See, I wanted to like this book. I did! Here’s what happened:
The author did their best to make the main characters unlikable.
The lead couple seemed shallow and haughty. They looked down their noses at everyone — and the wife didn’t even come from old money the way the husband had. Even when their kids entered the picture — and the parents wanted to eat them — I couldn’t connect with them.
There was a whole lot of sexist crap thrown in.
When the lead couple turns atavistic, the husband gets to keep his reasoning tendencies and ability to string words into sentences. The wife, on the other hand, became a beast who liked urinating on the floor. If the author had even bothered with a weak explanation as to why they chose to write the characters in this way, I wouldn’t have cried gender discrimination.
The story peed all over science.
The so-called visionary doctor mixes all kinds of DNA, including lupine, vulpine, canine, and piscine, in a test tube. He then injects it into couples hoping to conceive for whom he’s the last resort. Why is there no talk of incompatibility? Surely, it is not simple as whipping a batter of inter-species DNA and expecting it to work on (a) humans (b) all humans.
Animals rarely want to gobble up their young unless the latter are infirm, won’t beat natural selection, or for some other very practical reason. Even the Gobi fish, on whose DNA the author blames the filial cannibalism doesn’t gulp down its eggs randomly. Moreover, the male — and not the female — Gobi fish look at their spawn and think nom nom — see above for thoughts on gender discrimination. And say, they do want to snarf their offspring, why would they do that after investing so much time and effort in raising them until they are ten years old? Trade-offs (like growth over reproduction, etc.) govern the behavior of plants and animals in the real world.
The author gave away the climax in the first few pages of the book.
It wasn’t even subtle or anything either.
The writing is just weird at times.
The scene where the female lead’s sister discovers a man caged in the basement, for instance, could have been a strong one. Yet, the author decides to say something like, it was worse than death, and then leaves it at that.
Why skip the ten years when the kids were growing up in captivity?
We get a few hints about how the parents dine on rare meat swimming in “gravy” but that was it. Wouldn’t it have been more effective to show potentially cannibalistic parents trying to raise two babies?
There is a difference between being gay and a pedophile — the two aren’t mutually inclusive.
The author seemed to think it was okay for people jumping to the conclusion that since the gay teacher was hiding a kid, it must be because he was actually a pedophile.
The lead couple actually had a third kid too.
But the hospital disposes of him because he is a genetic mistake. Or so we think until that kid shows up. Why bring him back? The nurse who supposedly did the disposing off takes him home and raises him as her own. Shouldn’t a hospital that’s casually committing infanticide be keeping better check on such things? Also, why bring him back anyway? And what was that squicky scene with him making his sister sit on his lap?
Finally, there are a bunch of atavistic people, including kids, running around in the city.
They mate, eat other people, and exhibit extreme hirsutism. But no one is the wiser. How likely is that scenario?
So, there are two more books in the series. Will I be reading them? I don’t know!