Breed by Chase Novak
Read by Peter Ganim
Length: 12 Hrs 3 Min
Quick Thoughts: Breed is a chilling, atmospheric horror tale which builds a mood of dread and keeps it going to the thrilling ending. Novak has created some characters that will stick with readers for a long time. It’s a unique spin on the classic horror theme of the perils of getting what you most desire.
As a long time horror fan, one of my favorite themes in horror novels is the perils of getting what you want. So much of the horror genre is about taking the bases human desires and twisting them into something horrible. Humanity has longed for immortality, super powera and charms with the opposite sex. So, what does horror novels do, they give us Vampires, seductive immortals who are in fact, monsters. This is the twist that always brings be back to the genre. How far are you willing to go to get exactly what you want, and will you be able to live with the consequences of your choices? Monsters, ghouls and alien brain eaters are nice and all, but when it comes to true horror, what we do to ourselves is always more ghastly. With the new breakthroughs of science, including genetics, robotics, nanotechnology and particle physics, new doors are being opened each day which will be able to be exploited by the darkest corners of our heart. Breed by Chase Novak deals with one of the humanities strongest urges, the need to procreate. One of the biggest and most heartbreaking struggles for a couple is the inability to conceive. We have already seen the lengths people will go to and some of the results yet, this is a noble calling. That is what makes the idea of Breed so horrifying. That good people can make extreme choices for noble reasons and it can all turn out horrifically wrong.
After multiple procedures, drugs and techniques, Leslie Tisdale is ready to give up the fight to conceive a child and instead look into adoption. Yet when her husband Alex discovers a lead to a reclusive yet successful fertility doctor he convinces her to try one last attempt at bringing their own child into the world. Filled with unease, Leslie gives in, and together they fly to Europe to meet with this doctor, and reluctantly accept the treatment. The treatment is successful, Leslie is pregnant, but both begin to feel changes in their very nature and desires. Now, 10 years later, the Tisdale’s have two beautiful children, twins Alice and Adam, yet at night the twins are kept locked in their rooms for their protection. Yet, exactly what do they need to be protected from? Breed has a classic old school horror feel reminiscent of classics such as Rosemary’s Baby. Yet, Novak manages to bring this old school mood into the new millennium through his use of science. This is what gives Breed a bit of an end over the paranormal horror tales of the 70’s and 80’s, a feeling of plausibility. Not to say that the plot itself isn’t over the top, it is, delightfully so, but Novak builds his scenario on science, and believable science at that. Novak’s prose is sharp and crisp and delivers the story in a way that reminded me of those days sitting around the campfire listening to a good storyteller try to frighten us all. I was quite impressed with his depiction of the Tisdale children. Adam and Alice were 10 year olds, and acted like it. Sure, there was a level of maturity that extreme situations foster in children, but they reacted like children, and reasoned like children. Despite the extreme behavior of their parents, there was still an inherent desire to trust them. Along with the children, Novak takes lots of care to truly develop his peripheral characters. I actually thought some of his peripheral characters, particularly the well intentioned but out of his depths teacher Adam turns to for help, were more fully fleshed out than the main characters of the story. Novak brings all this together with a solid open ended finale that does not give the reader an easy out. All together, Breed is a chilling, atmospheric horror tale which builds a mood of dread and keeps it going to the thrilling ending. Novak has created some characters that will stick with readers for a long time. It’s a unique spin on the classic horror theme of the perils of getting what you most desire.
If you asked me a few years ago who my least favorite narrator would be, I would have picked Peter Ganim. I know, that’s a bit harsh, but Gamin has a specific style that I never really could embrace. In the past, his style come off to me as feeling monotonous, and sucking the life out of the prose. I used to avoid anything read by him, until last year when I decided to give an audiobook called Black light a listen, which I ended up enjoying. Then we come to Breed. I was actually quite impressed with his reading of Breed. Ganim seems to have discovered the effectiveness of modulation in his tone, yet still maintains a unique style. Ganim voice give Breed an almost 70’s horror feel, which works wonderfully with this tale. He has the sort of ominous narrator tone down pat, and helps create the atmospheric mood that permeates the novel. I have never had a problem with his characters and dialogue, and he does an exceptional job with a cast full of crazy doctors, twisted children and morphing adults. So, despite my misgivings in the past, Ganim really delivers in Breed.
Note: Thanks to Hachette Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.