After 60 or so pages of Ezekiel Boones novel The Hatching, there were nukes dropped in China, multiple victims eaten by spiders. an epic plane crash and the suggestion that the world is on the brink of the apocalypse. None of the above comments are spoilers as they are mostly detailed on the back of the UK paperback but it gives you an idea of the scope of this novel. This is Ezekiel Boone channeling Roland Emmerich to create a story that rockets along at a fantastic pace throwing everything at the reader, and producing a thrilling novel that is such fun to read.
Each chapter tells the story of the spider invasion from different viewpoints, be it the army or civilians, the spider specialist and the FBI agent, to the US president and how she tries to deal with the world being ravaged by flesh-eating spiders. It’s credit to Boones writing that there is a pretty large cast of characters, that are not just spider fodder, they’ve been fleshed out pretty well, so that you actually care about what happens to them. The chapters are mostly punchy with lots going on, the story moves forward at a frantic pace, although for me there were two chapters that were too long, and caused the story to drag slightly (the survivalists setting up their camp and the President talking to Manny about initial plans), but that’s a small criticism as soon you are back with grandiose set-pieces and spider mayhem aplenty.
Sadly the novel did finish with a bit of a whimper, which based on all that has gone before is a shame. My disappointment at how The Hatching ended was somewhat tempered by the fact that I knew there was a sequel entitled Skitter, due May 2017. Were these books originally one large volume and split ala Peter Jacksons adaption of The Hobbit? Saying that, The Hatching is a well written, fun novel that manages to stay fresh within a sub genre that has many entries. It’s only now I have finished the book that I can see it’s the foundations for what could well be the definitive spider invasion story, I absolutely loved reading The Hatching my expectations are through the roof for Skitter.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4****
I’d like to thank the author Ezekiel Boone for writing such an engrossing novel.
Thanks and gratitude also go to Stevie Finegan and Gollancz for sending me The Hatching to review.