I read The Hatching in 2016 and, despite not being a fan of spiders, I absolutely loved it (you can see my review here). Of course, I bought the sequel, Skitter, as soon as it was released in 2017, and, with the third instalment due for publication in March, I felt that it was time to read it.
Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up.
Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack is discovered, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a weapon to defeat the spiders. But even if they succeed it may be too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol.
Every country must fight for itself. And the spiders are on the move…
Skitter picks up where The Hatching ended with the first wave of spiders that have run rampant across the planet coming to an unexpected halt. But, whilst the immediate crisis may seem to be over, large swathes of the population have been wiped out, and there are thousands of egg sacs that are just waiting to hatch. I think that it can be difficult to keep a series like this fresh – surely once you’ve seen one flesh-eating spider, you’ve seen them all, right? But it’s not so with Skitter, and I liked that Boone was able to give the reader something new, yet no less horrifying. And, Skitter ends on another cliff-hanger, and I’m sure there’s more to come when Zero Day is published next month.
Like The Hatching, Skitter is told from multiple perspectives – some familiar, other less so. I think that there were more points of view in this novel (I haven’t actually counted, but it felt like there were more) with many of them only providing input into a single chapter. As disjointed as this might seem, it works extremely well, and the reader gets an insight into what is happening from the President of the United States to the guy on the street and everyone in between.
There were reports of riots across the country, the very clear beginnings of societal breakdowns.
The devastation caused by the first wave is very much in evidence, with those who are left having to fend for (and defend) themselves. Los Angeles is a quarantine zone, having been amongst the worst affected of the US cities, and is heavily guarded by the military. I thought that the breakdown of society was quite realistic – there are still some services in operation, and yet I could feel everything starting to come apart at the seams.
Skitter answers some of the questions raised in The Hatching, but also raises some of its own, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in this wildly entertaining yet horrifying series. Roll on Zero Day!!!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐