There are thirty-five thousand species of spiders, and they’ve been on earth for at least three hundred million years. From the very origin of humanity, spiders have been out there, scuttling along the edges of firelight, spinning webs in the woods, and scaring the hell out of us, even though, with a few rare exceptions, they are no real threat. But these were something different.
The Hatching is the first book in a trilogy about an ancient arachnid species which “awakens” and begins to sweep over the world. Less a horror novel, I found the book more of an alien invasion story, and unless you’re naturally terrified of spiders, there weren’t many scares that remained with me.
The book is told through a multitude of perspectives, which can greatly enhance a tale of such global proportions. We get a lot of backstory about each character and eventually they begin to intersect, but we’re far from any emotional entanglements or dilemmas. This is, at its core, a creature feature, and in such tales characterizations are subservient to the monster they’re fighting (or running from).
One of my main issues with the book is the fact that we know up front we’re dealing with deadly spiders, we see a character eaten alive within seconds, and then we spend the next half of the novel with characters who are “figuring out” what the epidemic really is. Then, by the time things get going, the “invasion” slows down on its own, without the help or aide of a single one of the characters we’ve been following.
The novel itself is well written and researched, and Boone (or Alexi Zentner) is no novice when it comes to throwing words on a page.
The Hatching is picking up some great reviews, so while it may have missed the mark for me, I’d still suggest checking it out. It was a fun popcorn flick type of a book. I would have loved to have seen a little more heart and a lot more scares, but it accomplishes what it’s set out to do.
Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for a review copy of this book.