Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks. Review by S.K. Slevinski

Book Cover

In Print
I have been meaning to read Terry Brooks for a number of years, but as with many prolific authors writing long-standing series, it seems somehow daunting to go back to the beginning when so many books lay in between. So when Brooks' newest prequel series (though, also sequel to his The Word and the Void trilogy) recently showed up on bookshelves, being billed as a great starting place for new readers, I decided to give it a try.

Armageddon's Children opens in post-apocalyptic America, where demons, "once men" and disaster reign. This is a world that will be familiar to science fiction fans, as it is fraught with the destruction brought by mankind's mistakes, but it is also a world with an undercurrent of living magic. In Seattle, a tribe of children called the Ghosts struggle to survive in this troubled landscape, while Logan Tom, one of only two remaining Knights of the Word, sets off on a quest to find the Gypsy Morph, a mysterious, magical child born to Nest Freemark.

Book Cover

On Audio
Perhaps I should have known better. After all, the title of this book says it all... but forgive me for presuming that the title may very well have been metaphorical. But as I was listening to this audiobook, the predominant thought running through my mind was—"If I have to read another science fiction or fantasy novel with children for main characters... I'm going to scream!" This novel is practically dripping with cliché, and the kids who band together to survive in a degraded civilization—a plot at least as old as Lord of the Flies, folks—is just the beginning. The post-apocalyptic landscape is such a science fiction standard that I was reading a book, Oryx and Crake, with the same tropes and tone just two weeks before this one. In fact, the whole time I was reading this novel, I kept feeling as if I were reading alternatively either Oryx and Crake or Ender's Shadow. A book that makes a reader feel like she's reading something else? Now that's cliché...

Suffice to say, I would not personally recommend this book. But hey, if bands of children characters and post-apocalyptic devastation are your things, then this may very well be just the book for you.


S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.