10 April 2013

Review: Breeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough

Breeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough

Published: 29 August 2006 by Leisure Books

Pages: 339 (paperback)

Genre/s: Horror

Source: Own library


Life was good for Matt and Chloe. They were in love and looking forward to their new baby. But what Chloe gave birth to isn't a baby. It isn't even human. It s an entirely new species that uses humans only for food and as hosts for their young.

As Matt soon learns, though, he is not alone in his terror. Women all over town have begun to give birth to these hideous creatures, spidery nightmares that live to kill and feed. As the infestation spreads and the countryside is reduced to a series of web-shrouded ghost towns, will the survivors find a way to fight back? Or is it only a matter of time before all of mankind is reduced to a Breeding Ground.

My Thoughts

Breeding Ground has been on my TBR since October 2011 and was on my wishlist for several months before that.  And yes, this is a horror book about spiders - arachnophobes beware.

The story begins with a young couple, Matt and Chloe who discover that, although unplanned, Chloe is expecting their first child.  Their lives are typical of a couple in their early thirties, and although unexpected, both are excited about the prospect of their new arrival.  It's only as Chloe's pregnancy progresses that things start to take a turn for the unusual, as she puts on weight rapidly and becomes moody and unpredictable.

The realisation that things are not normal comes slowly to Matt, and that's the first part of the plot I had an issue with.  I get that he was caught up in his job and Chloe's difficulties, but he doesn't notice that something unusual is happening in his town and indeed around the country until the shit hits the fan late one night and it seemed unrealistic that he hadn't seen anything unusual on the news or even within his town.

In some parts of the story I liked Matt, at others I would have greatly enjoyed slapping him - he moves from woman to woman without much show of emotion (OK, he's a man but do we really need to be so stereotypical?) and he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer - he misses vital clues when another woman falls pregnant that are exactly the same as Chloe experienced only a short time before.

There's a cast of other survivors, some interesting, some completely annoying and a whole bunch that kind of melt together into one person rather than having individual personalities and I kept getting confused as to who exactly each of these characters were and I couldn't tell you their back stories by the time I reached the end of the book.  It's fine to have unlikable characters, and it's even something I enjoy, but none of them were particularly memorable.

When it comes to the horror level, this is gory and scary - what the spiders do to the humans they capture is truly gruesome and nothing is held back in the descriptions.  Killer spiders were never going to be anything else, and these spiders are particularly horrendous.   

There isn't a full explanation of how the spiders came to mutate and invade, and exactly what their intention is other than nom-nom humans, but there is another book so I assume at least some of those questions are answered.  The premise of Breeding Ground is chilling, but the execution lacks characterisation and enough background for me to have really enjoyed it.


  1. I haven't heard of this book before but the title made me curious. It's sad to hear that it isn't as good as you expected.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

    1. It's not terrible, and the idea is super-creepy, just some of the characters made me cranky!

  2. This sounds awesome even though it does sounds like it has some flaws. Will have to keep my eye out for a copy if I find it on sale.

    1. It's a pretty damn terrifying idea, giant killer spiders!

  3. I don't mind gruesome and I'm not even afraid of spiders lol but is Matt cheating on Chloe??? Or maybe she died....hmmm I don't like Matt hehe

    1. I was trying to avoid spoilers! But he's so stereotypically male!

  4. Yikes! I don't think that I could get over the spiders. {shivers} Always love your reviews even when they are for books I'd never pick up ;-)

    1. I'm usually OK with spiders, but these ones were horrific!

  5. I was looking at the sequel to this one just the other week! I'm not a spider fan but I think I might have to give this one a go for a giggle.



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