I don’t usually do blog posts for books that I didn’t finish, partly because I don’t like to not finish books. But I couldn’t finish Children of the Night by Dan Simmons.
The premise and plot of the 1993 book are excellent, intriguing, and very much believable. That, from the first page, made me want to read the book and find out just what the vampires in post-Ceausescu Romania had done that was going to change the medical world as we knew it through a single mere month old child. That’s what was going to happen – it pretty much said so on the back of the book. But how? That’s what I wanted to find out, even after only reading the back of the book.
The prologue begins with a motley group of people from the West; a billionaire, a priest, some State Department people, a professor or two, a doctor, etc., visiting post-revolution Romania to see what could be done to help the country move into the new era that awaited it. The prologue ended with the revelation that one of the group members is, indeed, a vampire.
And then, for a hundred and fifty pages, none but the priest from the original group are heard from again. That was a bit annoying.
The story really starts with Dr. Kate Neumann, a something or another with the CDC. Kate’s problem, as the heroine of sorts, is that she works for the CDC and most of the people reading the book do not. In other words, I found myself skimming and just plain skipping pages because of the mind-boggling medical-speak. Kate has a lot of meetings with colleagues and specialists and Simmons, while trying to set up his story faultlessly, has apparently done a lot of research to get it just right and ensure that no one can call him out on inaccuracies in his descriptions. While that’s all well and good, it got a little boring.
Once I realized I was skipping more than I was reading, I made the decision that the book probably wasn’t worth it. For me, at least.
If vampires, the early 1990s history, and medical-speak that would make the writers of ER blush with jealousy are you thing, this could very well be the book for you.