Kristin obtained a BA in English Literature and an MA in teaching. Currently teaches English Lit and ESL at an International High School.
After the world's petroleum stores are depleted, scientists develop a new clean and renewable fuel, but after several generations, they realize that the new fuel has poisoned the population. Fewer and fewer female children are born and many "Benders," or genderless humans, are born. Girls of fertile age become a commodity to be bought and sold to the "Breeders" who use the girls as incubators to produce more females.
Riley lives hidden in the middle of nowhere with her mom, aunt, little brother, and stepfather, Arn. They live a hard life where they are in constant fear of being discovered by men who will kill Arn to get to the women. Women are few and far between and can be sold to the breeders who will use them to birth female children. One woman is worth a lifetime of money in a country with limited resources, including food.
Riley and her brother escape being taken when men come to her home. They remain hidden in a secret underground cellar. The men kill her stepfather and take her mother and auntie.
Riley and her brother begin getting gifts from Clay who feels terrible for what happened to her family. Riley blames Clay, even though he could not have prevented the events from happening. Riley asks Clay to prove he is sorry by helping her get her mom and aunt back, which proves difficult when they discover that her mother has been given to the breeders. They must save Riley's mom and avoid Riley getting taken from the breeders too.
The Breeders seems to draw inspiration from The Handmaid's Tale, but there are some major differences. The Handmaid's Tale is about religious fanatics in a world where few people, men or women, are fertile enough to produce male or female children. There are many women, but not many are fertile. Fertile women are kidnapped and forced to become surrogate mothers for rich married couples.
In The Breeders, the population can still have children, but the children are born as either boys or genderless benders. Additionally, there are not very many women left in the world. The women are captured and kept in a hospital where they are forced to breed female children, which scientists can produce, until they are past their childbearing years. In both novels, the women's babies are taken from them and someone else raises them.
I found it a bit weird that some of the characters, like love interest Clay, spoke as if they were in an old western. Apparently, in America's not-too-distant future, everyone reverted back to speaking "country," and all of the "Pa's" felt awkward and slung revolvers.
Some reviewers thought that it was ridiculous that Riley fell for the first boy her age that she comes across; however, if you consider the fact that she is 16-years-old and has never had contact with boys her age before, it makes sense that she would be attracted to Clay. He is slightly older, the son of a feared sheriff, street smart, and isn't interested in becoming rich through human trafficking like all of the other men.
The book contained some noticeable grammatical and spelling errors, but it wasn't as riddled with mistakes as other Amazon independently published novels.
This book wraps up nicely at the end with everyone, for the most part, back together. There are two more books in this series. I am not sure if I will read them or not. The sleeve information for book two did make me wonder if the author was pulling any inspiration from the short story, "The One's Who Walk Away from Omelas," where a child is kept dirty, alone, and in the dark so that everyone else can be happy. I got this idea from the quote, "The problem is there’s something wrong with the water. Something wrong with the people. And there’s human moaning coming from the bottom of a dark crevasse that no one wants to talk about." from the book information.
Since the first book in the series is free on Kindle, it's worth the read. I was able to read it in two evenings.
If this book interests you, you may also want to read the classic novel The Handmaid's Tale or check out the trailer below for the TV series adaptation on Hulu. I found it to be both frightening and chilling.