Breeding Ground by Sarah Pingborough

This week we had to read Breeding Ground by Sarah Pingborough. The title alone caught my attention and the description hooked me into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It kept me turning the pages and forgetting about the time when I should have been getting to bed to sleep. This story pushes a person to think about what they would do in some of the situations the characters faced.
It follows the story of Matthew Edge who loses his wife Chloe and their unborn child to this new species of spiders that use humans as host for their young and food. Matt narrowly escapes by the sheer willpower of Chloe using the last ounce of her strength to break the connection to the hive mind long enough for her to tell Matthew to get out and don’t come back for her.
Matt runs and bumbles around along the way at first. Instead of being quiet he makes lots of noise breaking into places for the basics like food and clothing. Luckily for him, nothing comes out into the streets to attack him. His luck doesn’t change till he meets an old man named George. George becomes a surrogate father to the survivors, and they flee their homes in search of some places safer.
Sarah Pingborough plays with your emotions in this story. Every character has a secret they are running from. For Matt, he was running from what happened to Chloe and the man he found wrapped up in a cocoon begging for help. He never opens up about the man asking for help till he faces a spider or a widow as they call him and it repeats the word “help me.” That is just creepy right there. Others lost their loved ones, and some didn’t know what had happened to them.
The one character who hit a nerve for me most was Nigel Phelps. He was arrogant and pompous about everything. He sticks to the conventions of his normal routine from searching for expensive clothes to personal hygiene. Nigel never speaks about what happened to his family like everyone else. It isn’t until the very end that we discover he and his daughter were pinned for hours unable to move. Their bodies muscle were numb, and as the widow came from inside his wife instead of protecting his little girl, he throws her at the widow and crawls away while she screams for help. What makes this part the worse is he does the same thing to another little girl who knew his daughter all because the little girl’s big sister was infected somehow with a widow growing inside of her. His fear turned him into a monster more so than the widows at that moment. As a mother, I was enraged and sickened. There have been very few characters I had wanted to end myself, but Nigel was at the top of my list.
Sarah plays with emotions in this novel. She did an excellent job of pulling our heartstrings throughout the story. I know there were a few points in the story where my heart was racing and praying that everyone made it out alright. Other times I was ready to strangle the idiocy of some of the characters. Even though only one narrator was telling the story, Sarah wrote the story well enough that we could connect with the other characters involved in the story even the ones we didn’t.

Overall this a very well written, gripping book. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sarah Pingborough evokes all your emotions and leaves you sitting there wondering what you would do in a situation like this. I highly recommend this book.

2 thoughts on “Breeding Ground by Sarah Pingborough

  1. Hi Louise,

    Good essay; I like the points you make.

    I agree, the widow saying ‘help me’ is creepy as hell. The concept of a group mind is fascinating, and it’s a shame it’s not explored more. I thought the widow might have been using a form of telepathy to paralyze everyone in the car, but didn’t know because the author isn’t explicit about what’s happening.

    Nigel is indeed a total ass. I love the detail of him dressing in a three-piece suit, because it gives good insight into his character: he’s a self-proclaimed big-shot and smartest man in the room!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Louise,
    I threw it across the room. Seriously. And then ranted to my poor husband for at least 45 minutse–and then to my thirteen-year-old who wisely said, “sounds like a big long read that leads nowhere.” My sentiment exactly. I thought this was the perfect example what NOT to do to your readers. I didn’t think the author kept her promises in the book. The monsters lacked a logic, their vulnerabilities made no sense, and neither did their methods.

    The book was gripping and I think that is why I am was so pissed off at the end. Too many unanswered questions, and not at all in a good way. When the men became (what will we call it?) infected, there was no realistic explaination. My suspense of belief was shattered because there was no cause and effect. I was half expected Matt’s sexual prowless to be of importance, a cause perhaps in some surprising way–but No. No cause. Thsi was a very frustratign read for me.


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