Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult

Mini-Reviews: Shadow Children books 1-3

When I read Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children books, I did a sort of Shadow Children marathon, reading them one after the other.  Which was actually a good thing, because each book picks up exactly where the previous book left off.

Because of that, and the fact that the books are short and so interconnected, I decided that instead of doing full-length reviews, I’m going to do a series of mini-reviews.  Part one, here, has mini-reviews of book one, Among the Hidden, book two, Among the Impostors, and book three, Among the Betrayed.

Among the Hidden cover
Image from Ya Why Not

Title:  Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)

Author:  Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre:  Dystopian

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police.  He’s lived his entire life in hiding.  Then Luke sees a girl’s face in the window of the house next door…a house where he knows two other children already live.  Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows.  Does Luke dare to join her?  Can he afford not to?

I enjoyed this book and it’s scary yet somehow logical premise – that the government forces people to have no more than two children because of an alleged “food shortage.”  I enjoyed following Luke as he was forced inside and bored out of his mind, and as he met Jen and was scared by her bold plan.

Practically the only thing I didn’t like about it was how short it was.  There wasn’t enough room in that tiny little book to do much with backstory or character development.  I really wanted to know more about the whole “population crisis,” and I would have liked to get to know Luke and Jen better.

Among the Impostors cover
Image from Mrs. N the Book Bug

Title:  Among the Impostors (Shadow Children #2)

Author:  Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre:  Dystopian

WARNING:  The following review will probably contain spoilers of the previous book, Among the Hidden.  Unless you’ve read the previous book, I recommend not reading this review.

Luke is living around other people now – assuming a dead boy’s identity and attending Hendricks School for Boys, a windowless place with cruel classmates and oblivious teachers.  Luke attempts to blend in, but lives in constant fear that his actions will betray him.  Then Luke discovers a door to the outside…and a door to secrets that could destroy everything…

This book picked up exactly where Among the Hidden left off, with Luke going to boarding school.  I enjoyed following Luke through the not exactly stimulating school environment, seeing how he handled the confusion, the oblivious teachers, and his one mean roommate.  And every time he escaped from the school, I was hoping he wouldn’t get caught.

This book definitely was better on the character development end, and I liked seeing Luke grown and change.  At the beginning of the book, I couldn’t have seen Luke taking on the responsibility that he did at the end, but by the end, I kind of expected it.  I think Luke grew twice as much in this book as he did in the previous book.

image from bookshop.kennys.ie

Title:  Among the Betrayed (Shadow Children #3)

Author:  Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre:  Dystopian

WARNING:  The following review will probably contain spoilers of the previous books, Among the Hidden and Among the Impostors.  Unless you’ve read the previous books, I recommend not reading this review.

Nina Idi, a third child, has been betrayed by the boy she loved and arrested by the Population Police.  Angry and confused, Nina knows only one thing for sure:  she is innocent.  But now she is faced with a choice – get three other prisoners to admit they’re shadow children and be spared, or refuse to cooperate and be killed.  The options are clear.  The choice is not…

This book took a break from Luke to follow Nina, who showed up in Among the Impostors.  Again, I didn’t feel like there was a whole lot of character development – maybe there should be another book about Nina, just to she can be developed a bit more.

I really enjoyed this book, even though I was looking forward to following Luke.  I can’t say too much about the plot without giving a lot away, but suffice to say I enjoyed it a lot.  I especially liked how this book seemed to follow a different character, but came back to Luke and elements from Among the Impostors towards the end.

Join me on Thursday for mini-reviews of the next two Shadow Children books, Among the Barons and Among the Brave!

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