The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
As it says in the blurb the Hatching is a story that finds the world on the verge of an apocalyptic disaster, with not a zombie in sight I hasten to add. The infestation that is about to attack the planet is of the 8 legged variety and is a species that seems to have been lying dormant for many hundreds of years. Something, somehow, seems to have woken up these arachnids and with their voracious appetites and hankering for flesh it seems unlikely that anything can stop their large scale massacre of virtually anything with a pulse that lies in their path.
The Hatching contains a number of different threads. A professor/scientist who seeks recognition in her field of expertise. A young man who is about to introduce his intended fiancee to his grandfather who lives out on a remote island. A number of survivalists who are prepared for a life threatening event, bunkers set up and kitted out just waiting for disaster to strike. An FBI agent investigating a plane crash seeking to determine whether or not foul play was involved.
We start the story with a billionaire out on a tour of Peru accompanied by three glamorous assistants, a guide and a bodyguard. The trip isn’t going particularly well and the travellers are feeling despondent but their troubles are only just about to begin. At the same time a strange package is delivered to the laboratory of the Professor straight from an archaeological dig in Nazca, Peru. On top of that strange seismic rumblings are being recorded in India and to top it all off China appear to be taking the nuclear threat to a whole new place of strangeness by bombing their own country!
I actually think The Hatching is quite a good read – providing you go into it with the right expectations, which I don’t think I did. I think, personally, I had the wrong idea when I started the book. I was expecting out and out horror with spiders crawling out of every nook and cranny. Don’t get me wrong there were a couple of creepy elements to the story but, given that this is about spiders (and you can therefore assume my fear levels have been ratcheted up to an all time high before even cracking the pages open) this just doesn’t deliver that goosebump inducing fear ride that I was anticipating. I guess I’d say this felt more like a thinking piece than a run and hide behind the cushion piece. As a comparison, when I picked up Mira Grant’s Feed I was expecting a story overrun with flesh eating zombies and blood curdling horror when in actual fact the book focuses much more on the survivors and how they cope with the threat. This book is similar in that the horror is quite subdued – of course there are moments within the book where the spiders are running amok killing and eating everything in their path and there are the additional elements where we discover the truth about where these spiders actually like to lay their basic egg sacs but it didn’t feel particularly horror filled – for me anyway.
I think that in terms of the length of the story it feels like a lot of characters are introduced in fairly short order and most of them feel a little bit cliched if I’m going to be honest. There are also a lot of threads and I think this jumping back and forth between characters and plot lines didn’t really give me a chance to become firmly attached to any of them. That being said I did enjoy the author’s style of writing and I admit this was a very easy book to finish.
At the moment I would say this has a definite ‘set up’ feel to it. There are no real explanations yet explored about the spiders, why they remained dormant for so long, why they became dormant in the first place or how they were awoken. The characters storylines all remain open and the book concludes with a firm focus for what No.2 will be trying to achieve.
In conclusion, whilst I didn’t love this book I am intrigued as to how the story will continue. I would like to see the characters develop more and would like to feel an increase in tension which I thought was lacking a little here but, overall, I am curious enough to continue with the series to see how the story pans out.
I received a copy courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.