One of Us - Craig DiLouie

July 16, 2018

4/5 Stars

 

Dark, fun thriller-chiller with a conscience.

 

ONE OF US is a dark fantasy novel written for anybody who’s ever felt different. Set in 1984, society has been ravaged by a disease which resulted in the “Plague generation” – mutant children born with terrible deformities that are incarcerated in inhumane institutions and often forced into slavery.

 

These children must somehow fit in–or fight for what’s theirs. Where is their place in the world and who are the real monsters? The result, a tale of monstrous humans and human monsters-reminiscent of The Island of Dr Moreau crossed with To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow.

 

Mutant children with super powers set In the 80’s. What’s not to like? Not a great deal from me. I lapped this up from start to finish. A nice read, dark and disturbing, often gruesome, a little thought provoking but not too much. Sometimes you just want something that isn’t too deep and preach at you.It  is what it is.

 

You could say that it is just mutant children with super powers but that would do the book a disservice The story does highlight social issues and deals with injustice, discrimination and prejudice in all its forms. There are tons of characters and its great fun to pick your favourite either mutant or human. There are some great creations like Dog, a boy covered with hair, razor sharp claws and desperate to be human and fit in. We have Brain, nearly indescribable, physically frail but blessed with a huge intellect and it is Brain that is the catalyst for the uprising and rebellion to come.

 

The human characters are good too although a little one dimensional and clichéd but they act as a perfect foil for the craziness around them. The pacing of the book is constantly ramped up; the author keeps your attention with the children’s development of their ‘special abilities’ along with the threat from the humans and their fear of what they don’t understand. The tension is heightened when the US government becomes involved, and decides that the Plague generation can be used to its own ends.

 

Throughout the book there is a feeling of unease and dread that saturates the book making the reader uncomfortable waiting for the inevitable, explosive climax. The book is cruel and violent and heart-breaking too. It highlights discrimination, intolerance and the need to take control of ones own destiny. This is a tense thriller with a social conscience about injustice and prejudice. A book about not belonging and finding kindred souls in the unlikeliest of places. It’s also about mutant kids in the 8o’s with super powers.

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