First real review in awhile. I’m still not sure I like the format I’ve been using but I’m also not quite sure how to tweak it either (mostly because I get sick of copy/pasting the format every time I got to post a review). So, gonna change things up a little today…or try to. We’ll see since old habits are hard to break.
Anyway, today’s review is on Michael Grant’s latest release: Fear.
Fear is the fifth book in the Gone novel series, a series that is planned for six books. At some point I should probably go back and talk about the first four books, but as I’ve stated before on this blog: I review as I read them. But, a quick summary for those of you who AREN’T familiar with Grant’s series, Gone is a young adult dystopian series set in present day California. The story begins when everyone over the age of 15 vanishes from a 20 mile radius of the town, leaving behind a bunch of scared kids and a dome that means the children are now all cut off from the outside world. Things, as you can imagine, take a very dark turn from there. The series has been described in the past as “Lord of the Flies meets Stephen King” and I tend to repeat that summary a lot because it is a VERY good short summary of what to expect from this book. I’m sure you can guess where the LotF aspects come in, but the King aspects are apparent when you start to realize that the dome isn’t the first strange thing to happen to this town in California. Grant gives us a series with mutant animals, cannibalism, radioactive Eldritch abominations, and kids with special powers fighting against the kids without special powers.
The Gone novel series quickly became one of my favorite examples of dystopian literature and Fear proved to be just as exciting as its predecessors. It follows the same layout as books before it: jumping between character scenes and starting each chapter with a countdown to an unspecified event. I will say that I’m still not a fan of the jumping between characters aspect of these novels, but really that is its one weakness and it DOES tend to stick to the same handful of characters when it switches. The confusing part, however, is when it switches mid-chapter, which it does…a lot. However, on the plus side, it does give you a sense of how one character’s actions effect the actions of another who, int turn, effects the actions of another and so on. My favorite thing about the series has always been the countdown at the start of each chapter. It really helps to up the tension in the novels because you never can be sure what the countdown is FOR, only that each chapter decreases in time. There’s something about seeing a chapter go from “5 hours, 15 minutes” to “3 hours” that just really gets your heart racing.
Fear itself deals with Sam and the others’ continuing adventures inside the FAYZ. The dome around them is starting to change and the communities have been split between those that still live near the beach with Albert and Cain and those that have moved to the lake with Sam. Everyone is, of course, still dealing with the bugs epidemic of the last book and Astrid is still in shock over what she did to her own brother: Little Pete. Diana is pregnant with a rapidly growing fetus who is the child of Cain and a mysterious force is messing with some of the children, turning them into abominations. Worst of all the gaiaphage is starting to stir again and seems to be deeply afraid about the changes occurring to the dome as much as anyone else. This is also the first book where we get to see outside the dome and find out what the parents have been up to and how things are being handled by the world.
I can’t say for sure if this was my favorite of the series, but it was certainly a fun buildup. You can tell this is a penultimate book because a lot of things are set-up that you know are going to be paid off in the sequel (Diana’s baby, the dome becoming transparent, Little Pete’s transformation, etc.). I think, however, that if you have liked the previous installments of the series that you will find a great deal of enjoyment in this one. As usual it is EXTREMELY difficult to put down and I know I personally finished it in about a day’s time.
If any of this interests you, I suggest starting from the first novel because this is NOT a series you can jump in halfway through. In fact, it’s kind of difficult to talk about if you haven’t read the series either. I think my favorite part about this particular installment was finding out just what has been going on OUTSIDE the dome and then seeing the parents’ reactions when they get to see what their kids have been up to. I can only IMAGINE the kind of horror THAT’S going to bring, especially since by the book’s end the kids are now like a bunch of fish in an aquarium. That’s going to present some interesting things in the last installment, I can already tell.
Rating: 4 out of 5 crazy, psychopathic children