By Ekta R. Garg
July 27, 2016
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Rated: Bypass it / 2 stars
When a mysterious breed of spiders begins to hatch and devour people, a professor finds her expertise in arachnids tested to the extreme. She will need to use the resources of her graduate students and the highest levels of government to figure out a solution before the spiders destroy all of humanity. Author Ezekiel Boone takes readers through a novel that crawls along at a centipede’s pace in the dull buildup book The Hatching.
Several strange incidents begin occurring across the world. An American billionaire goes hiking in Peru and witnesses a black mass consuming his guide and companions. A scientist in India records a major spike in seismic activity. A nuclear bomb goes off in China, and the Chinese government keeps saying the bomb was an accident. In the middle of the bizarre events, federal agent Mike Rich gets a phone call to investigate a plane crash in Minnesota. What starts as a routine investigation quickly becomes an inquiry into something truly abnormal.
Meanwhile, an American University professor who specializes in spiders receives a delivery of an egg sac in Washington, D.C. At first Professor Melanie Guyer thinks the sac is fossilized, that the spiders that it once held have long since perished. Soon enough she realizes that the sac is simply dormant. When it begins to hatch, Melanie’s fascination transforms to horror. These spiders are like nothing she’s ever seen.
Across town in the White House as the president deals with the political implications of China’s nuclear bomb, the Oval Office receives word of spiders. Spiders unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. These spiders have one objective: to kill and feed off humans. The president engages Melanie and her team of grad students to help procure answers. The spiders don’t seem to be slowing down, and everyone knows if they don’t find an answer soon there may be no one left to deal with the aftermath.
Author Ezekiel Boone takes his time building the story and introducing his characters. In fact, the majority of the book could be considered a buildup to what is obviously a series. As a result new characters enter the story as late as halfway through the novel, and readers don’t get the opportunity to bond with any one person long enough to truly care about the result.
While Boone does his best to present a variety of challenges with each new character or set of characters, at some point those challenges start to feel redundant. It’s clear the appearance of the spiders is wreaking havoc across the world. Readers will probably find themselves asking, “Now what?” much sooner than what Boone most likely intended.
The shock value of the spiders’ bloodthirsty tenacity wears off long before the book ends. Readers are left, then, with a book that promises a wild ride but barely starts down the track before it’s over. Clearly a sequel is supposed to bring even greater and creepier situations. Unfortunately the dragging pace here may discourage readers from waiting around for that sequel.
Also, the subplots set in countries other than the United States don’t feel grounded in their respective cultures. Other than a few token cultural markers, Boone’s characters and their situations could have been set anywhere. While Boone’s intention to make the story a global one should be applauded, those sections of the book should have been better researched and presented.
A proliferation of profanity and women characters who approach situations more like men may also turn readers off. In the end, though, the biggest drawback of the book really is its pacing. For these reasons, I recommend readers Bypass The Hatching.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)