Cynthia Ayala ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
What would life be like without dreams? Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas ask themselves this question as they live under the regime of the Temple of Light, a religious occupation that will burn the light out of them with ruthless teachings. When a teaching corrupts one of the kids, the others are forced to save him. One night, a whisper of hope in the darkness leads three children—Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas—on an adventure for the truth, and an unimaginable freedom.
Published on June 22, 2015 by Evolved Publishing, The Children of Darkness by David Litwack is the first novel in the young adult dystopian Seekers series, about a trio of friends who face unbelievable odds while trying to maintain their friendship.
The novel has a very good start, but there’s something lacking between the three characters. They’re supposed to be best friends, yet there’s an overwhelming amount of tension among them, so much so, that it often gets annoying. Orah’s narrative is particularly obnoxious. Her friend, Thomas, experiences suffering and abuse, and she’s never able to understand him or feel any sort of remorse. On numerous occasions, she acts annoyed by his presence. It doesn’t seem like a real friendship, which makes all the times she’s actually kind to him somewhat unbelievable. It’s discouraging to read, and difficult to suspend disbelief when they’re almost the opposite of best friends.
As far as character dynamics, it’s very evident that Thomas is the third wheel, which makes the three character’s friendship awkward, and even harder to believe. Since the whole narrative of the story is embedded within the characters’ relationship, it often becomes difficult to read.
The story, as a whole, is slow to begin with. It spends too much time setting up the foundation of the world. The world is set in a very dark future where religious teachings govern in fear of the past. It makes for an interesting story, however it’s a little jarring at first, because the story begins as if the reader’s already familiar with the world’s tyrannical religious doctrine. The slow groundwork, while making it difficult to draw in the reader, sets up the world on a light level — it’s not enough to thoroughly submerge the reader in the world, but just enough for reader to become familiar with the fundamentals of the world, as well as its characters.
The story becomes most interesting when the trio begins their journey together, and learns about their world. It’s a very interesting premise to work with, as it questions their beliefs, and forces them into the unfamiliar. These three characters go through some very strong changes when they begin to grasp the reality of their situation. It shatters their walls, their beliefs, and becomes a life changing element.
While the story never gets very action packed and follows a slow and steady path, it’s well written enough to draw the reader in. This novel questions morality, and what the world would be like if a religious group ruled. The novel also deals with the fragility of one’s past, as well as when one’s desires clash with reality — both extremely relevant issues, today. It’s the books themes, and motifs, and applicability to today’s society that makes it an enthralling read.