Author: Michael Grant
This is the fifth book in a six book series best known as the ‘Gone Series,’ as the first book is titled Gone. The basic concept and premise of the series, is a world where everyone over the age of 14 disappears and children have to figure out a way to survive as they discover that some among them have something akin to super powers. It is a rather gripping, yet dark and gritty premise that has had a lot of potential that Grant fully plays with, and it was what drew me into the series. A simple quick way to describe the series is: “Lord of the Flies meets Steven King”. I know a lot of people were not fond of “Lord of the Flies” but Gone is still a worthy book to read in my opinion, particularly if you are a fan of Steven King, as Grant’s story tends to follow the unreal as King does.
With all of Grants books in the series, the title has a lot to do with the major issue of the books, this one titled Fear has to do chiefly with just that, and is exceptionally dark and gritty. To be honest, in some ways I feel it was almost too dark for a book that is produced and marketed for young adults. I certainly don’t believe in pampering and dumbing things down for those in the young adult age group and certainly the characters of the novel are in that age range, but being forced to grow up in a world with no adults makes the children in the books act much older, and the ideas and concepts found in the novel are quite heavy. In addition to much older concepts and issues being dealt with, the violence which I have come to expect from Grant was a little extreme even for me. When it comes to reading I’m usually okay with graphic and ugly imagery, but this was a little more than I cared to handle.
Over all, I think Fear was something of a disappointment for me; I had looked forward to the book for some time, and expected that I would find myself incapable of putting it down like the books prior to it, but that wasn’t the case. I had to stop due to the gruesome pictures, only able to handle it a little at a time. The beginning pace was a little slow as well. There was a lot of set up for this novel that wasn’t really present in the previous novels. In addition to this, instead of spending the entire time with the main characters, there are moments throughout the book with people who are outside of the main story arch, which I quite honestly felt like skipping over as I felt it had little to do with the main plot of the novel. Quite honestly, those chapters could have been left out entirely and the story would remain the same in my opinion, as I would not be lost having not read them. It is possible that these chapters were in the book because the characters introduced in them will play an important role in the last book, which as a writer I understand this, but as a reader was bored by it.
In the end Gone, the first book of the series, is and has been a book I recommend, but Fear causes me to call those past recommendations into question. For a person who has already started the series, I would say Fear is a worthy read simply to progress the story line further, outside of that I would not recommend Fear and thus I am forced to give the book a three page review, chiefly because I like the series as a whole, and the book did have it’s interesting moments.