Feeding Ground - Sarah Pinborough "The spider creatures from Breeding Ground have begun to take over London. A small group of survivors decide to barricade themselves in an unused Underground Station, only to realize-too late-that it's right next to a storehouse for the spiders' food."

That paragraph above is supposedly the synopsis. Anyone who has ever read any of my reviews will know that I never write plot summaries, but this time I have to because that isn't what happens in the story at all.

Feeding Ground is sort of a second part to the story started in Breeding Ground but doesn't advance what happened in the first story at all. As we find out in the first installment almost all women on the planet have become hosts for creatures that turn into huge white spiders that kill and eat everything that they encounter. Those they don't kill they wrap up and store in gossamer webs for later snacking.

While Breeding Ground follows a group of intrepid folks running away from a small town and into a government facility, Feeding Grounds takes place in the projects (or at least what we in the states call the projects or "the hood") of London.

First spoiler
In Breeding Ground we heard about soldiers and several other folks holed up in London. They were communicating with the escapees hiding in the military installation. I expected that this story would tell us the story of those folks---some of whom were scientists working on a solution to the problem and maybe could shed some light on the source of the spiders. I was disappointed that this novel didn't involve them at all. In fact, Feeding Ground didn't give us any more knowledge of the source of this spider invasion. It just happened and the people reacted.

The people in the hood have quite a few more survival skills, not to mention firearms, than the townspeople of Breeding Ground and seem to hold the spiders at bay quite well, at least at first. They are joined by a group of prep school students who are just trying to survive. Feeding Ground brings these people together and I think the interpersonal relationships and conflicts took center stage away from the spiders.

No one "decides to barricade themselves in an unused Underground Station." Most of the action takes place in the high rise apartments in the projects, in a wealthy apartment building, and on the streets of London. They do go into a tube station but that is merely to pass from one place to another in an attempt to escape. Did the person who wrote the blurb actually read the novel? They did find some bad things in the tube tunnels and I will just leave it at that.....

Feeding Grounds was written later and it is a much better written book. The characters were very well drawn, not a stereotype in the bunch and I found myself flying through the pages even though the spider action was rather sparse. Pinborough is a very good writer, not question about it.

What I didn't like was that this second novel (with no third on the horizon?) not only didn't advance the overall story it didn't even get up to the time frame of the first one so it never addresses (but it does hint at) the secondary invasion that occurs in the Breeding Ground that takes a bad situation to a much worse one. It also introduces giant rats that obviously will be important in a later book. And the weather....what is up with the sudden climate change that is turning London into a jungle and that foul tasting rain that the spiders so love and drink up so ravenously?

We need a third installment to answer all of these quesions! Anyone want to knock on Ms. Pinborough's door and ask politely?