Shade's Children

Garth Nix
Shade's Children Cover

Shade's Children


Shade's Children written by Garth Nix is the story of the Earth 15 years after "The Change" when everyone over the age of 15 years old mysteriously disappeared. The remaining children are gathered up, and when they turn 14 years old are taken to be used as parts for various creatures, These creatures are used by beings known as the "Overlords" who are aliens or possibly humans with alien spirits, as soldiers for their various war-games. Imagine the board game "Risk" with live people. Only a handful of children manage to escape, to live in the abandoned cities hunted by various creatures of the Overlords to be brought back to the "Dorms" where the children are housed, or the "Meat Factory" where they are processed into the various creatures. Some children are found by Shade or his children and are cared for and trained into a force to fight the Overlords and return the world to life before the change.

According to the American Library Association, Shade's Children was one of the 100 most banned or challenged novels of the 21st century. It is easy to see why this novel could upset some parents and/or educators. There is limited discussion of sex and birth control, but no actual intercourse happens in the novel. What has to be much more disturbing is that there are almost no adults in this novel, but the ones in it are either unredeemably evil, or are of questionable moral character. It is the children who are the heroes of the novel, the children that take the risks and dies by thousands on a daily basis for the whims of the adults in the novel.

The book itself is very well written. Garth Nix brings a strong voice to the children in this novel, and handles the relationships of these oh-so-damaged children in a way that is sensitive and realistic. The city which Mr. Nix created is so alien, but because there are flashes of normalcy throughout the landscape, it is even more horrific.

Although some libraries list Shade's Children as a YA novel, Adults should not fear that they will be reading a "dumbed down" story. The rich and twisted plot will keep both adult and teen readers entertained and slightly uncomfortable right up until the action packed ending.

3.5 out of 5 stars