A book review of the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
The Story: In a future where a ruthless government rules and it is illegal to have more than two children, one third child, a boy, lives a secret life on his family’s farm. When the government decides to build a new neighborhood next to the farm, he is forced to stay hidden in house. Then, one day, the sight of another third child draws him out of the house and into a rebellion that seeks to overthrow the government and legalize third children.
The second book, Among the Impostors, is just as good as the first. When the third book, Among the Betrayed, switched to focusing entirely on a different protagonist, I worried that the series would lose its way, but as it turned out, the only letdown about the book is that the plot is weaker than the first two, a flaw which never surfaces again in the next four books.
Books four through six, Among the Barons, Among the Brave, and Among the Enemy, sometimes switch protagonists for a whole book again, and while this occasionally gets annoying due to wanting to know what other main characters are doing, the books in and of themselves are all as good as the first two in the series.
Dystopian novels can be perfect for exploring hard questions, and the Shadow Children series refreshingly examines them in a way that is respectful of faith and affirming of strong moral values, while not giving easy answers. In some cases, it doesn’t give an answer at all, simply asking readers to ponder it for themselves. Those who want thought-provoking dystopian novels that aren’t as dreary as many of their brethren will find much to like here.
Content Overview: The intensity of the dystopian setting might be too much for some younger readers, but it’s much milder than the Hunger Games trilogy, with not much violence and only one instance of profanity.