#BookReview “When the Children Return (Children of the Eye Book 2)” by Barry Kirwan

book cover


5/5 stars!

I’ve looked forward to book two of the Children of the Eye series since January and When the Children Return didn’t disappoint.

A now-adult Sally leads the battle-ready group as the Athena returns to Earth to face the Axleth and reclaim their planet.

It will be easier said than done.

Even with the artificial intelligence Ares and his knowledge way beyond humanity’s imaginings, the fight will be daunting, perhaps even hopeless. Has Ares shared everything he knows with the humans? What does he know about the mysterious ship that attacked the Athena and is following them to Earth?

Doesn’t look as though the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but it will take battle, betrayal, and loss before the true enemy is identified.

Nathan, our hero from book one is back, still not feeling like a hero. Haunted by his service in Afghanistan, even the small victory of saving some of Earth’s children doesn’t change him. Things get even worse for him when Lara goes missing and is presumed dead. But never count him out. The survivors can make this planned assault on their home planet because he got them out the first time and he’ll rise to the occasion when needed.

Like Sally, many of the children who escaped are now adults, some with children of their own. But some have chosen to be augmented by Ares to assist with piloting the Athena, and now exist as something more than human.

However, like in book one, it is man’s humanity that to me is the dominant theme of When the Children Return. Our differences separate us. Our differences lead us to shun, hate, and violence. But Barry Kirwan’s science fiction adventure proves when we have a common enemy and goal, those differences are meaningless and fade away. (So why do we allow them to do so much damage at all?)

This fast-moving epic has several moments of ennui and regret, and sadness, but realistic characters and stellar writing not only lead to smooth transitions but also made this a one-sitting read for me.

Bittersweet, yet hopeful, the ending is open enough for book three, and I’m here for it!



When it finally comes, we won’t even know what’s hit us.

Ten years have passed since the Axleth invaded Earth and a few hundred humans escaped aboard the ship Athena, piloted by the Artificial Intelligence who calls himself Ares. Now, the refugees approach Earth, determined to take back their home. But something has followed them from deep in space, and as war breaks out on Earth, humanity must decide who is the real enemy.

Praise for When the Children Return

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.Tom Witcomb

Kirwan lights the fuse on a new SF seriesaction-adventure and dark-edged SF that will enthrall readers.” Kirkus Reviews

★★★★★ Great story-telling. Intelligent, compelling, and told in a direct, easy-to-read style.” Susan Yea

★★★★★ “The writing is even and solid throughout, with interesting, intelligent characters who fight against horrific odds with every advantage and resource they can muster. I‘m getting the sequel as soon as it comes out!” Adrian B.

★★★★★ “A taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter.

★★★★★ “I’ve read and enjoyed first contact stories before, but the unique plot and realistic characters of When the Children Come make it a memorable book that goes on the re-read shelf. Felicia Denise

★★★★★ “Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

★★★★★ “Kirwan’s writing really feels authentic. His knowledge is clearly well-researched, and the themes of this novel felt real. I absolutely loved the vivid descriptions, the characters (Sally is awesome), the struggles. Everything felt real. I was on the edge of my seat!” Jessica Belmont

Kindle Unlimited

99c at time of posting!

Amazon US

Amazon UK


big tour banner


What say you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.