This is a non-spoiler review. I will also be adding this to my 2015 Reading Challenge.
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.
I had so many mixed feelings about this book. There were elements that I thought were really good and others not so much.
The story follows our ‘heroine’ Riley, who lives in world where women and girls are kept in captivity and used in experiments; their main purpose is solely to have children. After a family tragedy Riley goes on the run with Clay, who doesn’t know she is a girl. To cut a long story short, chaos ensues and Riley in thrown head first into some rather tricky situations.
This book was definitely fast-paced, from the very start I was hooked and the writing kept the story moving pretty quickly for me. You dive straight into the action, the author didn’t hang about. One of the more significant characters dies early on in the novel; something which I always feel is a very brave decision for an author to make.
I was in a huge reading slump before reading this book, yet now I feel like I am over that hurdle. This book has to take some of the credit for that. Although I felt it had some major flaws, I read it in few days – it gripped me enough and was a relatively easy read.
Now, onto the problems I had with this book. Firstly, the grammar is horrendous. It is such a shame but every page has some sort of typo or grammatical error. It really frustrated me, I was re-reading sentences in order to decipher what was actually being said. I’m not sure if this was just a problem in the eBook version.
The main character – Riley – was irritating. She seemed so keen to be respected and valued more, yet made really stupid decisions ALL of the time. I kind of wanted her to step up to the plate and learn some valuable skills for on the run – like shooting or knife-throwing. Everything seemed pretty easy for her – there was always someone or something around to save her.
I purchased this book after reading the novella – ‘Nessa: A Breeders Story’. Unfortunately, this was nowhere near as good as the novella I read, but I was still gripped enough to finish it. It has been on my TBR pile forever so I’m really glad I can now cross it off.
If you like YA Dystopian then you may like this book – although it wasn’t the best I’ve read it was still fast-paced enough for me to finish.