Review: Cradle and All by James Patterson

28449181Cradle and All by James Patterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: September 12th 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Point of View: Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Supernatural, Mystery, Religion, Belief, Sex, Pregnancy

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In Boston, a young woman finds herself pregnant–even though she is still a virgin.

In Ireland, another young woman discovers she is in the same impossible condition.

And in cities all around the world, medical authorities are overwhelmed by epidemics, droughts, famines, floods, and worse. It all feels like a sign that something awful is coming.

Anne Fitzgerald, a former nun turned private investigator, is hired by the Archdiocese of Boston to investigate the immaculate conceptions. Even as she comes to care about and trust the young women, she realizes that both are in great danger. Terrifying forces of light and darkness are gathering. Stepping into uncharted territory where the unknown is just the beginning, Anne must discover the truth–to save the young women, to save herself, and to protect the future of all mankind.

Well that was a cruel, devilish ending. Pun oh so intended.

I needed to read a James Patterson book, and I finally did. I can’t say I chose right as my first read by him – maybe I should have started with ”Maximum Ride” – but one can certainly admit that he takes the reader to unexpected, uncharted places.

How could I have resisted the premise? Two girls, both pregnant, yet both virgin, also. The son of God is growing inside one, and the son of Lucifer inside the other. But who is the lucky one?

I find it peculiar that this book is categorized as a YA novel. Sure, two of the main characters are teenagers, but the rest are adults – family members, a detective, popes and other religious people – and it’s not as if it explores teen-related themes, like first love*, first time, first kiss, first heartbreak, etc. Not really, anyway.

So I’m torn over whether it’s for adults or teenagers. For now, I’m just going to say it’s for mature readers, as the themes – religion, sex, belief – are pretty heavy. It’s not a humorous story, unlike I first expected. Look at that cover and title and blurb. Come on, who really thinks this will be serious all the way?

But it is. Which is not a problem, but it did take me by surprise. James Patterson’s writing style functions well with this type of story – a mystery – but it isn’t lyrical at all. Ever. It does feel a bit dry, if I dare say so, but the story was interesting enough for me not to care about that too much.

This isn’t the kind of book that will make you connect to the characters on an intense level, but you will still feel compassion for them and care for their futures. Anne, the only character who had a first person point of view, was my favourite, which is not surprising since it’s easier to warm up to a character who gives us complete access to their thoughts than to one who shares the bare minimum.

I’m curious about James Patterson’s many other novels and series. This will certainly not be my last book by him.

* Yes, but the character in question is an adult.

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6 thoughts on “Review: Cradle and All by James Patterson

  1. Now the premise to this one has me interested, I will admit. Maybe not what I would have chosen as my first Patterson novel – I have yet to read one – but I want to read this one eventually! I really like the idea of the comparison between good and bad in the children they women are carrying. Themes like that always get to me.


  2. I love James Patterson! I have read Maximum Ride, Witch and Wizard, The Confessions series (Tandy Angel), and the High School Diaries. All true YA books/series. This however does not feel very YA. I’m most likely not going to read this one, and the true reviews on it aren’t selling me. I think I’ll wait until he comes back with another YA book that’s not a mirror image of the adult version (Woman of God has the exact same blurb, since it is the same book basically).


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