This is part three in my series of mini-reviews of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children books (you can see part one here and part two here). Today, I’m reviewing Among the Enemy and Among the Free, the last two books in the series.
Title: Among the Enemy (Shadow Children #6)
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
WARNING: The following review will probably contain spoilers of the previous books in the series, Among the Hidden, Among the Impostors, Among the Betrayed, Among the Barons, and Among the Brave. I’d recommend not reading this review if you haven’t read the previous books.
When Matthias, an illegal third child, accidentally saves a Population Police officer, he is taken to their headquarters to train as an officer himself. There, he finds his friend Nina, another third child who enlists his help in a plot to undermine the Population Police. But what can one boy under constant scrutiny do against a wicked bureaucracy?
I was really hoping that this book would follow either Luke or Trey (both characters who I’ve grown to love). But it turned out to follow Matthias, who hasn’t shown up since Among the Betrayed. And I wasn’t really a huge fan of him then. Even though I didn’t really mind him, I didn’t like him nearly as much as I liked Luke and Trey.
After the absolutely amazing way the plot picked up the pace in Among the Brave, I was expecting this to be a little faster paced – or at least for more to happen. I get that I was supposed to be focused on Matthias and his grief for his dead friends, but I didn’t like Matthias well enough to care too much. If it were Luke or Trey, I wouldn’t have minded, but I didn’t know Matthias well enough.
Title: Among the Free (Shadow Children #7)
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
WARNING: The following review will probably contain spoilers of the previous books in the series, Among the Hidden, Among the Impostors, Among the Betrayed, Among the Barons, Among the Brave, and Among the Enemy. I’d recommend not reading this review if you haven’t read the previous books.
Luke Garner, an illegal third child, is hiding right under the Population Police’s nose – as a stable boy at their headquarters. But when he’s chosen to go on a Population Police mission, he inadvertently sets off a rebellion that results in the overthrow of the government. The Population Police are gone, and everyone is free. But who is in charge now…and is freedom everything they had hoped?
I was thrilled to come back to Luke in this book, especially with two books in a row featuring other characters. And this book just reinforced how much I liked Luke as a character. Sure, he was scared sometimes – okay, a lot of the time. But he stood up for what he knew was right, and spoke out when he needed to. And I’m almost sad the series is over – I want more books featuring Luke!
The synopsis hinted that the government would be overthrown early on, but I didn’t realize quite how early that would be. The government was gone in the first quarter of the book. The rest of it was trying to get the country organized, sorting out leaders and making sure everything was fair.
I really wasn’t expecting so much to happen after the government was overthrown. And there was a person who took over the new free government, but actually supported the Population Police (no spoilers, but he’s shown up in previous books). I enjoyed every minute of this plot, and I’m actually somewhat sad the series is over.
Series Recap: Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children Sequence
Things I liked about the series: The whole premise of a food “shortage” and a law against more than two children.
Things the series did well: Kept things consistent and had a couple huge, complicated conspiracies.
Things I didn’t like about the series: It kept following other characters that I didn’t know very well.
Things the series could have worked on: It seems like the main plot didn’t really start until book four – I wish the series had started that whole plot earlier.
Final thoughts: Some books were better than others (Among the Brave and Among the Free are my favorites, while Among the Hidden and Among the Barons are my least favorite), but overall, it was an enjoyable series.