Shade's Children by Garth Nix Book Review

Friday, August 3, 2012 12:15 AM
Title: Shade's Children
Author: Garth Nix
Published: September 1997
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I like trees… grass… only birds in sky. People walking safe. Family
No Creatures. Sleep all night safe. Walk under sun in own place.
Grow plants. Build.
Be father with mother. Have Children. A place like Petar told me. Home.
After Change goes back…
I want home.” 
― Garth NixShade's Children

Imagine a world where your fourteenth birthday is your last. 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...(Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I just realized that Shade's Children was originally released in 1997. I had no idea. My edition was published in 2012 so I was stupid in thinking that this was a newer release. How have I not come across this before? Anyways, I love Garth Nix and I loved this book. I am not a big science fiction fan. In fact, I hardly read science fiction at all, but this book was a little lighter on the science fiction side. 

So, why did I love Shade's Children? It was a haunting read that sent shivers up my spine and that will stay in my memory long after it's done. It reminded me of the Matrix except there was no alternate reality. It was a dark read, but there were moments of hope, lightness, and compassion that placed all of humanity into perspective, leaving the awful Overlords as a contrast. I sympathized with the characters, with Ella's four person team. Drum was my favorite character. There was something so fragile about that big, hulking man. And Ella. She was a force to be reckoned with. She had hopes and dreams, but she had to put them aside in order to survive. Ninde was obnoxious, but her energy and excitement were contagious. She really grows on you. And then there's Gold-Eye, sort of stumbling along. It was touching to see him with others after he had been running alone for so long. He finally had a place to belong.  As for Shade, I really liked him. He was complex and unpredictable, and quite the enigma. 

I loved how Nix had reports, lessons, and such after every chapter. Some of them were chilling and others amusing. I thought it was a creative way of communicating certain developments and giving somewhat of a background. 

The Overlords' creatures were frightening, especially the Ferrets and Screamers. I just wish that Nix would have given us more background about the Overlords and the Change. Even after finishing Shade's Children, I'm not entirely sure about what the Change was and how certain humans came to have Change abilities. Also, I wanted to know more about Shade and the Overlords. Their need for pointless battles between their armies was never explained fully.

Other than those small complaints, Shade's Children was awesome! How could I expect any less from the author who wrote the Abhorsen trilogy?

Happy reading,



  1. I'd have to say that Shade's Children was different and original, but the Abhorsen trilogy was way better (a personal favorite series!). Glad you liked it though!

    1. I'd agree, Scarlett! I think for me it's because I like fantasy more than science fiction.

  2. I LOVED Shade's children and no one else I know has read it. I think it came a little too early because if it had come out now it would blow the majority of the sappy love triangle dystopias out of the water. I'm really enjoying your blog!

    1. I have to agree Becky! It was a great read. Garth Nix is a awesome writer. Thanks!


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