Review: Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker

Book Details and Links

Author: Caroline Hardaker
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: 13th April 2021
Page Count: 400

Angry Robot


How close would you hold those you love, when the end comes?

In a society where self-preservation is as much an art as a science, Norah and Arthur are learning how to co-exist in their new little world. Though they hardly know each other, everything seems to be going perfectly – from the home they’re building together to the ring on Norah’s finger.

But survival in this world is a tricky thing, the air is thicker every day and illness creeps fast through the body. And the earth is becoming increasingly hostile to live in. Fortunately, Easton Grove is here for that in the form of a perfect little bundle to take home and harvest. You can live for as long as you keep it – or her – close.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Teratoma for One Nine Lives Cell Patchwork Till Death ]

Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker


A beautifully written and masterfully unravelled story that challenges the idea of humanity.

Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker is really well put together. The prose are spot on for the subjects explored and works great with the use of first person. We really get to know the main character, Norah, and just what does and doesn’t make her tick. The level of intimacy that Hardaker builds between reader and Norah is fantastic. Almost to the point that Norah becomes a close friend. It felt like I grew to know her so well during the read. This I have not witnessed in a book to this degree before and I really enjoyed it.

Caroline Hardaker also works wonders with character background which helps further build the connection with the character. If you read my reviews regularly then you will know just how much I enjoy good character development and establishing character background is key to doing just that. We get unrestricted access to the thoughts, feelings and memories of Norah which is no surprise being the book is written in first person. Norah often thinks back to a long past childhood where things were much different and this really helps to build the scene.

With all that being said I did find the story to be a slow burner and at times I just wanted the story to ramp up and start spilling the beans. It’s not until much later in the book maybe around 60-70% of the way through that the story really started to get traction and we get to see what is really going on. Now, throughout the book we do get little clues that the eagle eyed will pick up on but if not then the book may be a little too much of a slow burner for you. I will say that if you persevere and keep with it you are in for a beautifully written ending.  

I was expecting a little more in the way of world building from what the synopsis says and we do get snippets here and there of what the world has become but the majority of the setting comes about in how our main character refers and interacts with the world around her. However Composite Creatures is much more about exploring humanity and how the world around us effects our humanity rather than the world so maybe the true nature of the story would be lost if there was more emphasis on world building. Hardaker has really challenged the way I think and perceive the world around me and that is exactly what Angry Robot is all about and why I love the books they publish.

Overall Composite Creatures was a good read and I will recommend it to those wanting something a little different from the normal sci-fi scene. It is a slow burner so be warned if that is not your thing but this is more than made up for with the beautiful story that is unravelled before us.

Professional Reader

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