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Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected.

As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading…
The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

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I wasn’t 100% sure whether it was a wise idea for me to read this or not since I’m an arachnophobic who frequently has night terrors involving spiders…but I did anyway and despite having two spider-themed nightmares following bedtime reading of The Hatching, I have to say that I don’t really know where to begin with this review because I enjoyed this book so much!

Hmmm…so I’ll begin with the awesome characterization within this novel since this is one of the first things, aside from the horror element, that really jumped out at me. There are so many characters who break the gender stereotypes so often found in literature. There’s Lance Corporal Kim Bock, a Marine who finds herself leading her team into the midst of an unimaginable horror when the spiders finally reach the US. We’re introduced to Professor Melanie Guyer in chapter three, a world-renowned scientist specializing in spiders, who I instantly fell in love with when she agreed that cicadas are actually really creepy (so extra brownie points for her on that! I’d never been so grateful to be a Brit until I encountered my first cicada in the land of the rising sun. Seriously, they’re like red-eyed miniature demons who sit in trees screaming until you walk beneath them, at which point they dive bomb you *shudder*).

And, of course, there’s the first female president, Stephanie Pilgrim, a foul-mouthed, dry-humored badass of a woman.

There are so many strong female protagonists within The Hatching and I found them to be a breath of fresh air in a genre so often populated with macho male leads.

The narrative shifts from chapter to chapter; there are named characters who we continually check in with throughout the course of the book, and then there are shorter chapters from the perspectives of unnamed, seemingly irrelevant characters. However, I think these characters are far from just filler material. The fact that they’re unnamed demonstrates the fact that they’re interchangeable, that they could be anyone. They could be you and me, they could be our co-workers or friends, mothers or fathers etc. For me, the universality of this book is what truly makes it terrifying. It’s human nature to think ourselves separate from the woes of others. We think “It’ll never happen to me.” but The Hatching demonstrates that we’re all just human and that we’re all susceptible to the same terrible fates prevalent within the horror genre.

I’m not much of a sciencey (it’s a word, okay?) person, but one of the many things I really enjoyed about this book is how believable it is. Obviously, the species of spiders at the helm of all the chaos don’t actually exist (we hope), but Professor Melanie Guyer’s dialogue has been written in such a way that when she spoke of facts, statistics and research, I found myself believing wholeheartedly in her words. A horror novel about hoards of killer spiders sounds kinda ridiculous as a premise, but Ezekiel Boone has executed the plot in such a fantastic way. The sheer effort that has been put into crafting a realistic world that is faced with a global attack like no other is astounding and allows a reader to be completely and utterly immersed in the blood-curdling, skin-crawling events of this book.

Is this book terrifying? Fuck yes. A lot of the terror lies in the universal nature of it that I mentioned before. Sure, books about monsters, ghosts and ghouls are scary, but c’mon, how often do we actually experience these things on a daily basis? A true horror is born when something ordinary, something commonplace – a spider, for example – is morphed in something quite other. When the world we thought we knew turns on us, where do we run?

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Michael Bublé’s I’ve got you under my skin 

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This book is available on Amazon in e-reader and paperback format.

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