One of Us by Craig Dilouie

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This is a book I’m going to remember for a very long time. I was hanging on the edge of my seat through the entire last half of this book. I read the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down once it got its hooks into me. Literally not-put-downable.

This is unlike any other urban fantasy I’ve read. Although on the shorter side, this is not a light read. It covers a lot of difficult topics and will likely leave you thinking on it for a while after you’re done.

In this world, there was a virus that struck the globe without warning in the 1970’s. Children were being born with never seen before mutations – babies with tentacles, horns, claws, fur all over their bodies, etc. Those kids are shipped off and kept secluded from polite society. Since this virus is sexually transmitted, extreme rules are going into place when birth rates of mutants hit 1/3 births. Anyone who wants to have sex has to get tested for the virus, and if someone tests positive for the virus and is pregnant, an abortion is mandatory. However, since those rules took decades to go into effect, there are now over 1 million mutant children being housed throughout the country in barbaric conditions. They are essentially being used as slave labor and no one knows what’s going to happen when they reach adulthood, which is just around the corner for the oldest of the mutant children. The world is becoming more and more tense and in some countries the mutant kids are hunted down and killed, not just imprisoned. What no one knows, because the ‘disease’ is so new, is that these mutant kids develop super human powers as they age and hit puberty. There are those that can create fire, control peoples minds, and blow holes through flesh more effectively than bullets.

This story follows a group of mutant kids growing up on the outskirts of society in a small rural town down south, while simultaneously following a group of ‘normal’ kids growing up not far away, but living entirely different lives. There are also a bunch of pov’s from the adults in the town that I found equally immersive. It’s extremely difficult to describe the overall plot because there are so many moving pieces and so many characters with their own motivations that pull the story along – but suffice it to say that this is a story of ‘us vs them’ and the worst consequences that can bring. When two sides demonize each other to the point of a powder keg explosion, there’s not much that can stop it once the fuse is lit.

There are a ton of POV’s but it’s not confusing, and I genuinely found all of the characters to be highly engaging. Whether I was rooting for them, disgusted by them, or had mixed feelings about them – each and every one of them held my attention. When the POV’s switched I was eager to see what the other characters had been up to. I found them all to be thoroughly fleshed out, and even when I hated them I understood their motivations. It made everything feel all too real, to be honest. I think that’s why this book will stick with me, the characters could do monstrous things, and I hated some of them, but I still always knew why they were doing what they were doing.

This book made me feel every emotion there is to feel, and those emotions lingered long after I had finished. It’s been a long time since a fantasy book has done that to me, and I’m so glad I picked this one up. It pulls no punches, so be warned this is not a light happy book.

Audience:

  • urban fantasy
  • multi pov
  • xmen like mutants
  • darker stories
  • those who like emotional rollercoasters

Ratings:

  • Plot: 14/15
  • Characters: 15/15
  • World Building: 14/15
  • Writing: 14/15
  • Pacing: 14/15
  • Originality: 14/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 10/10

Final Score: 95/100 – 5 stars, can not recommend it enough

 

3 comments

  1. This was one of my favorite reads last year. It’s insane that this book isn’t selling more.

    DiLouie’s said that he’ll write a sequel if there’s the demand for it, but it’s meant to be a standalone. His next book is Our War and written in a similar style, but follows a “new civil war” in the US between the political right and left after the president refuses to step down. It should be…interesting, to say the least.

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