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Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodre ads A rash of strange and horrifying births sweeps through London in the new...

Review || The Children God Forgot by Graham Masterton




Publication date: February 11th 2021

A rash of strange and horrifying births sweeps through London in the new horror thriller from master of the genre Graham Masterton.

A SERIES OF STRANGE BIRTHS
A young woman is rushed to the hospital with stabbing pains. The chief surgeon performs a C-section, and delivers a catastrophically malformed foetus that is somehow alive...

A DEVASTATING ATTACK
Sewage engineer Gemma is plunged into a ghostly darkness in the tunnel where she works. She escapes, but her boss goes missing in the chaos. He is later found alive... but his legs have been severed and his eyes pulled out.

A SUPERNATURAL THREAT
DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of the supernatural squad must team up once more to solve the mystery and save the city. But, if they are to succeed, first they must delve into the dark arts of witchcraft...

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It's been a long time since a book has gotten under my skin but reading The Children God Forgot, I truly had a moment where I thought "This book is going to give me nightmares." This was a very strange book: deformed fetuses roaming for new wombs to call home, a fatberg blocking the sewer with glowing malformed children taking replacement body parts, and last, but certainly not least, a reanimated witch formed of smoke and vengeance. All of those things individually would be enough of a plotline to carry any horror novel, but together are the things that nightmares are made of. 

Told in varying points of view, the plot on this one jumps around. You get just enough action to draw you in and wonder exactly what the hell is going on when it switches to another POV to pick up where it left off before. Typically, I hate this style of writing, but I will say in spite of that it kept my interest, especially when you have the scenes set as they are. There are occult vibes, police procedural, heavy body horror, and of course, the paranormal. 

I do have to wonder though, as a woman, if this book weighs as heavily on male readers. I would imagine it doesn't. There's a particular horror in simply being a woman and having fears that are unique to the female persuasion alone. The fear of reproduction, of growing a life that is abominable instead of the perfect being it should be, and the fear of being violated. I struggle with that last word because what truly happens here, under other descriptions is rape. Not in the usual sense, but by one of the aborted creatures crawling or attempting to crawl inside another woman's uterus to continue to incubate. See what I mean by horrifying?  

There are also some sociopolitical themes here that are played a bit heavy-handed. The entire novel could be a statement on abortion. Not only do you have the many-limbed but cherub-faced fetus being terminated before term, but there's the woman showing up to punish those who participated in the terminations stating that all life is sacred. I feel like this book should have been written decades ago when racism and homophobia were casual and women were written based on the size of their breasts.

I ended up very conflicted about this novel. In the beginning, it was extremely effective horror. It's definitely a horror that relies on the reader's revulsion over  Somewhere in the middle, the momentum of the plot starting lagging. From that point on, it was a rush to the ending, curt and to the point, without a lot of explanation. This is one of those novels that is either going to leave you checking the sheets before getting in the bed or leave you apathetic but one thing is for certain, some of these scenes will continue to play in your head long after you've closed the book.