Shade’s Children by Garth Nix: B+

From the back cover:
In a brutal city of the future, human life is in the hands of the evil Overlords who have decreed that no child live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest—his brains and muscles are used to construct machine-like creatures whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade—once a man, but now more like the machines he fights—recruits the few children lucky enough to escape. He gives them food, shelter, and the training they need to fight the Overlords. But Shade’s sent many children out on missions—and fewer of them are coming back.

By luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade’s children—Ella, Drum, Ninde, and Gold-Eye—have come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords’ power—and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become…

My friend at work loaned this to me many months ago, and I’ve finally managed to read it. Happily, it was good, so polite dissembling on that point won’t be required.

I definitely enjoyed the book. The Overlords were really creepy and neat, and there were some good surprises along the way. I particularly liked Ella; she kind of reminded me of Buffy at times. She even pondered using a rocket launcher against her foes!

But… I wanted more. I wanted to see more of society both before and after this Change occurred. I wanted to see more of the rest of Shade’s Children (both past and present), to see more missions, to delve more deeply into the characters. Gold-Eye is kind of the protagonist, for it was through his newbie eyes that Shade’s organization was revealed to the reader, but he had the least personality of the four kids. He liked girls. That was about it.

Ultimately, although Shade’s Children afforded more of a glimpse of a world rather than its exploration, it was still completely worth reading and made me want to seek out more by Nix. Thanks, work buddy!

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