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The Hatching


The Hatching

THE HATCHING will probably scare the stuffing out of you. It didn’t do the job for me, but it wouldn’t be fair to let that be the baseline scare standard in this case. The book, you see, is about spiders, which I hate. I know a lot about getting rid of them, so I was asking, fairly early on, “Why don’t they just (insert solution #1) or (insert solution #2)?” The problem with doing that, from author Ezekiel Boone’s standpoint, is that THE HATCHING would be over by about page 20, and, as is the wont of many science fiction and horror authors, this tale is going to be spread out over at least a couple of books. More on that in a moment.

That’s not to say that THE HATCHING didn’t make me itch and twitch just a bit with the creepy-crawlies when a never-seen-recently species of nature’s demonspawn makes some sudden and very dramatic appearances here, there and everywhere, focused on moving forward and quite hungry. Boone does a fantastic job of globetrotting at the speed of plot as the critters make themselves known, moving the narrative from China, Peru and Scotland to Washington, D.C., Minnesota and California, and back again, introducing several extremely interesting characters along the way (not all of whom make it to the last page, or even to the next chapter). 

"Boone does a fantastic job of globetrotting at the speed of plot as the critters make themselves known... amazingly well plotted and full of characters who are clearly defined..."

Among them are a lab researcher who is on the cutting edge of arachnoid research; her ex-husband, who is the chief advisor to the President of the United States; the President, who doesn’t do (insert solution #1) or (insert solution #2) but responds effectively to the crisis, nonetheless; and a whole host of folks who are witness to the invasion of hundreds of thousands of spiders by land, sea and air. Whatever caused the spiders to come out of dormancy --- we don’t learn what it is, but my guess is that it will be blamed in a future volume on so-called “anthropogenic climate change” --- also apparently transformed the world into some sort of neo-feminist dreamworld, though a subtle one, so there are some interesting romantic subplots over who is doing what to whoever’s ex-spouse.

Even when the spiders are invading, the heart wants what the heart wants. It provides a nice counterpoint to the invasion of millions of spiders, which, as anyone who has spent time in the Caribbean, the Tropics or New Orleans knows, have a remarkable, almost enviable capacity to quietly stow away in luggage or wherever, only to appear from behind the refrigerator as Mom is carrying a hot casserole through the kitchen.

If something like the events that take place here were to occur, and the President didn’t immediately do (insert solution #1) or (insert solution #2) in response, I believe that things would go down exactly as Boone describes. Again, while the book didn’t frighten me like I had thought or hoped it would, it is amazingly well plotted and full of characters who are clearly defined and, the crisis notwithstanding, never entirely give up their own lives. By the time you reach the end, you will be wanting more. And you’ll get it.

THE HATCHING has a sequel --- wonderfully and creepily titled SKITTER --- which, when published at some point in the future, surely will answer some questions posed at the end of the book and no doubt will raise others. To Mr. Boone and his publisher, at the beginning of SKITTER, please include a short glossary of characters previously introduced in THE HATCHING and a summary of what has gone before. As memorable as this first book is, many of your older readers will need it and appreciate it. Thank you.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 8, 2016

The Hatching
by Ezekiel Boone

  • Publication Date: February 14, 2017
  • Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501125052
  • ISBN-13: 9781501125058