By Cynthia Ayala
What is living without dreams? Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas ask themselves these questions as they live under the regime of the Temple of Light, as they live within a religious occupation, a strict one that will burn the light out of the young with ruthless teachings.
But one teaching has broken one of them, leading another to save the other. One night, one whisper of hope in the darkness leads Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas on an adventure for the truth and a freedom they could ever dream about.
Published on June 22, 2015 by Evolved Publishing LLC, The Children of Darkness by David Litwack is a young adult dystopian novel about a trio of friends who face unbelievable odds while retaining their friendship.
This novel had a very good start but there something lacking within the characterization between the three characters that were supposed to be the best of friend but the tension between the three of them, it was annoying. The narrative of Orah was particularly obnoxious. Her friend Thomas suffered tortures she would never understand and on numerous occasions of the story she acts annoyed by the very presence of her friend. It’ doesn’t seem like a real friendship, as if they were friends at all making all the times she is kind to him, somewhat unbelievable. It was discouraging to read and to believe that they were the best of friends, which is what the reader was supposed to believe.
So as far as character dynamics, it was very evident that Thomas was the third wheel making it an awkward and hard to believe friendship between the three characters. So it made it hard to read and really focus on the relationship between the characters. Narrative, development, all of those connected with one another and tie together with the character dynamics so it makes it the reading difficult.
The story as a hole was slow to begin with and it’s all about setting up the foundation of the world, how the world works. It’s a little jarring admittedly because the story begins as if the reader is already familiar with the religious doctrine that governs the people. It’s obvious that the world is set in a very dark future where teachings govern with fear of the past. That makes for an interesting story and the slow groundwork, while making it difficult to draw in the reader, it sets up the world on a light level, not enough to really submerge the reader in the world, but enough to allow the reader to get to know the fundamentals of the world, leaving room for the reader to join the journey with the trio and get to know the world through their eyes and their fundamentals.
That is when the story becomes interesting, when the trio are on the journey together and are learning about their world. It questions their beliefs and their system and everything around them and that is a very interesting premise to work with. These three characters go through some very strong changes in their world when they take on the reality of the situation, it shatters their walls, their beliefs and is a life changing element in their world.
While the story never gets very action packed and follows a slow and steady path of the story, it is well written enough to draw the reader in the more the story progresses. This novel questions what is right versus what is wrong and how should a system of religion govern people? Is it right to hide the past? Is it right to deny people what is in their hearts? These are very important questions that are also very relevant in today’s society and that relevance makes this a good book.(★★★☆☆ | B)