I wanna talk about Katie French for a minute. I haven't read all of her books yet, but I recently got to read the Breeders series and it was Ahmazing!
I've read my fair share of futuristic post-apocalyptic dystopian YA stories, so when I started reading this series I expected to be entertained but not wowed because how many different ways can we really hear the same kind of story? But boy was I wrong.
I had never read a story, but less a whole series, that was like this one.
The general story about the impending extinction of the human race because of a lack of female babies being born was a new take of the whole thing. And then to find out that there a group of “doctors” that have come up with a plan to breed female babies, even if they have to force the few fertile females that are left in the world to submit to their experiments. Often resulting in what they call Benders, with neither male nor female parts, more like a genderless half and half.
It was all a new and crazy take on a classic story line about a future wasteland and I love it.
There have been five full novels and a few short stories so far and I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just go into a little bit about the first one so that you can understand who these characters are.
The main character, Riley, who has tried her whole life to disguise herself as a Bender so that she will be safer in the outside world away from the Breeders, is typical to this kind of story in the way that she's fierce and will do almost anything she has to to protect her family and the people that she loves. What makes her different than the typical lead for a story like this, is the doubt she has in herself and the sympathy that she shows to those that mean to do her harm.
She doesn't want to kill, even if it's in defense of her own life or those she cares for, she tries to find another way because she wants to be better than the “bad guys” that her family has been afraid of her whole life. She's heard stories of how life used to be and knows there's a better way to live than what society has evolved into.
All she needs is someone to prove to her that not all the people (Men) that are left out in the world are all bad, that there might actually be a safe place to be herself somewhere out in the world.
He's the son of a mean son of a gun who goes by the title of Sheriff. After the Sheriff kills Riley's step father and takes her mother and Auntie while Riley and her brother hide, Clay is the only person to offer to help her get her family back. Clay thinks Riley is a Bender and she wants to keep it that way, because even though he hates his Pa and everything the man stands for, the amount of money that the Breeders offer for young healthy females like her is enough money to entice any man, even one as kindhearted as Clay.
Along the way to find Riley's mother and Auntie and get them back safely, Clay befriends Riley and her brother and feels a kinship with them that he hasn't had since his own younger brother was killed on his watch years before.
Ethan is Riley's younger brother and at the tender age of eight he finds himself thrown out into a harsh world that his parents have always tried to shield him from. But with Clay and Riley by his side he knows that he can make it. Even if he really just wants his mother sometimes.
Like with any series there's ups and downs along the way, some fights they win and some they lose. Friendships are made and some friends are lost, but through it all they never stop striving for their ultimate goal of safety and happiness.
After five full length stories and three novellas, you would think that it might slow down a little or become stale or boring, but somehow, Katie French has managed to keep each story new and exciting. Adding in new characters that you come to love just as much as the originals, and throwing in memory loss that changes the way some characters see their mission all together, this series hasn't missed a step yet and I cannot wait for the next book.
Titles in the series…
Book #1 The Breeders
Book #2 The Believers
Book #3 The Benders
Book #4 The Brothers
Book #5 The Barriers
Book #6 The Butchers (coming soon)
Novella: Nessa (can be read at any point in the series)
Novella: Plan B (can be read at any point in the series)
Novella: Clay (can be read at any point in the series)
I strongly urge you to check these books out. It's a great series and I know you won't regret it.
I give each book as well as the series as a whole 5 out of 5 stars.