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19
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT
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am 15. Februar 2017
Dan Simmons is a wonderful and versatile writer, as any reader of his other science fiction/fantasy novels knows. In "Children of the Night" he turns his formidable skills to the somewhat hackneyed genre of vampire novels. But let it be said without intending a value judgment: this novel has almost nothing in common with such vampire series as those by S. Meyer or A. Rice. No simpatico vampires here.

In addition to fantasy and creativity, writing a novel like this requires a lot of research, since Simmons not only locates it in an exotic but real place (turbulent post-Ceausescu Romania); he also offers a convincing scientific explanation for vampirism. He then masterfully synthesizes these elements into a gripping novel. Of course the original "Dracula" by Bram Stoker also took place partly in Romania, but in Stoker's novel Romania was more of a mystical place, far removed from the lives of readers. Although I did find Simmons' description exaggerated in its inhumane awfulness (and I hope for the sake of all Romanians that things were/are not quite that bad), one of the best things about this novel is the chilling portrayal of post-Ceausescu Romania. We see the country, and especially its health care services, through the horrified eyes of an American scientist. She is the main protagonist and the reader can easily identify with her and her quest to save at least one child. The subject matter rings true due to the widespread reporting on the wretched state of orphanages after the collapse of a regime which forced women to have children. After the broadcasting of such reports, Romanian children were adopted by people in many countries. Perhaps unfairly, this look at Romania makes it seem like the kind of place that would breed and tolerate terrible creatures like vampires. And terrible they are in this novel.

The second thing about this novel which sets it apart from most vampire sagas is Simmons' very convincing (at least for me as a layperson) physiological explanation for the need of vampires to drink blood. This is slowly discovered by our scientist protagonist after bringing a child with blood anomalies back to the States, where its condition is analyzed by a top university lab. Some readers found the long passages on the biochemistry of vampires boring - I not.

Where the novel starts to flounder a little in its believability (but not enough to make me want to stop reading), is when it morphs into an action novel with derring-do worthy of James Bond. I was also not convinced by some of the characters, especially the world-weary priest who materializes to come to the aid of our protagonist in the final battle of good against evil. On the other hand, I found the Dracula-like character extremely convincing and very very scary.

But I don't want to spoil things for readers, so will stop here with a five-star recommendation.
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am 30. April 2000
There have been a lot of vampire novels and stories, and I have read a good number of them. But this one is entirely different. The author uses science to explain the phenomenon. This makes the strength and the weakness of the book. We see vampires that are of this world and the author creates horror - and a good one as well - without having to use the supernatural. But his scientific explanations are too lengthy and kill suspense at times. The ending is also a trifle too forced. But all people who love horror must read this novel.
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am 1. Juni 2017
Es ist unglaublich was dieser Dan Simmons zu Papier bringt. Woher nimmt es dieses Detailwissen zu dem Land Rumaenien. Auch das medizinische Wissen ist enorm. Ein tolles Buch, sehr gute Unterhaltung. Dabei bin ich kein Fan einiger seiner Buecher (Beispiel: Drood), aber andere seiner Werke lese ich immer wieder. Sehr empfehlenswert!
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am 1. Oktober 1997
Dan Simmons writes one of THE best vampire novels of the modern times. His epolagues of an ancient vampire gives great insight to what is really going on behind the infants past. His handling of combining long-standing vampire myth with modern ideas is exquisite and masterful. I can't think of any other book to recommend to new initiates into the gothic lore of vampires. Dan Simmons has found a subject that, on one hand has been done to death (no pun intended), but on the other, gives a new light and meaning to the truth behind vampire history. One of the best around, definitely.
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am 12. Juni 2000
I made it about 2/3rds through this book and just couldn't takeit anymore. I didn't care about the characters, I felt I knew exactlywhat was going to happen, and I was just plain bored.
The book is a mix of hard medical science and vampire myths. There is no sensuality to these vampires so if your an Anne Rice fan don't even think about it. Also be warned that some of the interludes/dreams of Vlad Teppish are EXTREMELY graphic and disturbing. I usually don't mind things like this too much but it just wasn't needed in this case.
The only people I can think of that would like this book would be hardcore medical thriller readers that are looking for a bit of the fantastical.
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am 6. Februar 2008
Plot: An American physical doctor adopts a baby (which she calls Joshua) in Romania and discovers bit by bit a terrifying secret about him. Before she can gather enough facts to resolve the riddle, she gets attacked by arcane people from an ancient Romanian order who abduct Joshua. With the help of an American priest, she travels to Romania once more to get her baby back.
A very dark story rife with a lot of suspense and horror. The scientific approach to vampirism is very successful, delivering authentic and interesting explanations although they may be too detailed and elaborate for some readers.
The end was rather corny and Hollywood-fashion, but why not a happy-end in an otherwise very dark and dismal plot.

Style of writing: Simmons has a unique style, combining humour and irony as well as melancholy, sadness and happiness in a very poetic and eloquent language. Also because of this, the book is a joy to read and a natural page-turner. The author has the gift to deliver high-quality writing and create very profound and fascinating storylines at the same time.

Characters: Simmons creates very profound and plausible characters. They all have their history, their wishes and fears as well as individual dreams and hopes. Kate Neuman, the main character, develops during the story and discovers new character attributes within herself.
Other important characters like O¿Rourke and Lucian also have their believable background which gets revealed bit by bit to Neumann and the reader.

Summary: A very thrilling story with an interesting explanatory approach to the mystic subject of vampirism. The suspense is steadily increasing and the reader gets the feeling of being right in the middle of the action. Definitely another recommendable book by Dan Simmons with the familiar high quality. An absolute must if you like vampire-stories. (Since it's not possible to give half points, I've rated this story with 4.0 pts instead of 4.5 pts as intended)
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am 9. Mai 2000
Dan Simmons has bridged Stoker to our modern conundrum of the AIDS virus brilliantly, yet stayed somewhat aloof to the current social implications. It is one of the most adaptive and inventive modernizations of Vampirism literature that I've ever read, and I've read quite a lot. I may be prejudiced, but I've read and purchased nearly everything Mr. Simmons has published and I consider him one of the top ten writers in the world.
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am 5. Februar 1998
Dan Simmons is the best author most people have not read. What a shame. This book is probably not popular with the Romanian tourist agencies but it is scary and very unforgetable. The reviews above are right on with the superb way DS interlocks Characterization, story and suspense. Publishers take note, push this guy, reprint with some support, he is better then any other horror/suspense author out there.
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am 14. März 2000
I have to say that Dan Simmons is probably my second favorite horror and sci-fi writer. His hypnotic and down-to-earth narration hooks you into turning page after page until you get to the end of the book. I've always loved stong child characters in literature, and D. Simmons doesn't disappoint.
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am 24. April 2000
Let me begin by saying that I love Dan Simmons' books and I've read all of them I can get my hands on. I loved the Hyperion and Endymion Books and I've loved most of his stuff that's closer to horror. I even enjoyed Phases of Gravity, his foray into non-action, mainstream fiction. But I only LIKED this book.
It has all of the typical Simmons strengths: strong characters, lots of action and suspense, intelligence, complexity and lots of research. In fact, it offers one of the more convincing scientific answers for vampires I've ever seen.
The thing that hurt this book for me was its ending. It rested on too many implausible coincidences. After being great all of the way through, it suddenly reminded me of one of those bad movies where the bad guy who has had perfect aim throughout suddenly starts missing when he shoots at the hero.
Still, it's not a bad read and much better than most of the tripe that's available these days.
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