Release Date: 4.5.2017
From Amazon: Inspired by The Midwich Cuckoos, The Fallen Children is a gripping ‘science fiction-meets-real world’ story of the teenagers who, during one inexplicable ‘Nightout’, have their futures snatched away by circumstances beyond their control. It is a story of violation, of judgement, and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.
I am in love with this book. Not only do I want someone to wipe my memory of it so I have the joy of reading again, it’s currently in a pile of books waiting to be collected by a friend. I need everyone to read it. If this isn’t turned into a film by the end of 2018, it will be a travesty.
Owen presents a diverse group of teens who are so interconnected that it’s difficult to talk about one without mentioning the others.
Initially I am drawn to Morris. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s the first voice I hear or whether he is the one who has no reason to stay, but volunteers to be involved from the very start. He’s a likable character making the best of the environment he has grown up in. I admire most of the decisions he makes and even when he falters; he has the right intentions.
While it is an ensemble narrative, I can’t help but feel that Keisha is the protagonist. The other characters have her as the connecting feature, she drives at least the second part of the narrative and she’s surprisingly the one I identify and empathise with.
At first, I felt Olivia was a little underdeveloped, but then I realised that was more because she was not as connected as the other girls; reinforced by use never having narrative from her perspective. It’s quite a beautiful device, subtle and effective.
Effort has gone into making the women of this novel real. From emotions, cramps and fears; it’s all there. I know I shouldn’t be giving more credit to the author, it’s their job to make it believable. However, when Your author is a man, I think some time needs to be spent on that. Owen has crafted 3 distinct female voices and they are so authentic, if you told me they were written by a woman, I wouldn’t question it.
There’s two sections to this book and a time jump that splits the two. The true horror of the book comes in the second half.
The sci-fi aspect is so grounded in realism that, like the girls, you begin to question your perception of the story. It takes a perfect pace and is able to switch characters to propel the narrative along. The abilities gained by the girls also means that things can be conveyed in other ways.
The second half, however, sees the consequences of ‘Nightout’ comes to fruition. No one is left unaffected; even the reader. You are left questioning whether society would respond in this way. The horror comes from knowing they would.
I want more, but I don’t need it. The plot is resolved so as a reader you are satisfied, but there are questions that an imaginative mind will ask. The book holds a wealth of ideas for those inclined to write fan fiction and leaves enough questions on the tip of the brain to be invited to do so.
The writing is clean, clear and and just a hint of colloquial language. Some might say there could have been more of a distinction between voices, but I would rather have the character’s personalities and identities developed rather than a literary voice. For example, Maida is shown to be conscientious of her Islamic faith, right down to the Arabic used during prayer. It’s an intimate detail that Owen has taken care to include.
There are lessons to be learnt within The Fallen Children, but the writing places the book firmly into a place where you don’t think anything is rammed down your throat. Except for fear. There’s a whole chuck of atmosphere in this novel. Any more and I’d be placing the book in the freezer.
I can’t wait for what David Owen has in store for us next.