Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Indie

Dead world, primal mind eating monster, kids with powers – Children of the Different, S.C.Flynn 3.5 stars, but it's definitely worth a read if you love fantasy

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★★★✬☆  3.5 stars
Received in giveaway

I have been reading this book for quite a while. The reason it took me so long though, was because I was listening to it on a reading app, rather than just reading. I have received this one on a giveaway. Having finished it, I was struggling with the rating question for a bit. 3? Or 4?

On one hand, the ideas were good, there were even times when it was Stephen-King-strong, but somehow the story lost the grip. It’s to be expected – Stephen King also didn’t chug out genius pieces on his first published try, I bet. The writing is also a little technical, and there are some lapses in the tale, but it’s all details. The big picture was good. And there’s another thing – I listened to this on a reading app. I did enjoy listening to it, but books you listen to through a reading app (not an actual human reading it either), usually get unearned demerits. You have to consider that.

So I’ve decided on 3.5.

Anyway, the book itself. I think we should do a list review this time, what do you think? But first of all, have a blurb:

Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. Now, at the start of adolescence, the children of the survivors enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. Thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. After their Changings, the twins will face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia…if they can reach it before time runs out. Children of the Different is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel set among the varied landscapes and wildlife of Western Australia.

So! The Good VS The Bad:

The world! The Changeland!
The idea is absolutely awesome, you’ve got this psychic collective world which every teen goes to “to change” or.. to perish. It’s this vast dreamscape, and I daresay – the best part of the book. The bravest, most daring, most imaginative part of the book.

Ultimately, it lacks some worldbuilding.
It takes too long to find out when in time this really is (how long after the disaster – although now I see that in the blurb, maybe I just missed it..?). Most of the people don’t remember anything about technology, but still call it ‘phones’ and ‘computers’. Wouldn’t you call it ‘strange square objects’? For half the book we’re immersed in an almost stone age world – in the end, suddenly the computers are working. Bit of a jump. In some places it does feel like it’s only 19 years later, in some it feels like a hundred. I had trouble placing the time frame.

Then there’s the Anteater.
In the tradition of Stephen King’s It and other big, looming, omnipotent monsters that lurk under your bed and in the shadow under the door. The Anteater was simply wonderful.

…before we found out what he was.
Boy, was it a let down. This could have been so much bigger. Not going to spoil though.

The detail in this book is great.
The situations are great. They are imaginative, they are intricate and truly eerie – just the way you’d like it. Walking on dead people’s stone faces in the collective dreaming land. Running from the dark evil being. Speaking to ancient unknowable beings.

☆ But ultimately, the wonderful details don’t deliver.
They fail to be tied into the big whole. It lacks something you can’t place.

The kids have some honest-to-god-awesome powers.
Some of their powers were truly very lovely, and I was slightly jealous. The powers are also written well and fit quite logically in the story.

☆ The book could have done without the short mention of romance.
I know the kids grew up together. But there was no real need for that. It felt like instalove. And they felt… too young somehow. I cringed.

☆ I couldn’t really place if this book was YA or not.
It’s *sort of* about teens. But it really doesn’t have the YA vibe at all. That’s not a bad thing – I’m just wondering what it was meant to be. Maybe it shouldn’t be marketed as YA. Feels more like regular adult fantasy to me.

So I might have pointed out more ‘meh’ facts than ‘yay’ facts, but that’s just me being picky. This is a good book, and if you like fantasy, you’ll probably like it. I just think it could have been better if it was serialized. There was one point in the book where I really wanted the book to end and to go to the sequel. After that it just peters out. It would have been so much better had it been two or three parts, with slightly more of the story continuing after the actual book ends.

A promising first book for S.C.Flynn for sure. I would read the sequel if there was one! And good job on having a moving GIF cover, that’s great!

Have you heard of this book before? Would it catch your attention?