Genre

science fiction, young adult, dystopian

Audience

Tween and up

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2019

Themes

pro-life, abortion, child abuse, premarital sex, parent dynamics, family, guilt, forgiveness, familial love, parental loss, chastity

Reviewed by

Dr. Lisa Theus

A countryside crawling with wild dinos is no place for a child—right? Isaiah, age 18, and older brother Zechariah have an extremely dangerous job—keeping humans safe from the wild, roaming dinosaurs of the world.  And some months after a much-regretted drunken one-night stand, Isaiah gets the news that he is an expectant father. Can he find a way to bring up a child, with his lifestyle, or will the mother have an abortion?

This fast-paced prequel to the unSPARKed series is enjoyable both as a standalone book, or as backstory to the rest of the series. And it is well worth the read. Breach! is told from the point of view of Isaiah, who must come to terms with his own family demons to find the strength to do the right thing and accept the consequences. We live in a world where it’s very easy to relate to the struggles of the characters, even if we don’t have to live with dinosaurs at our doorsteps. The book is filled with thoughtful topics such as facing our regrets, seeking reconciliation and understanding, and the vulnerable being taken advantage of. These themes aren’t easy to grapple with – especially the abuse still haunting the main character – but they are important because they are parts of human experience. The book is never melodramatic, though, and manages to be both a page-turning adventure and an emotional ride.

As the book is told through the eyes and emotions of an 18-year-old boy, it is a great teen book, especially for boys. I won’t spoil the details, but the book does subvert some common tropes that is a welcome change to show teenaged boys a different sort of story and model. But any pro-life supporters will enjoy this book, be they Catholic, Christian, or secular. The pro-life stance itself is not religiously based, even though there is an influential priest in the first part of the book and the main characters are Catholic. The story does a good job at getting to the heart of what the pro-life argument is without being preachy or long-winded.

The characters are far from perfect, but that adds to their charm. After all, the main character is 18. He’s still figuring out life, and although he’s very competent at his deadly work, his youth still features in how he reacts to events. He and his brother’s grasp of Catholicism also doesn’t seem complex, but it’s realistic to the sort of life they’ve had and the influences of the adults around them. Ultimately, the characters are endearing, and this book isn’t aiming to be intricate theology or pro-life argumentation. This book offers a realistic, down-to-earth perspective.

I absolutely devoured this book in a weekend. You’re often left wondering ‘how will they get out of this?’ so it’s easy to just keep reading to find out. The minor characters are entertaining, and the action is nonstop. This is a perfect gift for adventure-seeking teens who love dinosaurs and are pro-life—or are curious about the pro-life stance.

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