Monday, 24 June 2013

Review: The Breeders by Katie French


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.

Best opening chapters ever! If I could say only one thing about this book it's that statement. Imagine what the rest of the story is like! I was hooked from the first sentence and as with all great books it's difficult to define why. Was it the incredibly high stakes? The strong and immediate point of view or the high impact writing? Possibly a combination of all three. After the quick start the pacing does slow down a little but I appreciated the chance to breathe and get my bearings on the setting as well as see Riley interact with her family who are the driving force behind all her actions.
       The Breeders draws you into a dystopian world where women are scarce and in high demand for their ability to have children. This was one of those premises where you have to suspend belief more than usual and skeptic that I am I just found myself going with it instead of questioning everything like I usually do. I'm still not convinced that all men are evil and would turn their wives/daughters/sisters in for a big bag o'cash but in this instance it didn't stop me from enjoying the storytelling. 
       Riley is a strong YA heroine. She's requisitly beautiful but in her world beauty is dangerous. She gets around pretending she's a bender and has to tape up her breasts every day. She's feisty but not rough and I liked that she could be tough without having to be a physically violent heroine. The thing that displays Riley's character the most is her relationship with her younger brother Ethan. Sometimes she's the rigid older sister wanting him to stand on his own two feet. Sometimes she's a stand in mum. Other times she's possessive of Ethan and gets jealous when he shows interest in other people. All traits which show the dynamic of their insular upbringing and adds a bit of realism to the story. As for Riley's relationship with Clay, I'm not completely sold. He's nice enough and says and does all the right things, I just think their chemistry should have had a lot more tension considering he didn't know she was a girl. There is one scene in particular when they have a moment which is huge and should have been a speed bump in the relationship for sure but Clay is just too accepting and accommodating. I guess I just prefer my YA boys with a bit more bite. 
       On the whole The Breeders was an engaging read. Consider it if you enjoy western themed dystopian with lots of action. I couldn't put it down and can't wait for the next installment.




  1. Not my usual kind of book, but the fact that you gave it 5 stars makes me think I need to check it out! Sad, though, that the romance wasn't as well-done as you'd like--I hate that!

  2. Hm. I've never heard of this book before. Sounds like an interesting read. I'll have to see if my library carries it. Great review :)

  3. I should get back into this book, since I put it down once we got to Clay in the story. It had a fabulous opening, but started to go downhill for me a bit after that.

  4. I'm not a fan of dystopian, but this sounds interesting.

  5. Wow. 5 star reviews from you always make me sit up and pay attention! This sounds really good! I am totally burned out on YA these days, but I will definitely put this one on my TBR list.


  7. so ignore all the caps, seems I forgot to take them off earlier.

  8. Wow, nice review! This sounds like a very intriguing read. It's a frightening concept, but I think that's the point. Great name, The Breeders. I already fear for Riley and hope she comes out of it okay. Glad you liked the book!!
    Ninja Girl


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