Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5
Length: 352 pages
I really liked this book. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. And I’m half tempted to just leave my review there, yet…
Man-eating spiders taking over the world? It’s certainly an interesting concept – one which will resonate with the majority of its readers as I’m sure most of us experience/have experienced arachnophobia from time to time.
The style and format of the book reminded me a lot of Day-Z, which is quite fitting. Chapters are told from different perspectives/walks of life – rich, poor, black, white – which creates an almost overwhelming sense of claustrophobia… literally no one is safe from this epidemic. Of course, this meant that character development was kind of lacking in some areas, but the subject of this novel is so outlandish and gripping that I didn’t feel the story suffered as a result.
Let’s be serious here, taking bio-weapons out of the equation, I think a mass infestation of flesh eating arachnids would probably take second spot in the “Worst Things That Could Happen to Humanity” list – no? Just think about it… it would be so. Damn. Hard. To escape from. We’d have to meticulously seal every window and door, every tiny little crack in walls and floors. And unlike with bio-weapons, hazmat suits wouldn’t be much use either. If they can eat through flesh, I’m pretty sure they’d make short work of any kind of rubber/plastic clothing.
So how would you fight these things? Guns would be useless against so many tiny monsters. Blades are out of the question. Bombs? We’d have to destroy the world. It really did make me think: forget zombies, THESE little blighters should be our main (irrational) fear!
It was also quite refreshing to read a novel where the writer begins pretty much at the beginning of a story, too… This sounds a bit weird and contradictory, but hear me out. Often, readers can open a book like this and expect to be thrown in to the midst of chaos and the story kind of unfolds retrospectively, which definitely works – our attention has been grabbed almost immediately, and that NEED to know how/why/what has happened to lead up to this moment urges us to read on.
But to put simply, you have to persevere with this book. It develops slowly, but for me that only added to the agony of realising just how incredibly HUGE an event such as this would be. The only thing that I really had a problem with was the ending. I felt like it was a bit of an anti-climax, before I realised there is in fact a sequel (which I’m desperately trying to get my hands on). I’m hoping that this will uncover even more devastation (how sick am I?!) and I’ll be interested to see how it attempts to reveal a potential remedy for this cataclysmic infestation – ’cause I’m all out of ideas!