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Monsters: Holy Freaking Not What To Do To Your Readers Batman! A Review of Breeding Ground

Let me preface this review by saying I threw this stupid book across the room when I was through with it this morning! I am one pissed off reader who feels cheated of all by the time I spend eagerly turning the pages of Breeding Ground.  Dramatic?  Ya, maybe, but I am not a happy, satisfied reader.  This book I think is an excellent example of what NOT to do to piss your readers off.  Unless you want to ensure they will never read anything from you again.


Here is part my Breeding Ground issue, I spent a lot of time reading all 339 pages of the book because I genuinely was enjoying it!  I was hooked, it has a fast pace, and the characters were interested despite things annoying me.  And this assignment was a little late because I genuinely wanted to finish the book.  So many hours of life wasted.  Perhaps, not.  For me, this is an excellent lesson in what not to do.


Breeding Ground is an apocalyptic horror story in which something strange happens to all the females on the planet—they get fat and grotesque and then giving birth to disgusting white spidery-type creatures with telepathic powers to communicate with each other and the ability to control their men and families.  They hold them immobile on the walls and ultimately eat them.  Great.


Chloe, the pregnant girlfriend of the protagonist, Matt regains control of herself (before being ripped apart by birthing one of those nasties and the couple deceased child) to warn Matt and allow him to get away.


Matt meets up with several other survivors, and they begin their journey to a government compound where they believe they can be safe.  Along the way, they pick up two girls—a young 20 something women’s, and her younger 9-year-old sister.  Remember, women are the ones infected by these things.  This is a worldwide phenomenon, and it seems like the end of the human race.


First, the protagonist has been portrayed awfully because he just lost his fiancé and child a day ago and he is already feeling attracted to the newcomer.  Come on! Yes, stressful situation, but really?  Whatever. I can accept his stupidity and move on.


On their way to the compound, one of the group, Dave is bitten by a “widow.” That is the name they gave to the creatures.  Dave gets sick, and ultimately they wind up needing to amputate the arm in which he was bitten.  Problem solved. Not so much.


Matt and Katie (the twenty-something) get together, and after that Katie acts strangely. Katie has this thing growing inside of her now.  Anyone suspect Matt as the cause at this point? I did.  Dave has a turn for the worse; Katie must know she is carrying this widow; They commit suicide together.  And so what does our protagonist do?  Moves on to the next woman in the group, who gets pregnant.  Seriously?  OK, whatever moving on, I am still hooked because I want to know how this group will survive.


I want to know why these monsters are on earth. What is their purpose?  How did it happen? How do they develop?  How does one become “pregnant” with a giant people-eating spider?  There must be cause and effect right?  Wrong.


The things appear vulnerable to fire (aerosol cans and lighters) and deaf people (and animal’s) blood.  Really.  I am not kidding.  The girl that Matt moved on to, Rebecca is deaf, and her blood works like acid to the widows.  A dog showed up at the compound, a deaf dog, and the widows did not attack but kept their distance.  But WHY???


I kept turning the pages.


The book held my attention.  I read every page. Down to the last word. Then, I tossed the damned thing across the room and ranted at my husband for the next 45 minutes!  The author did not keep her promises to the reader that much I can tell you. So what happened?


Sorry Spoiler Alerts, but seriously I want my life hours back, so you aren’t missing anything if I spoil it for you.  One of their group that was a complete ass the entire time staged a coo and fed the little girl to the widows, and was bitten himself.  So he died too.  Then, the men in the compound grew things in their chests, and black smaller spiders burst from their bodies—killing them host.


The only survivors an older man, whom I liked as a character. The protagonist Matt, and his now pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca.  They separate, the old man goes looking for his deaf grandson who he realizes might have survived like Rebecca and dog. And Matt and Rebecca head north to look for a community of children they heard might exist over the radio waves.  The author tried to leave the story off with a glimmer of hope for the characters and humanity.  So what is the problem?


The reader never discovers why the monsters are there, how to kill defeat them, or (and this is my biggest issue) how people became infected!  How in the world did these men get infected with the smaller black spiders?  There was no cause and effect, and no logic.  Did they not have contact it was just suddenly in their bodies?  It made no sense and was never explained.  Nor was it explained why the main character and the old man didn’t’ become infected.


Although the dog and Rebecca’s blood kept those “widows” away, that was never explained and had no logic behind the assertion.  None of it made any damned sense.  So there was nothing you did or didn’t do to determine if you became infected? Nothing you could avoid or even work toward because being holed up in a secure compound where they couldn’t get in didn’t work since these things could just randomly magically grow inside the chests of men?  All I can say is what in the actual Fuck??


Rant over. Don’t waste your time. Breeding Ground is the first book I actually threw across the room.


Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.