However, it does struggle under the common weaknesses of stories of this type (creature features specifically).
First, the good. Well written. Plot just hums along with no lags in pace. Ms. Pinborough knows how to build the suspense and let the story develop. Dialog is well done and this book is just well written all around. I am interested in reading more of her work.
The not so good. Maybe I have seen/read too many of these things, but this one has several of the common weaknesses:
(1) The WHAT and WHY: there is no real attempt to explain the origin of these awful creatures---what they are or why they exist. This is a sci-fi sort of monster tale so we need explanations, not just some sort of "well we must have done too much genetic engineering on plants and animals that we set off some chain of events that resulted in these spiders overtaking the entire world overnight." Seriously?
(2) There were several stereotypical characters that were so much so that I could anticipate plot developments. Remember the egocentric lawyer in Jurassic Park that is only out for his own survival? Well he is here and acts just like he did in that movie. We also have the brilliant but clueless scientist who was part of what caused it all.
(3) The spiders' weakness/vulnerability is odd in the extreme and with no explanation nor do I think there could be. I will just leave it at that.
There was also too much emphasis, in my view, on gender roles. The main character (Matt) is male and the story is told from his first person point of view, using the cliche form of a diary supposedly written to whatever survivor comes upon this writing and reads it. Matt is constantly defensive about his actions and even his thoughts and is forever apologizing, claiming that we need to understand that he is male so that is why he thinks/acts that way. I can't imagine a guy doing that. All it did for me was to constantly remind me that the author was female and was having a bit of trouble with a male voice.
I am a fan of creature features and I enjoyed this book and plan on reading the sequel. I am also interested in reading her other books because I feel that she is a talented writer and writes a compelling story.