty years ago, I purchased Shade’s Children. I hadn’t read it since I was a kid. Two decades later, the story is still mesmerizing. I couldn’t put it down! The book reads like a film; there is constant action. Every sentence serves a purpose; there isn’t fluff. For a Young Adult book, it’s rather impressive. Honestly, someone should consider making this into a movie or a short series. It would do well. The genre of the book is science-fiction. Essentially, only children remain on the Nearly twenty years ago, I purchased Shade’s Children. I hadn’t read it since I was a kid. Two decades later, the story is still mesmerizing. I couldn’t put it down! The book reads like a film; there is constant action. Every sentence serves a purpose; there isn’t fluff. For a Young Adult book, it’s rather impressive. Honestly, someone should consider making this into a movie or a short series. It would do well. The genre of the book is science-fiction. Essentially, only children remain on the planet. The bizarre occurrence is called The Change. The entire plot focuses on how to revert the world into its previous stasis. However, the new world is ruled by evil Overlords, using the bodies of children to create monstrous creatures. Most children do not survive past sixteen years of age. It’s a disgusting concept – one that pulls at your heartstrings. However, it’s a glorious read. I found myself asking, “What would I do to survive such a place?” Overall, I think anyone would enjoy it. Shade’s Children is action-packed, well-written, and philosophical. It holds-up – even twenty years later.

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