The Night Butterflies by Sara Litchfield
In a dark, poisonous, post-apocalyptic world, the surviving community of a university town in England is divided. The Men separate from society and make their home The Facility, where they develop medication to combat the radiation that would otherwise kill those left alive.
Ellie and Danny are products of Project Eden, an operation devised by Leader for the survival and betterment of the human race through engineering of the next generation, seeded in The Mothers without their consent.
Looked upon as a failed experiment, the first batch of mutated babies is burned. Ellie is confined to life in a bunker – the sole, secret survivor of the burning. The Batch-2 triplets that follow are perfectly formed but impossible to control. Danny is different from the rest. Seeking to learn why, he accidentally uncovers Ellie’s existence. When The Men come for Ellie’s Mother, her last act is to send the pair of ‘monsters’ into hiding.
But when the triplets develop disturbing abilities that sign their own death warrant and the cull begins, can Danny and Ellie remain on the run? Or will they be forced to turn back and fight the system that brought them into existence?
The Book Doctors: I just can’t tell you how many stories we get about “dark, poisonous, post-apocalyptic worlds”. Those words have become clichés. We’ve seen them so many times that you have to prove to us right from the beginning that yours is going to be different, unique, and shows things we’ve never seen before. Much better to show specific word images of what this world looks like. Build this world for us. This is all the more important because the marketplace is so saturated on this shelf right now. That said, we do like this idea of genetically engineered babies–Project Eden–that’s cool. And the fact that the first batch of mutated babies is burned. That’s really creepy in the best sense. And that these triplets have some kind of abilities is very interesting, but you don’t give us some kind of clue as to what those abilities might be. We can’t see it in our mind’s eye. And we’re not quite sure who these heroes are that we’re rooting for. You don’t give us enough of a glimpse into Danny and Ellie for us to fall in love with them.