Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz
This is terrifying and I loved every minute of it.
About the Book
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press | Release Date: March 15, 2016 | Pages: 293
Genre: Adult, Horror | Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.
And very few of them will escape with their lives.
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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 a 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 interestingly 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 of 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!
SAVAGE SPECIES (which is loosely linked—different good guys, same creatures) will be re-released in January by @flametreepress (see pic below). Sequel to COTD will come in late 2019 (probably). pic.twitter.com/cqP0spuVZb
— Jonathan Janz (@JonathanJanz) October 14, 2018
content warnings: abandonment, spousal abuse, murder, death, gore.
Let’s go on another adventure together!