What would you do if you were the last child born?
Extinction Of All Children
Author: L.J. Epps
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy
Publication Date: June 3, 2019
The futuristic world of Craigluy has been divided into three territories and three economic classes. A large wall separates the territories, so the poor cannot mingle with the rich.
Since President Esther, the ruler over all of Craigluy, believes the poor do not have adequate means to take care of children, they are no longer allowed to procreate. Pregnant mothers are imprisoned until their babies are born, then the infants are taken away.
Emma Whisperer is the last child to survive. She is the last child born in lower-class Territory L before the law was instituted in the year 2080. She is the last eighteen-year-old.
Emma struggles to understand why she was spared while others weren’t. She doesn’t like the laws and believes they should be repealed. Her family doesn’t agree with her; they discourage her rebellious streak. Yet, she helps them to cover up their own family rebellion. She helps them to hide a big secret, a secret that could be both disastrous and deadly for members of their family.
The premise caught my attention right away and it doesn’t disappoint. It is a sensitive, serious topic that is debated throughout the book and I’m glad it sticks to that. Sometimes books stray away for other things like romance but Emma stays true to her opinions and herself. She wants to make a change, especially since the law hits close to home.
There are some good twists in the book surrounding Emma’s family and President Esther. It’s definitely one of those circumstances if they told Emma earlier, things might be different or she might’ve taken a different turn. It’s because of this that I’m not sure who to trust. I get the feeling Esther isn’t bullshitting Emma when they meet, but as for everyone else, I just have a hard time trusting.
Emma is one of those characters who doesn’t think over her actions enough. There were times I had a hard time reading because I was thinking, “Why would you do that?” And you’re just waiting for her to get caught. It’s not a bad thing and keeps you on your toes while Emma gets more information. She does go through a change as something she does land her in trouble and you see her thinking over her actions first.
Overall, it’s a different read and different from other books I’ve read this year so far. The law in place to kill newborn children and Esther’s reasons for it make you think how you would act in those tough situations and I think when a book does just that, it’s worth the read.
“On your feet.”
I hear a loud
voice. My heart jumps. It sounds like Rich.
There are no
windows here, but my internal clock tells me it is bedtime. I was waiting for
the lights off in ten minutes call. Instead, I see him standing in front of my
cell. He looks the same yet scarier, and his green eyes peer at me. His hair
looks as bright as a ripe cherry. My hands shake.
“I’m not going
to say it again. You’ve been summoned to see the president.”
“But it’s almost
time for lights out.” My voice quivers.
“I don’t care what time it is. I gave you an
I stand and my knee twitches. The ice pack,
lying on my side, falls and crashes to the floor. My cell door opens with a
squeal, and Rich steps inside. He is dressed in his uniform, and he smells of
musk and liquor. I didn’t think guards could drink while on duty, but what do I
“Let’s go,” he
says, clutching my arm.
Once I’m out of
my cell, he snaps the handcuffs on. The coldness straddles my wrists. Like a
dog on a leash, he leads and I follow. My stomach is in knots. I don’t know
what to expect once we reach the president’s quarters. But, we don’t go to the
fifth floor; the elevator dings on the second floor. He pulls on my handcuffs
and yanks me off the elevator. My gym shoes scuff against the hardwood floors
as we walk down the long hallway. We end up at the conference room.
The room is
bright red. There is a large window. I see a few remnants of sunlight, peering
through the blinds. There is a long, brown table that looks like it is made of
marble. There are four chairs on each side and one large chair at the end where
President Esther sits. She has on a dark blue pants suit and a white shirt. Her
silver hair is pulled back into a bun, and her lipstick is bloodred.
Emma,” she says, pointing to the chair next to her. “I thought we could have a
I plunk down,
but not next to her. I sit a few seats away.
cautious, I like that.” Her mouth curls up.
stands in the room. He’s glaring at me, like a fire breathing dragon. I shiver.
Rich.” President Esther looks at him. “That will be all.”
“Are you sure
you don’t need me to stay?”
“No, I’ll be
“But, I think I
should.” He steps closer. His eyes narrow.
“I said I’ll be fine, Richard.” She uses his
full first name. “You can go now.”
“As you wish,”
he says, with a lion-like growl.
I never knew his
full first name was Richard, but I’m glad she told him to leave. He seems like
he would challenge her, at every turn. I wonder why she keeps him around. He
looks like a coldhearted killer, so maybe she needs his talents. I pray, once
he leaves the room, my knee will stop wiggling. He roughly exits, stomping like
a drunken man whose liquor has been cut off. The door bangs as he slams it
that.” Her piercing blue eyes gape at me. “He goes overboard, sometimes.”
My brain checks back in on the conversation. My mother is still going on about her day.
“I was able to pick up some fruit from the market. The apples and pears were fresh. We can have them for dessert on Sunday, along with the whipped cream Emma picked up.” She puts on a fake smile. “They don’t always have it, since it is only for special occasions. Thanks for going back to the store to get it. I forgot it when I was there earlier. I hope you didn’t have a hard time finding it.”
“It is fine, Mother,” I say, softly.
Sundays are special in Territory L. It is the day families are supposed to stay in and enjoy each other’s company. The day we get to eat chicken or fish, instead of beans and soup. It is the day we play old board games and read old books. Pears and apples are what my mother considers dessert. Maybe this Sunday will be even more special because we’re going to have whipped cream on our fruit. We never had it before. I guess whipped cream will make it look more desirable. So, while Territory U has pie and cake, we’ll have fruit with whipped cream topping.
“Is there any more milk?” Theodore asks.
“I had your sister pick some up on her way back.”
“Yes, T,” I say, chiming in. I always call him T, for short. “There is a fresh carton in the fridge. Try not to drink it all. It has to last for at least the next week.”
I watch as he narrows his eyes in my direction, then he stands with his glass in hand and goes to the kitchen. He is such a child, sometimes I can’t even tell he is nineteen.
“So, how was your day, Emma?” My father turns to me. He just put a spoonful of beans in his mouth. He clears his throat and continues. “I mean, before you ran that errand.”
Every time someone talks about the errand, I cringe. It is as if a knife has been put through my stomach because we have such a hard time even saying what the errand is. And the whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I try to forget about the errand, for now, and dwell on his question—how my day was.
“If you’re asking me if I found a job yet, I haven’t.” I take a sip of water. “There is not much to do around here.”
“There is, if you want to be cashier at the market or a salesperson at the clothing store.”
“Those aren’t real jobs. Sorry,” I add, glancing over at him.
He has always said it didn’t matter what the job is because any job, even if it isn’t glamorous, should be respected. Judging by the slant in his eyebrows that makes the lines in his forehead crease, he didn’t take kindly to what I just said.
“What I meant to say,” I continue, “is I want to go to college and be a doctor like you, Dad, or a teacher like Mom was. It is not fair—”
“We can’t keep having this discussion every night,” Mother cuts in, her voice curt. “I know it is disappointing that there are no colleges and no continued education for you. And I also know you don’t want any of the jobs the territory has to offer—”
“But that is the way it is, and you have to deal with it,” says Father, cutting her off.
“I’m not hungry anymore.” I push my plate aside.
I know it is foolish because around here you don’t always know where your next meal is coming from, but I can’t stomach the same conversation along with the same dry food every night.
“May I be excused?” I lower my head.
“Yes, Emma. You may.” My mother’s tone is soft. “And Em, things will get better,” she says with sad eyes.
She always says that. I think, more for herself than for me. But things never get better. They always stay the same, or get worse.
About The Author
J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.
Over the last few years, L. J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction, and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.