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An evil legacy comes to life in this classic and ultimately human novel about believable vampires, featuring a brand-new introduction by Dan Simmons. Children of the Night will take you to a place that no one knows—yet all of us fear. In a desolate orphanage in post-Communist Romania, a desperately ill infant is given the wrong blood transfusion—and flourishes rather than d An evil legacy comes to life in this classic and ultimately human novel about believable vampires, featuring a brand-new introduction by Dan Simmons. Children of the Night will take you to a place that no one knows—yet all of us fear. In a desolate orphanage in post-Communist Romania, a desperately ill infant is given the wrong blood transfusion—and flourishes rather than dies. For immunologist Kate Neuman, the infant’s immune system may hold the key to cure cancer and AIDS. Kate adopts the baby and takes him home to the States. But baby Joshua holds a link to an ancient clan and their legendary leader—Vlad Tşepeş, the original Dracula – whose agents kidnap the child. Against impossible odds and vicious enemies– both human and vampire – Kate and her ally, Father Mike O’Rourke, steal into Romania to get her baby back.


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An evil legacy comes to life in this classic and ultimately human novel about believable vampires, featuring a brand-new introduction by Dan Simmons. Children of the Night will take you to a place that no one knows—yet all of us fear. In a desolate orphanage in post-Communist Romania, a desperately ill infant is given the wrong blood transfusion—and flourishes rather than d An evil legacy comes to life in this classic and ultimately human novel about believable vampires, featuring a brand-new introduction by Dan Simmons. Children of the Night will take you to a place that no one knows—yet all of us fear. In a desolate orphanage in post-Communist Romania, a desperately ill infant is given the wrong blood transfusion—and flourishes rather than dies. For immunologist Kate Neuman, the infant’s immune system may hold the key to cure cancer and AIDS. Kate adopts the baby and takes him home to the States. But baby Joshua holds a link to an ancient clan and their legendary leader—Vlad Tşepeş, the original Dracula – whose agents kidnap the child. Against impossible odds and vicious enemies– both human and vampire – Kate and her ally, Father Mike O’Rourke, steal into Romania to get her baby back.

30 review for Children of the Night

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    A heartfelt bravo and a cap tip to Danny Simmons for breathing fresh air into the crowded, stale world of the vampire. Overall I am giving this one a solid 4 stars, but there are aspects here that are easily 5 star (or even 6 star) worthy making this a must read for fans of "classic" vampire fiction. The basic plot involves an American research team that travels to post-Ceaucescu Romania to investigate AIDS cases in orphanages and discovers a child whose unique blood chemistry may hold the cure A heartfelt bravo and a cap tip to Danny Simmons for breathing fresh air into the crowded, stale world of the vampire. Overall I am giving this one a solid 4 stars, but there are aspects here that are easily 5 star (or even 6 star) worthy making this a must read for fans of "classic" vampire fiction. The basic plot involves an American research team that travels to post-Ceaucescu Romania to investigate AIDS cases in orphanages and discovers a child whose unique blood chemistry may hold the cure for both AIDS and cancer. While I'm not someone who consumes a steady diet of vampire fiction, I have read quite a bit of fang banger fare over the years, including a number of the classics. Now, for purposes of discussing "classic" vampire stories, I am discounting for purposes of this review (1) YA books like the Twilight series and (2) the very popular paranormal romance/urban fantasy novels that may have vampires as characters. Instead, I am referring to stories that explore the origin and evolution of vampires or provide a new/fresh insight into the vampire mythos. With the above in mind, coming into this book I had 4 books/series that I referred to as the “benchmark books” for quality vampire fiction for the reasons mentioned below: 1. Dracula by Bram Stoker: The first (and arguably the best) vampire story ever written. 2. Agyar by Steven Brust: Arguably the most unique vampire story I have ever read and the only one in which the word vampire is never used. This book shows the vampire as a tragic, lonely figure in a contemporary setting and is truly an exceptional work. 3. Complete Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice: I read these books when they first came out and while I would not rate them as highly today, they were undoubtedly revolutionary in creating the popular image of vampires as “sex symbols” while maintaing a dark, violent and very unique mythos regarding their origin and behavior. I would say that these books were the blueprint from which the watered down and commercialized Twilightish stories come from. 4. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro: I know a lot of people didn’t like this book but this novel was unique in that it was the very first time I ever came across a vampire story that showed the “transformation” from normal to vampire through the tragic eyes of the newly turned vampire as he/she struggled against the compulsion to kill their loved ones in order to satisfy their bloodlust. I thought these scenes were incredibly compelling and brought a brand new perspective to the vampire mythos. Honorable mention to I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (see my recent review), Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon, DRACULAS and Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (which may actually need to become a benchmark book at some point as it is certainly a one of a kind vampire tale). Children of the Night now joins this pantheon of benchmarks for classic vampire novels for two big reasons. First, is the treatment of the vampire virus as a scientifically explained phenomenon that actually makes sense. The description of everything from how one becomes a vampire to why they must drink blood to why they live so long and have “unique” abilities are all dealt with from a medical/biological viewpoint that I found unique and compelling. Second, and my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART OF THE BOOK, are the interlude sections told from the viewpoint of Vlad Tepes (historical basis for Dracula). I thought this was the most viciously seductive and brutaltastic portrayal of Dracula that I have ever seen (and yes, that includes the original by Bram Stoker). The “voice” of Vlad is just oozing with power and sadism and his casual manner of explaining his life and his actions (often filled with atrocities that stagger the mind) is both disturbing and riveting. In addition, Vlad, while exploring his past spends significant time discounting the “fairly tales” told by Stoker and Michael Beheim (who wrote in the 15th century a poem called “Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia”) which had a big impact on creating the legend of Vlad. These sections are easily the best part of this novel and had there been more of them, this book would have easily garnered 5 stars from me. As it is these sections, and this amazing depiction of Vlad Tepes, are enough to make an otherwise good novel “very” good. So why “only” 4 stars? Well, there are a few gripe worthy offenses in the book, The plot, while fairly interesting, is not as compelling as I would have liked and drags a bit under its own weight. Having counted several of Dan Simmons novels among my all time favorites (most notably, the Hyperion series), I was expecting to be blown away by his take on the vampire. While I certainly felt the hurricane with regards to the two aspects mentioned above, there were large sections of the plot that were just too plodding with nary a gust of wind to move me from momma Earth. Plus, except for Vlad Tepes, the rest of the characters were fairly two dimensional and so I wasn’t as invested in their fate as I would have liked. That lack of deep connection with characters always kills some of the dramatic tension and thus reduces enjoyment. Still, this is a novel that I highly recommend. The book is certainly a good read and the sections dealing with Dracula are stuffed full of amazing. 4.0 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Nominee: Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel Winner: Locus Award for Best Dark Fantasy/Horror novel. P.S. I listened to the audio version of this book read by “George Ralph” and I thought he did a good job overall and thought his reading of the “Vlad” sections were truly inspired.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Brian

    4.5 stars. I keep fluctuating between a score of either 4-or-5, because this is a tough cookie to rank accurately. Children of the Night presents an interesting take on vampires (and to be honest it is one worthy of its own mythos). It also features an excellent introduction by Simmons himself, in which he recounts a visit to post-Ceauşescu Romania in search of the real Dracula (Vlad Tepes). During this same visit he comes to understand the true plight facing the Romanian people - and none are im 4.5 stars. I keep fluctuating between a score of either 4-or-5, because this is a tough cookie to rank accurately. Children of the Night presents an interesting take on vampires (and to be honest it is one worthy of its own mythos). It also features an excellent introduction by Simmons himself, in which he recounts a visit to post-Ceauşescu Romania in search of the real Dracula (Vlad Tepes). During this same visit he comes to understand the true plight facing the Romanian people - and none are imperiled more so than the thousands of sickly and unwanted orphans filling untold numbers of hospital wards and orphanages. It is the brutality of this life which Dan Simmons so expertly places onto the pages as he paints his story of a mother's fight to recover her stolen child. Kate Neuman is a thirty-something immunologist working the grim halls of Bucharest's District One Hospital, and it is fair to say the grind is bringing her down. Kate 'cares' about every patient she encounters, but the corrupt and unsympathetic still hold sway in Romania, and the supplying of adequate medical resources is considered secondary to the needs of the Baroni and their immediate puppets. Kate's work brings her into contact with a sickly infant, and by chance it is discovered that blood transfusions (even when given the wrong blood) reverse the child's crippling illness - at least in the short term. Circumstances lead to Kate adopting the child, and then returning home to the United States with her 'new' son. At the CDC center in Boulder Colorado, it is discovered that baby Joshua has a mutant growth on the wall of his stomach, and it is this strange tumor that enables him to digest and flourish on blood. Further investigation shows that Joshua has a recessive gene illness, and it seems likely this flawed gene may be a familial trait. Joshua is not one of a kind. Shortly after learning the bizarre nature of her son's illness, Kate is attacked and Joshua stolen away from her. And so, aided by some old friends (including Mike O'Rourke from Simmons' earlier Summer of Night) the hunt begins for her child's abductors. It is a journey that will pull Kate halfway across the world, leading her through ancient towns and cities towards a confrontation with a figure marked by history, a man who should not, cannot still be alive. A man who was once feared, but equally revered by his people. Even though they knew him to be strigio. Dan Simmons is very literate, and so this is always a smooth read. The opening 2/3rds of the book is excellent, although anyone with an adversity to being bombarded with scientific facts may disagree. But the science didn't bother me. Neither did the overly descriptive prose identifying various routes through, and settlements of the beaten down Romania. I can forgive such minor blips, because the book is interspersed with chapters titled Dreams of Blood And Iron, and these first person narratives are beautifully written accounts of historical violence. Well done, Mr. Simmons. Unfortunately, one area in which the book does fall down is that D.S. paints the protagonists into such a tight spot that things have to get a little ridiculous. Yes, I know, militarized gangs of fangsters ruling over Eastern Europe is ridiculous - but there is ridiculous, and then there's ridiculous, ok? Seriously, dis' bitch Neuman, she's more kick-ass than Bourne, Bond, and Bauer combined, stoked on amphetamines and tooled to the nines. Even allowing for the slightly hooky ending, Children of the Night is a very good read about vampires. While presenting us with a genuinely fascinating scientific explanation for such creatures, it leaves more than enough meat on the bones to satisfy fang fans. With tension filled scenes, and characters who are both flawed and believable, I'd say it is definitely worth picking up a copy of this novel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Char

    I have had an issue over the years remembering which Dan Simmons book I liked and which one I didn't. Summer of Night or Children of the Night? I had a chance to download a free audiobook, and I chose Children. I wish I hadn't. I first read both of these books as a teen, after ripping through the Hyperion series. A number of years has passed since then and because the titles are so similar I couldn't remember which book was which. Well, after about an hour of listening, I realized that this was I have had an issue over the years remembering which Dan Simmons book I liked and which one I didn't. Summer of Night or Children of the Night? I had a chance to download a free audiobook, and I chose Children. I wish I hadn't. I first read both of these books as a teen, after ripping through the Hyperion series. A number of years has passed since then and because the titles are so similar I couldn't remember which book was which. Well, after about an hour of listening, I realized that this was the book that I did not like. All these years later and I still don't like it. I tried...I really did, but I just cannot take all this medical jargon; it's boring. The narrator is fine and I thought he did very well- especially when reading the portions that were from Dracula's point of view. The fault with this audio-book is due to the story, not the narrator. I am changing my rating of this book down to three stars. It's Dan Simmons, so it's obviously well written. I just think it could have been trimmed a LOT more and then the pacing would have picked up. As it stands, I cannot even listen to anymore of this tale, I'm throwing in the towel.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    I quit. Almost 200 pages in and I just can’t with this one anymore. Too boring. Too much science and medical jargon. I’m sure lab rats and science junkies would get off on all the research Dan Simmons did for this one but I’m in the back of the room like, NO MORE! I quit. Bye.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    No. Just no. The story didn’t do it for me, the characters didn’t. I give Dan Simmons 1 Star for his take on vampires. Good for you for something new. (To me) but it wasn’t enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    This is a good, traditional vampire novel (Vlad's about as traditional as you can get, right?), told with a quite a bit of political intrigue and suspense/medical/thriller elements thrown in. It hasn't aged as well as many of his other "contemporary" novels, but it's still a fine and fangy fun-for-all. It has a slight connection to three of his other books, loosely called the Seasons of Horror series, but can be appreciated entirely on its own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Be forewarned that Children of the Night starts out with a brutally realistic description of post Communist Romania and the inhumane treatment of thousands of babies that is quite disturbing. Once beyond that, beware of the sections interspersed throughout the book written with the voice of "Vlad the Impaler" (the original Dracula) as they are gruesome, gory and scary as hell. A few parts of the book, including the ending, was a bit James Bondish, but overall, a fast-moving and entertaining read Be forewarned that Children of the Night starts out with a brutally realistic description of post Communist Romania and the inhumane treatment of thousands of babies that is quite disturbing. Once beyond that, beware of the sections interspersed throughout the book written with the voice of "Vlad the Impaler" (the original Dracula) as they are gruesome, gory and scary as hell. A few parts of the book, including the ending, was a bit James Bondish, but overall, a fast-moving and entertaining read with an important scientific twist. As a new fan of Dan Simmons, The Terror is next!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jon Recluse

    Leave it to Dan Simmons to take the legend of the vampire back to it's roots, and restore the man/monster who was once known as Vlad the Impaler and will forever be the monster known as Dracula to his dark throne.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Noel

    When I read the introduction to this book, I was really excited. And when I read the first handful of chapters, I was horrified and intrigued. But from there, it went downhill pretty quickly. The characterization in this book is awful. Just bad. I didn't care at all about any of the characters. Kate was written so badly I was cringing almost the whole time. Mike wasn't much better. It was also too long. So much of the middle was dull. And it's a shame, because the premise of this book is great. A When I read the introduction to this book, I was really excited. And when I read the first handful of chapters, I was horrified and intrigued. But from there, it went downhill pretty quickly. The characterization in this book is awful. Just bad. I didn't care at all about any of the characters. Kate was written so badly I was cringing almost the whole time. Mike wasn't much better. It was also too long. So much of the middle was dull. And it's a shame, because the premise of this book is great. And the setting was incredibly interesting. But I just couldn't get myself to enjoy reading it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Well I started out reading this with a group, and the medical jargon was just too heavy to follow. I was going to leave it at that, but the "completist" in me decided to stay up until 3 am to finish it. The story itself--that is, the part I wished the entire book were about--was an interesting take on the Dracula legend. Unfortunately, it was so "heavy" in terms of the scientific descriptions, labs, etc., that this completely took me out of the story. It was like a sudden jolt to find the actual Well I started out reading this with a group, and the medical jargon was just too heavy to follow. I was going to leave it at that, but the "completist" in me decided to stay up until 3 am to finish it. The story itself--that is, the part I wished the entire book were about--was an interesting take on the Dracula legend. Unfortunately, it was so "heavy" in terms of the scientific descriptions, labs, etc., that this completely took me out of the story. It was like a sudden jolt to find the actual "story that I cared about" interspersed within it. I'm giving it two stars for the "main story", but it could have been so much higher without all of the distracting details of scientific results, etc, to sloth through.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Simmons did a masterful job with the vampire legend. This novel has a hard sci-fi approach to horror. For the averag, non-lab, chemistry,blood analysis person some of the science can be tough as he establishes verisimilitude. I understood some of it, but I was able to get the idea. Either you enjoy the technical aspect, and the authenticity therein, or you don't. If you don't, it is not a painfully long process to read through and is done early in the story. If you do, it makes this book work on Simmons did a masterful job with the vampire legend. This novel has a hard sci-fi approach to horror. For the averag, non-lab, chemistry,blood analysis person some of the science can be tough as he establishes verisimilitude. I understood some of it, but I was able to get the idea. Either you enjoy the technical aspect, and the authenticity therein, or you don't. If you don't, it is not a painfully long process to read through and is done early in the story. If you do, it makes this book work on many levels. After establishing the plausibility, he creates several tense scenes and likable characters before beginning a journey with them that had me reading this book non-stop. The pace and intensity pick up as the book nears the climax, proving that this author does indeed know how to finish a book well. Certain authors write with the end game in mind from page one and this reads like it. This title made me a Dan Simmons fan. I liked his sci-fi novels, but I like hard sci-fi in general if it is well written, so for me this was a good fit.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Simmons can write. No doubt. And the early chapters of this book are understated, chilling, well-paced, and rich in atmosphere. His riffs on the Dracula myth aren't easy to anticipate, and neither is the plot. Then halfway through it turns into a Robert Ludlum novel and sort of careens into this huge sloppy ending. Still better than Kostova's The Historian, though. But Simmons retains my loyalty, because he's so good when he wants to be. And even when he isn't at his best he's still more literate Simmons can write. No doubt. And the early chapters of this book are understated, chilling, well-paced, and rich in atmosphere. His riffs on the Dracula myth aren't easy to anticipate, and neither is the plot. Then halfway through it turns into a Robert Ludlum novel and sort of careens into this huge sloppy ending. Still better than Kostova's The Historian, though. But Simmons retains my loyalty, because he's so good when he wants to be. And even when he isn't at his best he's still more literate than almost all other pop fiction writers.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Not Dan's best work, it was a bit too 'thriller-y' for me. I liked that he tried to do something different with vamps and give us a medical explanation, but I'm actually pretty happy with vamps just being bad-arsed blood suckers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    I don't really like vampire stories, most of them are cheesy and/or unoriginal and trite, but if one has to read a vampire novel, one really can't do much better than Children of the Night. Originally my intention was simply to find out what happened to one of the characters from the equally terrific Summer of Night. Nice to see that Mike O'Rourke grows up and has a very interesting and adventurous life. Dangerous too. But that's just one of the great things about this book and there are so many I don't really like vampire stories, most of them are cheesy and/or unoriginal and trite, but if one has to read a vampire novel, one really can't do much better than Children of the Night. Originally my intention was simply to find out what happened to one of the characters from the equally terrific Summer of Night. Nice to see that Mike O'Rourke grows up and has a very interesting and adventurous life. Dangerous too. But that's just one of the great things about this book and there are so many more, it's just an all around awesome read. It's obvious without even reading the introduction (more on that later) how much research, thought and attention to detail went into it, the book cleverly interweaves the horrors of post Ceaușescu Romania with the horrors of Vlad Dracula (real one, not the Bram Stoker version). It's uncertain which was more intense, because there is no horror quite like a country fallen, torn apart, damaged beyond repair and forced to live in inhuman and inhumane conditions that those privileged enough to live in a civilized world can scarcely imagine. The author's take on vampirism is one of the most original and clever ones that I have ever read, although he gets insanely technical about it in what could be perceived as one of the book's minor faults. Another one of those might possibly be the fact that its main characters seem to develop nearly superhuman powers as they draw toward the absolutely cinematic summertime blockbuster ending. But it works, it all works and so well, even if all the strings are tied so nicely in the end. Absolutely great read. Few words about the introduction. As with Summer of Night I would highly recommend reading it after the book, it is very informative, but serves better as an afterword. Very impressive that the author dared a trip to Romania at that time. Also shows off his quite considerable talent as a sketch artist. The introduction tends to extensively and quite unnecessarily quote the novel itself. And also, mentions the movie script for the book...what happened? This book would make a terrific movie. Does anyone know? Great edition, excellent cover art, a must for any collector. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tressa

    What is up with some of the low ratings for this book? I'm not necessarily an avid vampire fan, but this book is a doozy of a page turner. Romania, AIDS, and an adopted baby update the vampire legend in a very satisfying way. I read this book years ago--half of it lying in a hammock on a warm summer day--so sorry I can't remember the specifics. Read the other reviews for those. I just remember that I really dug this book!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Addy

    The aspects i enjoyed from this book were the characters, hands down. For me, if the characters weren't so likeable, it would have taken me longer to finish. I enjoyed the beginning of the story most and learning about the old vampire. I didn't care much for the medical jargon or for the long, dragged out chase scenes. With that said, the story was enjoyable and entertaining.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    Another book with great potential in the beginning that turns out to be extremely outlandish and boring, towards the end. This one deals with the Dracula family, and the reason behind their blood sucking. In my undergraduate days, my Biochem professor had mentioned the Dracula family of Transylvania while teaching us about Porphyrias, the rare group of inherited Heme disorders, wherein there is photosensitivity , red teeth, hirsuitism , and the deformed people avoid sunlight and cover themselves Another book with great potential in the beginning that turns out to be extremely outlandish and boring, towards the end. This one deals with the Dracula family, and the reason behind their blood sucking. In my undergraduate days, my Biochem professor had mentioned the Dracula family of Transylvania while teaching us about Porphyrias, the rare group of inherited Heme disorders, wherein there is photosensitivity , red teeth, hirsuitism , and the deformed people avoid sunlight and cover themselves with black capes and travel only after sundown - thus being mistakenly thought to be of as vampires . Here, I read a novel, which suggests an imaginary, though plausible mechanism which make them suck blood. Kate, a hematologist at CDC is drawn into the controversial affairs in Romania as she is mysteriously appointed to work in a hospital there. Luke, is the friendly medical student who is assisting her a lot. Kate sees a dying infant there , is somehow drawn to him, adopts him and takes him to her native US. Soon problems arise and Kate, the child and her close friends are threatened and harmed. And she has to illegally enter Romania again, to find out the mystery behind the adopted child. From herein, the book deteriorated. This book is in 2 viewpoints 1. the reminiscences of Vlad Tepes ( possibly the oldest "human" alive). Loved his tale much much more...than... 2. the doings of Kate and co. narrated in 3rd person - the entire second half of which was boring. The ending was too bizarre. the things I liked in this book were the various medical theories and Vlad's narrative. why I chose this book - BR with Manju. whom would I recommend it to? - if anyone is interested in knowing the theory proposed behind blood sucking and longevity of the so called vampires, they are welcome to read this book. The first half really deserves 3.5 to 4 stars. Will I continue with the series? probably yes, just to sate my curiosity, but most probably, no.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Wow! This is such a great book! Dan has taken everything you expect from a typical vampire novel and turned it upside down, and that's what made me love this book! In Children of the Night, the vampires feel real and that they are vampires because of a scientific reason and not just because someone bit your neck. Throughout this novel we are constantly been given facts about everything from the description of Romania to scientific formulas and diseases. One of the main plots in this book is about Wow! This is such a great book! Dan has taken everything you expect from a typical vampire novel and turned it upside down, and that's what made me love this book! In Children of the Night, the vampires feel real and that they are vampires because of a scientific reason and not just because someone bit your neck. Throughout this novel we are constantly been given facts about everything from the description of Romania to scientific formulas and diseases. One of the main plots in this book is about the AIDS virus and how severe it was in Romania during 1989. It felt as though I was been given a history lesson which is one of the best parts about Children of the Night. Yet again, Simmons has obviously gone to great lengths to get the facts and then be able to adapt these into a fantastic story involving vampires. Absolute genius! He is truly one of the greatest writers! There are a few main characters. Kate being the centre of the story. I felt that she was a very likeable character and you bond with her very quickly at the beginning of the book. I cannot write this review without mentioning the return of one of the main characters from Summer of Night, Mike O'Rourke. Or in Children of the Night, Father O'Rourke. It was great to be reintroduced to Mike as a grown up. He is very different to the boy from the Bike Patrol, and it was nice to see how he has matured since then. There was the occasional nod to Summer of Night, but only about 3 times in the whole book, which I didn't mind, as this isn't a direct sequel so I feel that it would have been irritating if it was constant reminding you about that book. Overall, and very enjoyable and extremely clever book. It kept me thinking constantly and I had no idea how it would end, until the very last word in the book. A must read for all horror fans, and be prepared for the most original idea for a vampire story ever!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annerlee

    The book is basically a thriller that blends elements of recent Romanian history shortly after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu and the history and legends of Vlad the Impaler - Dracula. Dan Simmons has obviously researched both extremely well. The harsh reality of life in Romania just after the revolution is painted in a believable way and I was able to immerse myself in the world he describes. I 'experienced' and learned a lot. Dracula's cruel and bloodthirsty flashbacks were an integral part of The book is basically a thriller that blends elements of recent Romanian history shortly after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu and the history and legends of Vlad the Impaler - Dracula. Dan Simmons has obviously researched both extremely well. The harsh reality of life in Romania just after the revolution is painted in a believable way and I was able to immerse myself in the world he describes. I 'experienced' and learned a lot. Dracula's cruel and bloodthirsty flashbacks were an integral part of the book - and apparently historically accurate, which is quite scary. For me, it was the 'thriller' elements that let the book down. I enjoyed the frequent twists, but I found the actions of the main characters improbable... they would never have got away with it in real life. Also, the author created a scientific premise for vampirism - which was fine - but he repeated it so often that it started to bore me. The more he redescribed the theories, the more it felt like he was pulling the wool over my eyes and the more he lost credibility. The action scenes at the end felt like something form a second rate movie... again, quite improbable.. a bit too tidy. All in all, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the well-researched details. The thriller action wasn't up to the same standard though, which was a bit of a disappointment. Still - a solid 3 stars from me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    The vampire myth is updated to the 1990's in this horror novel. A female doctor goes to Romania and adopts one of the lost children of the communist regime. It seems like the baby is allergic to sunlight, and can't eat regular food, but somehow blood makes it stronger, and cures all of its illnesses. The doctor believes the baby might lead to the cure for AIDS, while others believe...darker theories. They both might be right.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤

    Very interesting take on the whole vampy idea. Full review to come - soonish. 4 Ninja-Bunnehs-Slurpin'-Blood Very interesting take on the whole vampy idea. Full review to come - soonish. 4 Ninja-Bunnehs-Slurpin'-Blood

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Yikes. This started out so well with some really dark + grim images/goings-on. BUT, it quickly became overwhelmingly scientific; the medical jargon was just too much. Heck, I don't even know if any of it was ACTUAL facts or just totally imagined. Conclusion: too much science, not enough...everything else

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    It's October so I've got to get in some horror stories. The thing is this book wasn't typical horror. It was exciting in a way that the science nerd in me was very happy. I did have moments when I didn't want to go outside in the dark. Good book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luke Kondor

    Well great! Now I believe in vampires! Thanks, Dan. Simmons lays out all the evidence. He doesn't just make it sound plausible but makes it sound 100% true. The way he mixes the science with the historical accounts of the true Dracula is masterful. And the atmosphere he creates within the first 60 pages of a sooty gothic Romania with creepy diseased children all in need of your blood will stay in my mind for years to come. But boy does it get a little bogged down in the details. There were whole p Well great! Now I believe in vampires! Thanks, Dan. Simmons lays out all the evidence. He doesn't just make it sound plausible but makes it sound 100% true. The way he mixes the science with the historical accounts of the true Dracula is masterful. And the atmosphere he creates within the first 60 pages of a sooty gothic Romania with creepy diseased children all in need of your blood will stay in my mind for years to come. But boy does it get a little bogged down in the details. There were whole pages I had to glaze over because the jargon was getting far too inside-baseball for me. I wouldn't have minded if it didn't get in the way of the story but it definitely slowed things down. That and I couldn't help but pick up on an oddly spiteful attitude Simmons has towards Eastern Europe and Romania in particular. It reads like the most scathing Trip Advisor review I've ever seen. Ugly people. Ugly atmosphere. Can't breathe because it's too dirty. Gypsies want to rip you off. People want to impale you. I always wanted to go to Romania. It looks absolutely gorgeous but maybe I'll have to skip it now. On account of all the vampires. My first Simmons but definitely not my last.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Here's a book about vampires, in fact, Dracula himself is wandering around, 500 years old and tired of life. It's only third vampire book I can remember reading and it's old enough to have been written before vampire literature had been reduced to a joke by Meyer et al. Like one of the other vampire books I've read, My Name is Legion, vampirism is treated as a disease - in this case a rare genetic disease - not contagious at all. The details are carefully worked out and plausible to this not ove Here's a book about vampires, in fact, Dracula himself is wandering around, 500 years old and tired of life. It's only third vampire book I can remember reading and it's old enough to have been written before vampire literature had been reduced to a joke by Meyer et al. Like one of the other vampire books I've read, My Name is Legion, vampirism is treated as a disease - in this case a rare genetic disease - not contagious at all. The details are carefully worked out and plausible to this not overly knowledgable-of-biology reader. Hence shelve under SF as well as horror. Most of that horror comes from the reminiscences of Dracula who is treated as being the real historical Vlad Dracula. These memories come from the known facts of his life and are sickening in away that made up horrors aren't - because real people suffered in their thousands. The book is a competent story, if a little predictable (I guessed most of the twists and revelations) but was slightly disappointing in that I am used to Simmons being much more ambitious. This tale is of the scope of A Winter Haunting rather than Hyperion Cantos, Ilium-Olympos, Drood or The Terror. Bonus plus point: no spell-breaking lit.crit. essays!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This was my introduction to Dan Simmons. After being told what an excellent writer he is, I picked up the first book I could find by him. Normally I do not like Vampire novels (Other than Bram Stoker of course) mainly because they tend to drag, be self indulgent, and overly sexual. This novel grabbed me... grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I won't go into a great synopsis since it has already been done to death on here. In late 1980's early 90's Romania, people are poor, medical attention is lacki This was my introduction to Dan Simmons. After being told what an excellent writer he is, I picked up the first book I could find by him. Normally I do not like Vampire novels (Other than Bram Stoker of course) mainly because they tend to drag, be self indulgent, and overly sexual. This novel grabbed me... grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I won't go into a great synopsis since it has already been done to death on here. In late 1980's early 90's Romania, people are poor, medical attention is lacking, and orphans abound. AIDS and Hep C plague the children and there is no medical attention for them. We then follow a doctor who specializes in blood disorders who is working in Romania on behalf of the CDC. She adopts a child with a litany of rare medical disorders and returns with him to the states. She discovers there that this baby's rare condition may actually hold the cure to AIDS, and possibly other diseases. The problem is that his condition seems strangely similar to vampirism. When the baby is kidnapped our story kicks into high gear. There is a TON of medical jargon in this book, particularly when they are working on the baby... fortunately for some reason; even an idiot like me was able to follow what they were talking about. The descriptions and history of Romania was brilliant, and obviously well researched. The characters were, for the most part, believable in what they did and their motivation. There are a few that at the end you will scratch your head and wonder now why on earth would he have done that... but then again you do that about real people every day. I loved the explanation of vampirism and how it came about. Dracula was brilliant. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a decent Vampire novel that isn't all about romance and lust. Excellent action, brilliant settings, a real page turner. 4 out of 5 stars!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark Tallen

    A really good original take on the Vampire novel. Dan Simmons uses some historical facts and blends them into a fictional account that I found to be quite ingenious. The book starts strongly and the descriptions of towns and villages etc were first rate. I liked the characters and the parts of the novel that featured Vlad Tepes were really well done. The novel doesn't overstay its welcome, the length is spot on. I think effective horror doesn't need to be 700 - 1000 pages long. The bottom line i A really good original take on the Vampire novel. Dan Simmons uses some historical facts and blends them into a fictional account that I found to be quite ingenious. The book starts strongly and the descriptions of towns and villages etc were first rate. I liked the characters and the parts of the novel that featured Vlad Tepes were really well done. The novel doesn't overstay its welcome, the length is spot on. I think effective horror doesn't need to be 700 - 1000 pages long. The bottom line is that I do recommend this novel but not to readers who 'don't like horrible things happening in horror novels'. This is no teen vampire romance novel with a dollop of sweet sugar sprinkled throughout its pages. This is a 'horror' novel that picked up the Locus award for, 'best horror' novel. Children Of The Night isn't my favourite Simmons novel, but it is a 'goodread' that I recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shorty

    George Ralph was the narrator. His abilities to use Eastern European accents such as Romanian, Budapest, etc., were very good, but he would forget during long passages to keep his accent going, and sometimes it would slip away and then come back. Otherwise he was very good. I’m not exactly sure how this novel works in the three-book series Seasons of Horror, and I was terribly confused at the beginning of this novel because it had nothing to do with the third novel in the series, which I had acci George Ralph was the narrator. His abilities to use Eastern European accents such as Romanian, Budapest, etc., were very good, but he would forget during long passages to keep his accent going, and sometimes it would slip away and then come back. Otherwise he was very good. I’m not exactly sure how this novel works in the three-book series Seasons of Horror, and I was terribly confused at the beginning of this novel because it had nothing to do with the third novel in the series, which I had accidentally read first last month. But it became fascinating as far as using science to describe vampirism and it’s effects on one baby named Joshua, and I was soon enthralled. And this novel kept me interested even with the really scientific medical jargon that was way over my head, throughout. Unfortunately, after finishing this novel is seems that I have read the second novel (this novel) instead of the first, as I had intended. So I guess I’m working my way backwards, and will continue to do so since there is nothing else I can do. And since I’m enjoying them all, I don’t even care. 4 stars, and recommended.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maxine Marsh

    4.5 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Lynch

    I've avoided reviewing Dan Simmons' Children of the Night because I was so over it when I finished the book that I just haven't wanted to think about it since. BUT I've followed through with my "review every book I read" New Year's resolution and I'm not going to let this one stop me. Let's do this. THE GOOD 1) Once you sift through all the muck, Children of the Night has a good story. It's trying to tell the history of Vlad Tepes and vampires, but without all the horror and magic and allure that I've avoided reviewing Dan Simmons' Children of the Night because I was so over it when I finished the book that I just haven't wanted to think about it since. BUT I've followed through with my "review every book I read" New Year's resolution and I'm not going to let this one stop me. Let's do this. THE GOOD 1) Once you sift through all the muck, Children of the Night has a good story. It's trying to tell the history of Vlad Tepes and vampires, but without all the horror and magic and allure that most vampire books have. So, yes, this point is a backhanded compliment, but one that I say with a slight edge towards positivity. I mean, I have to give points to Simmons for his efforts here because this is a vampire story unlike any other I've read. The central plot is that there is this American doctor named Kate who is doing some humanitarian aide thing working in hospitals in Romania when she comes across an orphan baby with a weird blood disorder that may or may not be the key to finding a cure for AIDS. Long story short: Kate adopts baby, baby is babynapped, Kate + hunky priest try to get baby back. Children of the Night would make a really, really good action/horror movie. As far as story goes, it was a fun ride. Wes Craven would have knocked it out of the park! 2) The old vampire parts. A handful of times through this book, we switch perspectives to the old vampire king (it was either Tepes himself or a descendant, I can't recall). He's tired and spends his days napping and reminiscing about the good old days until the right heir can be found so he can die peacefully after abdicating the throne. I thought using this old vampire's thoughts as a way to veil some pretty heavy handed exposition was clever. It helped that these parts were where we got most of the real horror moments in the book. Because of how diluted in importance the real central plot becomes, this sub-plot was definitely my favorite part of the whole book. 3) The end. I won't spoil it, but the end of this book is SO GOOD! THE BAD 1) You can tell that Simmons researched the subject of this book meticulously and that he worked very hard to make everything in this book historically accurate. And yeah, I know that sounds like a good thing and I desperately want to praise Simmons for his work on this... but I can't. The truth is that Simmons' dedication to authenticity and facts and research is actually a detriment to this novel rather than an enhancement. Simmons hyperfocuses on ridiculous, uninteresting details. Like street names and where things are located and the political history of Romania and how, medically, we can explain how vampirism "works". One of my biggest complaints with this book is how Simmons seems to focus on all the most uninteresting parts of this story. If Simmons had just stuck to the vampire baby being babynapped plot, this would be a totally different review. I respect his attempts to shed a light on the deplorable state of the orphanages in Romania at the time, but all the other extra stuff was boring, tedious, and most criminally, just not at all interesting. 2) Children of the Night is so goddamn cheesy and predictable. I'm lucky to have made it out of this one with my eyes still in their sockets. I rolled them so hard while reading this that it's a miracle they didn't spin out of my head and fly all the way to Romania to be with the vampires. But here's the thing. I kinda love schlock. So honestly, about 1/2 of the cheesy, predictable stuff here still worked for me. But the combination of schlock and tropes and ridiculous contrivances plus this weird insistence that everything has a real and logical and very detailed explanation just didn't work well together. Someone should have told Simmons to either make this a historically accurate vampire legend or a fun, schlocky action/horror story instead of mixing the two. I can't take things seriously when there's stuff like this: "Kate found herself admiring his small rear end in a way that was far from medical." (p.269) 3) The romance. As soon as we met Father Mike O'Rourke I just knew there would be a romance between him and Kate. I FUCKING HATED IT. It was cringy, inappropriate, and unnecessary. 4) The horror. The depiction of the state of the orphanages in Romania is the most horrifying thing in this book. Yeah, we got a bit of horror from the old vampire king, but that was it. This is more of an action/adventure than a horror novel. So that's what I though of this one. I rated Dan Simmons' Children of the Night 3 out of 5 stars. It's a very low 3 I admit. I enjoyed about half of this book and laughed a lot while reading it. I know that probably wasn't the reaction Simmons was hoping for, but it is what it is. I don't recommend this one. There are far better vampire stories out there.

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