Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker

One part sly dystopian, one part “what the heck did I just read,” and one part creepy creepfest! This equals an inventive and compulsive read by debut author Caroline Hardaker.

The reader will get to know a little about Norah’s past and her dreams of the future, but the majority of the book is set squarely in the present. The present. The now of Norah’s life. Her assigned partner Art. Her boring cubicle job. And their new addition… made ready for harvest.

Y’see, the air outside hasn’t gotten any better in this near future. And with more pollutants everywhere, the price of good food has gone up, and health care? Forget about it! Get in line… especially if you’ve contracted The Greying. But if you have the money, you may be able to afford to go to a clinic like Easton Grove. They will provide you with services and a bundle of joy that will help you prolong your life.

I woke up this morning at 5am with 15% left in this book… actually, I’m not really sure how I fell asleep last night, ha! Well, I turned over, away from my wife (didn’t want to disturb and dove back in… needing to finish. I left to work with 7% left. Usually I want my Fridays to end quickly, but today, I wanted to time travel!


Hardaker’s has great skill at holding back just enough to get the reader to keep compulsively turning pages… As I said above, this is one of those books where the first person narrator picks and chooses what to focus on… and much of that focus is on the new developments in Norah’s life. Things are forgotten and dismissed and Norah may delude herself at times, but the pieces that Hardaker does give us just add to that creepy atmosphere.

And yes… a bit of “What the hell did I just read?” I spent the first third of the book asking questions: Is this going to be like The Handmaid’s Tale? Or Never Let Me Go? But I quickly decided it’s like neither, a compelling story that questions everything about our future and combines it with unique storytelling. The quiet creep…

Pick up Composite Creatures for a frightening look at our own mortality and a compelling narrator to hold our hand throughout…

4.5 out of 5

Thank you to NetGalley, Angry Robot Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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