This is a review that I wrote and posted on Amazon on Saturday, and I’m reposting it here with the author’s permission. You can get the ebook here.
Somewhat Flawed But Entertaining Story
First, I have to admit this really isn’t my genre. This is basically a “world-has-gone-to-Hell” story. I’m not very familiar with the so-called “post-Apocalyptic” genre, and my limited familiarity comes mostly from movies, so I’ll make comparisons to those.
In a time when the world has descended into lawlessness, due to a dwindling female population, a teenaged girl named Riley has her life turned upside-down and races to save her mother from the Breeders, those that imprison females, use them for reproductive purposes, and then send them off to be sex slaves.
Set in a dystopian New Mexico, this could be considered somewhat like Mad Max / Road Warrior – or, to make a more modern comparison, Resident Evil: Extinction (without the zombies). Another comparison would be the Vampire Hunter D anime films. Maybe even another Milla Jovovich film, Ultraviolet.
In some ways, it works. Katie French creates a vivid portrayal of a world gone down the tubes, where the “law” is corrupt, and resources are in short supply. A comparison can be made to the Hunger Games novels with the focus on scarcity of food (it’s also written in the present tense and first-person perspective of a female protagonist), and Riley has a bit of Katniss Everdeen in her.
“The Breeders” really is a page-turner (so to speak) with interesting, well-developed characters (even if some of them come across as one-dimensionally evil, but there are such cases in real life as well).
However, it’s not perfect.
On the technical side, there are numerous typos. Words are misspelled. Additional words are inserted where they shouldn’t be. Words are left out. These errors yanked me out of the story, and sometimes I was left having to guess the author’s intent. This feels like a draft, and it really should have been given an additional proofreading.
On the storytelling side, there are some setting problems. It’s not clear exactly when this story is meant to occur. A reference is made to the Superman character, Doomsday, who was introduced in the early 1990s (Riley’s brother, Ethan, reads a battered comic book with him in it). A thinly-veiled reference is made to Mr. Clean (Riley notices bottles on the shelf at the general store). Riley’s stepfather, Arn, drives a working Jeep. I would have to conclude this story occurs not too long after the present day – perhaps a generation removed at most.
If that’s the case, then I really have to call this story out on something else that it shares in common with Resident Evil: Extinction – people eating cans of long-expired food. Sorry, but no. I saw pictures once where some guy, out of morbid curiosity, bought a can of food from the 1980s from some locally-owned, don’t-care grocery store (kind of like the general store in this story). The food had melded with the metal interior of the can, making the contents completely inedible.
While I’m discussing the time period, if this is supposed to be the future, then older people (such as Arn and Auntie) shouldn’t be talking like any old people that you’d find in any flea market in the south today. They should be talking like Gen-Xers or later generations. Picture aged versions of the thirty-something southerners that you see at Wally World today (some with piercings and tattoos), and you should get the idea. Arn and Auntie come across as being born in a much earlier time than now.
Another shortcoming is the lack of explanation regarding why/when the world became as it is. If it wasn’t for the (spoiler-filled) book description, I’d be more confused. I think an early exposition of the backstory would have helped.
These things aside, I do think this story is generally well-written and a good effort. Would I read the next story? I’m not sure, but I don’t regret reading this one.