My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sequels are tough. And where do you go from ‘look out everybody – it’s the end of the world’? Apparently to telling stories along the way and setting us up for Book Three, that’s where.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love the concept of this book, and if there is a third in the series (or why else did we read so much about the Prophet Bobby Higgs) I’ll probably read it. But I thought Skitter dragged. I have the suspicion we were supposed to be so excited by the couple of really good plot points in here (no spoilers) that we were supposed to turn pages hell-for-leather on trust. After all, it is the sequel to The Hatching, one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The prologue was awesome: Boone introduces us to a character, warms us up with a few key likeable points, then kills the character off in a complete, well-thought-out Boone-typical scene. But when three people sit in a castle and draw circles on a map around hotspots, only to suddenly go ‘oh look! How’d we miss it?! It’s Peru!’ – that’s a hole-filled convenience that may help meet a writer’s deadline but just doesn’t fulfil a reader’s need.
It was good to see some of the repetition that I loved so much in The Hatching:
The Interstate 80 High Times Truck Stop and Family Fun Zone Restaurant and Gas Station Taco Bell Pizza Hut Starbucks KFC Burrito Barn 42 Flavors Ice Cream Extravaganza Coast-to-Coast Emporium, Nebraska
This chapter title was repeated four times in the next five pages, with a fifth being split out into a story about how each one was added (or how the owner samples each one every day).
Skitter is worth the read, but it’s given me a spider-load of expectation for the third one that I really hope Boone can exceed.