Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz

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… is that really the ending? Is there a sequel? What the hell is going on? (I have since learned that this is a prequel to the Savage Species Series, so good. Time to read more!)

Friends, Jonathan Janz has done it again! Er, or whatever you would call it since this was published back in 2016. After reading and loving The Siren and the Specter, I had to read more from this author and picked this up on a whim (sorry, TBR). I have been in a bit of a horror kick lately and am so glad that I have found Janz’s work!

The week I saw seventeen people die didn’t begin with blood, monsters, or a sadistic serial killer. It all began with a baseball game. Looking back, I wonder if things would have been different had we lost that night.

Children of the Dark is a frightening tale of supernatural and murderous horrors. Our main character and narrator is 16 year old Will, and the book opens with the lines above to set the literary stage perfectly. The reader knows straight from the beginning this is going to be an intense story that not many people will survive. Awesome hook and I was sucked in immediately.

I honestly don’t know what possessed me to read this at night given how creepy Siren and the Specter was. This book also delivers pile of nope and led me to sleep with the lights on. I’M AN ADULT. Anyways. The characters are teenagers but the scenarios that they are in would terrify any adult. The plot very much reads like an adult novel, which is interesting juxtaposed with the high school drama and tension between cliques. I appreciated the way the various characters reacted to the horrors that they faced. I simply adored Peach and the devotion that she and Will have towards one another — also, no six year old should be as badass as her. I think she is my favorite.

“God, with the Children and the Moonlight Killer both on the loose, who knows how many people could die?”

There are two horrors terrorizing Shadeland: a renowned serial killer has escaped prison and there are some creepy monsters in the woods with glowing green eyes. There was this one scene about 48% in where I was so creeped out that I had to put the book down for fear that I would never be able to sleep again; Janz has a way of describing things with such haunting detail and builds tension that the entire reading experience you are chewing on your nails. Luckily he is also a master of wit, using his narrator’s humor for comedic relief. I enjoy the combination of “real life” horror with supernatural horror that Janz weaves in his stories. Unfortunately, I am really sick of the bumbling local policemen trope and wish it hadn’t been used here. I saw no real reason for the animosity the local police had for Will and their apathy really annoyed me.

I will admit that I guessed the big twists early on, but while sometimes that angers me it didn’t bother me too much here. I can definitely see how Janz has grown as a writer in the past two years; while this is well thought out and terrifying, I found Siren and the Specter to be better executed even though this book is fantastic.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to fans of the horror genre! It is a creepy monster book full with local legend and a serial killer on the loose. Honestly though, how do I get my hands on the series because it seems to be not in print?! Because I have some freaking questions here. And once you get sucked into the world… here are the details for more from the author himself!

cw: abandonment, spousal abuse, murder, death, gore.



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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

15 thoughts on “Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz

  1. This is the time of the year for horror stories! I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but love reading people’s reviews on the twisted and horrifying books they find. This one sounds really creepy! I’m all for the spooky and supernatural reads, which I save for fall, and they don’t give me nightmares or make check the locks on my windows.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  2. You know the book is good when it means that you need to sleep with the light on! I have to admit that horror is a genre I only discovered this year and I am actually really enjoying it 😀 Looking forward to checking out this author more and great review. I hopped over from Discord and am following you on Twitter, Bloglovin and Goodreads now x

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    1. Welcome, Olivia-Savannah! I don’t scare easily but this author is good at building suspense and coming up with nightmare fuel of creatures! Up until this year I didn’t really read horror but I have always loved watching horror films… surprised it took me so long!

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  3. Wow! So this was …. an amazing review … and now I need to go and get my hands on this book/series!!!
    So is this the first book? I know you mentioned it was a prequel but would it be better to read the other books first before this one? If so, which should I start with!
    Please help me by adding more books to my never-ending TBR list haha

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      I would definitely recommend starting with this one. I chatted with the author on Twitter and the Savage Species series is loosely related, and is being re-released in January 2019 by Flametree Press. AND there will be a sequel to this book hopefully by the end of 2019 as well! I hope you enjoy it, please let me know what you think!

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