The Breeding Tree
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Published on March 25, 2017
About The Breeding Tree
When seventeen year old Katherine (Kate) Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.
When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.
I found this story to be a really interesting concept. Kind of Unwind meets Divergent. I liked the dystopian elements and found Kate to be mostly an interesting character, except for her thoughts on guys, which I’ll get to in a second.
The plot caused me some struggles. Some sections seemed a bit choppy—like maybe bits of scenes had been cut, but the chapter still needed another read-through for clarity. One part in particular shows Kate shocked and then immediately flashing back to another moment before returning to the present. She’s thinking about another person who doesn’t get named. When she returns to the present, we assume she meant her grandmother as the other person in the flashback scene, but I had to read it several times before I understood. Several scenes were like that for me.
Also, PSA: If a guy is stalking you, it’s not okay if he’s cute. There’s no equation of human behavior that says cute is inversely proportional to dangerous. More attractive does not equal less dangerous. Kate keeps spotting a guy following her, and then once she meets him at work, she’s like, hey—that guy was stalking me! But he’s cute, so it’s okay.
Um. No. It’s not okay. Also, immediately after freaking out about the guy following her, she and her bestie go on a double date with these guys they don’t know. The guys take them to this dark parking lot alone. No one knows where they are. I wanted to be like, “Hello?! Haven’t you seen the first season of 24? This is NOT a good idea.”
I don’t know. I feel like the author was going for making Micah a bad boy type, and I get that. But I do wish there was a little more hesitancy or awareness on Kate’s part. Or that he had to work harder to earn her trust after his earlier behavior.
In terms of content, the biggest issue are the disturbing descriptions of Kate “disposing” of a developing fetus. (See content section on violence for more information.)
Readers who enjoyed the Unwind series may find this one to their liking for its lessons about the value of human life and right to life issues.
All major characters are white. (Races were segregated by the government as part of an effort to “perfect” each race with a promise to reintegrate once perfection had been achieved. There’s also one brief mention of other races being represented in an outside rebel colony.)
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Once instance of mild profanity.
Kate’s bestie, Taryn brags about the fact that she enjoys casual sex with multiple partners. Teen sex seems to be totally fine now that pregnancy isn’t possible.
As part of Kate’s job, she’s required to “dispose” of fetuses at various stages of development in sterile containers. (Babies are grown in containers, not in the human body.) The descriptions of this process are graphic and disturbing. A young man attempts to bind Kate’s hands with zip ties. Kate throws a rock at a young man, causing a serious head injury.
Kate drinks alcohol while on a date with friends.