Title/Author: The Breeders by Katie French
Publisher/Date published: August 1st 2012
How I got this book: received it as part of the book tour hosted by Kismet Book Touring
Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches– moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything- the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they’re hunting Riley.
When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender– a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley’s affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?
The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico– escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is shot and forced into the Breeder’s hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she’ll share unless she can find a way out.
There's just something about dystopian novels that draw me in and scare the crap out of me, especially when I can imagine the things that happen actually happening to us in the future!
Riley is one of the only free girls left in the world and one of the few girls in child-bearing years overall. You can't fully realize what this means to her and her family until you discover that girls are actually sold to breeding facilities and how scarce resources have become. It's pretty much a fight to stay alive most of the time and I really liked that we got to see the full impact this reality has on Riley and her family. Riley isn't the happy girl she should have been if times were different, she's had to learn how to adapt and how to take care of herself and the rest of the family.
I liked that instead of the usual lack of parental guidance, Riley actually still has her mother and a stepfather. She may not always get along with her stepfather, but they do look after each other. And then there's the adorable younger brother Ethan, who though he may only be 8 years old, has seen way too much evil by the end of the novel. And while he does lose some of his innocence, he's still the sweet kid we meet at the beginning and a really brave little boy and my heart just went out to him.
I couldn't imagine life without my family and I liked that Riley feels the same way and they always come first to her.
The concept of the government having facilities in which they force fertile women to have child after child is monstruous! Especially when they're starting with 15-16 year-old girls, I mean, no offeense, but they're not done being children/teens themselves, I know I wasn't! It's just not right when you're reduced to nothing but a walking birthing machine just because you were born with the right parts for it.
And as scary and wrong as this is, I can imagine how it came to be. We don't really get a lot of information about how they started this and I'm kinda counting on there being more on this in the sequel that's mentioned in the author's note at the end, because I can see how it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. And how it got out of hand and turned into something ugly.
I also hope we'll get to learn more about the virus that caused the whole shortage of girls and the existence of benders (a girlish-looking boy), because I can't help but be fascinated by stuff like this.
The Breeders is a pretty hars, dark book, which is to be expected given the subject matter. But it was so dark all the time that I sometimes found myself needing a break and doing something else because it could get depressing to be honest! The only bright spot in it all is the romance between Riley and Clay and well, that was also the only part of the novel I found a bit hard to believe.
They don't really become friends so much as that Clay can't seem to take a hint when Riley tries to get rid of him and because he thinks she's a bender, he rejects her when she tries to kiss him at one point. But then after he discovers she's a girl he's suddenly all into her?? I mean, they were sweet together, I just didn't fully believe this instant transition.
Other than that The Breeders was an enjoyable read with high stakes and a really scary possibility for the future and I'm interested to see what the sequel will bring for Riley, Clay and her family.
My rating: 4 stars
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