Title: The Fallen Children
Author: David Owen
Publisher: Atom Books
UK Release Date: 4th May 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Supernatural
Source: Non Pratt (!)
One cover. 360 different colours. Which one will you get?
Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.
But change is coming…
One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.
As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha’s life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.
The Fallen Children is a story of violation, of judgment and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.
Over Christmas last year, I read David Owen’s debut novel, Panther, and absolutely adored it – it was raw and heart-breaking, and one of the most gripping books I’d read for a long time. So you can imagine my excitement when the next month I was at a book event, and Non Pratt (author of many books, such as Truth or Dare which is out next month) offered to pass on her copy to me, as she had almost finished it. I was absolutely over the moon, and incredibly keen to get reading considering I’d loved Panther so much, and I was not disappointed.
There were a lot of things that I loved about this book, but overall I think that my favourite thing had to be the characters. It was so interesting to see how they developed over the course of the book, as obvious the situation was a very unpredictable one, and I think that how characters react in a crisis often gives you a really good sense of who they are. I obviously don’t want to spoil anything, as it’s such a good book, and I don’t want to ramble, so I’m not going to say too much about the decisions and actions that made me like certain characters. However, I will say that they were all extremely complex and felt very real.
Another element that I absolutely have to talk about is the overall message behind the book. That little line at the end of the Goodreads description – The Fallen Children is a story of violation, of judgment and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them – is a perfect way of putting it. David Owen has taken an idea that affects a lot of teenagers nowadays, the burden or curse of expectation, and put it into a completely new situation, with alien pregnancies and superpowers. However, the idea of not having to be the person that society expects you to be rings true throughout, despite the paranormal elements, and I think it shows a lot of skill to be able to translate that idea into a more unusual setting and still have it come across just as clearly as it would have otherwise. It also made the book a really inspiring read – I came away from reading it feeling pleased at the message, as I think it’s an important one.
I lastly wanted to talk about the overall concept. When I first heard about the book, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’d never imagined that teenage pregnancies and aliens could overlap, or what would happen if they did. This definitely made the book highly original, and a little bit bizarre, but this was definitely in the best kind of way. I probably would have liked to have known a tad more about the why of the book: why were there aliens coming to impregnate humans?! But this wasn’t really the point of the book, so this didn’t bother me particularly on reflection.
Overall, I was very impressed with this book! It was very skilfully written, from the outstanding characters to the message that became clearer throughout the book, and was shown to apply to humans and extra-terrestrials alike. The concept of this one is original, if a little strange, and it’s pretty unlikely that you’ve read anything like this before – so I would definitely recommend giving this book a go!