CRIMINAL, the second book of award-winning author K.B. Hoyle's BREEDER Cycle, released last Thursday, to the great excitement and relief of her fans. I had forgotten how fun it was to wait for a book release--when I read BREEDER a few months ago, I couldn't believe I had to wait until August for the release of book 2, because all I wanted to do was continue to explore the dystopian future that Hoyle created. When I was offered the chance to review the book (and thus get an advanced copy!), I jumped on it!
CRIMINAL takes up where BREEDER leaves off. In BREEDER, we saw Pria and her rescuer Pax join a secret community somewhere near Denver where Pria continues her journey of figuring out who she really is and what the world around her is really like. After living her first 17 years in a breeding facility, she is now free. But the world outside the breeding compound is fraught with dangers she never knew existed. In CRIMINAL, we see the consequences of living in a community hounded by fears of discovery, simultaneously full of suspicion and friendship. We get to know Pria better, to watch her learn what a strange feeling love is, and to see the sacrifices that others make for her that leave her confused and restless.
CRIMINAL is action-packed and reads at a better pace than BREEDER, which I appreciated. But even with all the action, there are philosophical underpinnings that have colored me intrigued to see where Hoyle is going to take the third book, CLONE.
While the BREEDER Cycle fits nicely in the young adult dystopian genre along with The Hunger Games and Divergent, Hoyle asks questions all her own--what are the consequences of eugenics, both for the children created through questionable methods and also for the ones who bear them? What makes us who we really are? Does it matter where we come from?