Greg's Reviews > Breed

Breed by Chase Novak
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's review
Jun 19, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, horror
Read from June 18 to 19, 2012

If you want a fairly entertaining book to read in it's entirety on a three and a half hour train ride this would be a fairly good choice.

Stephen King, in superlative tourette's he seems cursed with when blurbing a book, calls this the best horror novel since Peter Straub's Ghost Story. I haven't read Ghost Story so I can't say it's the best horror novel written in the past thirty two years (I doubt it though, just a feeling) but I don't think this is the best horror novel written in the past thirty years.

Does anyone take Stephen King blurbs seriously anymore?

The book is about a couple of can't have kids. She's a mid-west transplant working in publishing. He's the sion of some old money family. They have lots of money and a great life but no kids. She's willing to adopt, he wants to pass on his fine pedigree genes to continue the blue-blood line.

After trying everything, they find a doctor in Slovenia who guarantees to make them fertile, give them some injections and the couple go back to their hotel room and fuck like bunnies and nine months later, twins!

Something in the injection the parents get makes them sort of feral though and the kids start to realize that things are a little weird and scary around their house. So they do what any pair of ten year olds would do when they are starting to suspect that mom and dad might want to make a meal of them, they run away.

Chase Novak is the horror writing pen-name of Scott Spencer. He's one of those writers that I've never read but who seems to get at least nominated for a big award for each novel he writes. At times it feels like he is having a lot of fun writing this. He gets to say things that probably wouldn't fly in a literary novel, and I can't put my finger on why, but it feels like the author was having fun.

The novel is fun to read, but it's not especially scary. There aren't scenes of real tension in the story, and the grislier scenes are fairly toned down. Some nasty shit happens in the story, but the reader sort of needs to fill in some of the gaps if they want to gross themselves out with imagery. I'm sure it's scary as hell to be ten years old and believe that your parents want to eat you, but that fear was never viscerally felt.

Parts of the story are a little confusing, not narratively, the story itself is very straightforward, but why they are included. There are a couple of characters that are introduced and feel like they should have more of an important place in the story but instead they kind of drift to the background to resurface at times but without really being necessary. The character of Bernard is the one I'm really thinking of. The idea behind him seems really cool but he's not really used for too much in the story. This isn't a big deal, but in a horror / thriller type of novel the story should be streamlined for maximum impact.

I'm sure people will like this book. It's a good fast paced novel. Perfect for a train ride, and I'm sure some people will find it full of win and provide some witty pictures captioned with some quote or other, or maybe they won't. But while I had fun reading this I can't think of it as much more than a pleasant and kind of grotesque diversion.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by karen (new)

karen anything about twins is scary. fact.

message 2: by Ali (new)

Ali Does anyone take Stephen King blurbs seriously anymore?

No. And if anyone does, I don't think they've seen how many of them he's put out, and the amount of helpful information every single one has. That being none. They're just a bunch of vague words strung together which might get the average reader to think he's actually read it and stamped his seal of approval on it, but not me. An especially funny case is that of the late Richard Laymon. His publishers have been using the exact same blurb from Stephen King on every book I've seen by him for the past fifteen years, if not more. If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat. I think King even stated that he's changed his mind about the quality of Laymon's oeuvre, but the blurb still got used.

Greg But the twins aren't scary in this one!

message 4: by karen (new)

karen bet i will be scared of them.

Greg are you going to read this?

Greg Ali, that is sort of a pet-peeve of mine with blurbs. I can't stand when they take a blurb for one book and then let it ride on all the following books. I can see why someone writing anything like a horror novel would want to get Stephen King's name on the cover, but I think it more tells a reader that this is a horror novel rather than telling them anything about the quality of the book.

Greg It's a little known fact that all of the other horror novels written since 1979 are all two star books or worse. It's been a bad time for horror writing.

message 8: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes It has been many, many years since I read Ghost Story, but when I read it, I did consider it top notch.

message 9: by Tired CNA (new) - added it

Tired CNA I love horror and Ghost Story was one of my favorite in that genre for sure! very true what you said about Kings blurbs though!

message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa Riley You summarized my thoughts about this novel perfectly.

message 11: by Tony (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tony I have to admit I've totally gone off Stephen King's later books. They just seem so turgid - endless character descriptions and backstory, but not much in the way of actual story. And yes, he hands out blurbs like Smarties. Breed was a fast read. Definitely not a "Ghost Story" but an entertaining ride.

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