[REVIEW] Brood – Chase Novak

Characters – 3/5
Plot – 3/5
Style – 3/5
Setting – 3/5
Overall – 3/5

In a Tweet
Teens born from an experimental fertility treatment are becoming cannibalistic & wild. Can Cynthia keep her twins safe or will they succumb?

Set in a modern New York City, BROOD tells the increasingly fraught tale of twins Adam and Alice Twisden. Sequel to BREED, I picked it up without having read the first book and it told a complete story with no assumption of knowledge of previous events.

Cynthia has finally won the custody battle for her niece and nephew, years after her sister met a gruesome end in the very house she now lives in. After their parents underwent gruelling and dangerous fertility treatment abroad, the twins have experienced true horror as they bore witness to the vicious and animalistic behaviour of their parents. Now Adam and Alice are growing up, they are desperately struggling to slow the effects of their own changing and suppress the same wild urges that plagued their parents.

The concept behind BROOD is something really different and intriguing; definitely an idea I haven’t encountered before. Even better was the choice to situate the events in a modern and realistic world, rather than a science fiction or alternate setting. This created some great underlaying social questions too; would people really resort to this dangerous fertility treatment in real life? The wild and frightening effects of the treatment and the children it created are swept under the rug and kept top secret in Novak’s world; I wonder how they would be handled in reality?

The first few chapters didn’t really grab me in any strong clear way, so it took me a little longer than I would have liked to get stuck into the story. However once I’d scoped out the characters, I did find myself really involved with the plot and constantly trying to guess how the story would pan out. It was difficult to predict the progression of the story one chapter to the next, making for a pretty exciting read in the long run.

My favourite part of Novak’s writing was the pidgin language he created for the feral children in Rodolfo’s gang. It really set them apart as a community and highlighted their differences from the adults without having to constantly refer to their physicality. The writing didn’t spark the terror I want from a horror novel, but the tension was built pretty well throughout the novel so I wasn’t too put out by this.

While I enjoyed the truly fresh story, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with the ending. I would have been happy for the story to end with the final chapter rather than continuing on in the epilogue. The epilogue just didn’t seem to fit the climax at all, so it felt out of character and at odds with what would have been the logical ending.

While I didn’t find any of the characters particularly endearing, I don’t believe you have to like each one to understand and appreciate their stories. Cynthia was especially frustrating, and I much preferred to follow the twins and Rodolfo in their more exciting threads. Cynthia’s voice is suffocating and over-stuffed with the adoration and fear of a new mother, but definitely illustrates her creeping realisation that she is out of her depth. Alice and Adam can be vicious and cruel and most of the side characters are varying degrees of evil too, which were more fun to read.

I thought, overall, that BROOD was an easy and enjoyable read. It wasn’t quite the bone-chilling horror story I wanted, but I will still be going back to read BREED to find out more about Alice and Adam’s troubled childhood.

I received BROOD from Mulholland Books in exchange for an honest review. My reviews always represent my own true opinion.


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