I read a book in December 2014 called Breeder by K.B. Hoyle and I loved it. The story of a dystopian world in which the perfect specimens of young women are selected to be breeders, producing the perfect offspring for the United World Order. The story centered on Pria, who had been a Breeder until she was rescued by a mysterious man named Pax. The pair of them found their way to a resistance nest where they set out to try and help upend what had become of the world.
I remember being very eager to read the sequel so when I was offered the chance to read the sequel, I jumped at it. And then I got very nervous. After all, it’s been just four months short of two years since I read the first book and my TBR list was far too long to let me go back and re-read. I promised myself that I would if I started Criminal and felt lost.
But I was not lost.
It’s a testament to K.B. Hoyle’s writing that I remembered the characters, the plot, and the nuances of the story well enough to be pretty much unable to put Criminal down until I was done… done and already dreading the wait for the final part of the trilogy!
Criminal picks up exactly where the first book left off. And I am going to try and review this in a way that convinces someone to read both books without spoiling either so I apologize now for the probably over-excited, possibly confusing words that are about to follow. Read them, if you please, knowing that I loved both books, I have babbled to family and friends about how good they are, and I really think you should read them if they sound even a little bit like your sort of book.
The plot to this series reminds me of the Nazi Lebensborn programs and the quest for the perfect Aryan race. It reminds me of the science of today that is ever closer to allowing us to pick the eye color and hair color and height of our children – we can already pick genders. It reminds me of science fiction stories about science gone wrong and what the power of science in the wrong hands can do.
It reminds me of everything that really kind of terrifies me.
On the other hand, it tells the story of how a few people are willing to risk everything to stop the wrongs that they say. It’s a story of bravery and determination in a bleak world. That is a story that is timeless.
K.B. Hoyle mixes all of these things together so well. The UWO is the ever-lurking antagonist, a dark shadow on the bleak world. The details on the UWO aren’t always specific – save for the breeders, drugging water to make a compliant population, and science experiments that threaten everyone – but that works for the story. It works because it is how things are.
Ordinary people don’t know everything their ruling government does. Conspiracy theories will always run first in the minds of some while compliance runs first in the minds of others. There is no doubt in Criminal that the resistance nest gets some things wrong. There is no doubt that they get some things right. And in the cities controlled by the UWO do contain tiny pockets of resistance while the majority go on with what they are “supposed” to do, often giving the idea that they might do it even if they weren’t drugged.
It is reality in a futuristic, dystopian world because it could be reality now.
Pria and Pax, and the community and leaders of the nest, are all relatable characters in that they aren’t perfect and they are able to see around the flaws that the others carry. They are well-developed in that their motivations aren’t always clear until the final action when it’s easy to see why they did what they did, even if you want to throttle them for being so stupid sometimes. They are also brave and selfless, as most people want to believe they would be in situations like those in this story.
I didn’t know it was going to be a trilogy when I started reading Criminal but as I got further into it and saw that the plotlines that kept me reading got more involved and more intense, I knew it wasn’t going to wrap up in the second book. I panicked about that a little! And then I quite literally smacked my head on my desk when I saw the excerpt and promo for the third (and final!) book in the series. I cannot wait to read it!
On Sale Date — August 25, 2016 at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
I was thrilled to get the chance to read Criminal, the second book in K.B. Hoyle’s Breeder series and I want to thank TWCS, Cindy Bidwell, and K.B. Hoyle for letting me read an ARC and share my thoughts in this review.