Review: The Fallen Children

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Night out’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterward Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

One night everyone inside Midwich Towerfall unconscious in a mass blackout. No one can explain why they all fell asleep at the same time, or what had happened during those hours, but soon after residents Keisha and others realise they’re all pregnant. And something isn’t right about these kids.

I really enjoyed how David Owen was trying to address the themes of guilt, shame and judgment of young people. Its concept is quite intriguing which attempted to examine the treatment of young children via its supernatural themes. The diverse cast of characters is what pulled me to this book.

But honestly, the attitude in this book is frankly quite disgusting and worrying. I was immense disappointed about this book. The microaggressions that seep in every page but none of it is really challenged.

Rape is a crucial element to the plot and about how these girls take back what’s been taken from them. They’ve been violated in one of the worst ways possible, but their attitude to how they treat each other made me sick. One of the girls, Siobhan, self-induces an abortion through intensive drinking. Going to the hospital was not a choice because the children could literally control their mothers in the womb. For a book that supposed to be about one’s own agency, it does the most to shame the one girl who wanted to stop it. She’s hated by everyone immediately, even the other children when they’re born, ridiculed for making a choice. Maida also dares to say she didn’t have the right to do it. Siobhan is then cast aside, and quite literally dropped from the book. (Her POV is swapped for Maida’s.) I could see what Owen was going with this, to show how abortion is treated and those who choose to go through with the procedure are negatively impacted. But none of it is challenged in this book. Even the rape isn’t addressed. They mention it, but it’s quickly brushed away once they realise how dangerous the children are. And you would expect it, considering the central concept of the book, but it’s not, and it should’ve been.

Maida was something else. If you pick this up for Muslim rep, put it back down right away. From her hatred towardSiobhan for choosing to have an abortion and her general behaviour, throughout this book Maida was disturbing. She comes from a very stereotypical Muslim family with a submissive mother and abusive father. She’s introduced quite nicely, a girl who wants to do more than what her parents what for her, but once she realises she’s pregnant, she’s happy? She’s more than pleased to have the baby because it’ll get her away from her father. At first, I chalked that down to her naivety, but she’s downright cruel and terrible. The stuff she thinks and wishes on other people is downright awful.

Once the children are born, it’s just a cycle of the same events in different places. Everyone in the building against them attempts to lash out, and the children react, physically harming the residents. There’s a discussion on what makes a monster, are they born or made?

There’s just so much that I can’t put to words entirely. The fat shaming and sexual assault deserve to be mentioned. Again, none of it is challenged nor dealt with. Overall, I can see what David Owen was trying to do with this book, the discussion of being an outsider in a world that doesn’t want you there. There’s just too much in this one book that isn’t developed at all, very stereotyped, just wasn’t enjoyable to read.

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Content warning: rape scene with multiple references to it through the book and video footage of the act, fat shaming, sexual assault, self-induced abortion. 

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