In Breeder by K. B. Hoyle, B-17, or Pria, is genetically engineered perfection. Designated to be artificially inseminated and carry genetically engineered babies, Pria has spent the last five years behind the walls of Sanctuary with other female Breeders and their female protectors. She has the perfect life, blessed above all others–or so she is supposed to think. When Pria remembers meeting a man, she starts asking too many questions and is forced to escape when the only people she knows turn on her. Pax, the mysterious man, reappears and helps her make it outside the control of the Unified World Order to a rebel nest of genetic “inferiors,” where everything Pria has been taught is challenged.
Hoyle makes an interesting (and perhaps unrealistic) choice when she decides to have Pria and Pax be ignorant of sex and regular human relationships, but it makes their relationship move very slowly. But hey, that’s okay–more for me to read in Criminal, the second of Hoyle’s trilogy set to come out in 2015. Still, it seems a choice that would reflect the YA genre as more than NA.
I really enjoyed this book–I didn’t want it to end. The prose is very readable and reflects what’s going on in the story–slow and sluggish in the beginning, as Pria herself is heavily medicated, but by the end she’s wide awake. The only thing that kind of bothered me was how long it took for Pria to stop accusing Pax of lying to her. It goes on a little long, and Hoyle keeps hammering the point home that she’s a genius, so you think she would have suspended some disbelief for a second and gone with it, at least until she wasn’t stuck with him anymore. To be fair, this is Pria’s story, not Pax’s, and I am glad that Hoyle does not negotiate that point.
By the end of the novel, Pria’s strength, courage and desire for freedom won me over and she’s fully transformed into a strong and sympathetic character. I love the idea of Pria’s position as a breeder made to repopulate the earth, and the fact that she’s already given birth, lending her an air of maturity. Fans of dystopia, especially The Giver, won’t want to miss out on this one–I’m looking forward to more work from Hoyle.