Author: M.R. Carey
Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Mystery | Paranormal | Thriller
Length: 486 pages | 7224 locations
Jess Moulson wakes up disfigured from a fire she seemed to have set and as a consequence killed a 10-year-old boy.
Her memory is hazy but the evidence is overwhelming. She decides to starve herself to death as atonement.
But then she begins having visions of the boy and suddenly she is on a mission she does not comprehend but will bring her the peace she craves.
After reading The Girl with All the Gifts, I have to admit my expectations were not only high but I had hoped for a totally different kind of tale. I am a big fan of horror/paranormal and I have to admit prison settings always put me off. I could not even watch TV series or movies because I am not even remotely interested in the subject. When I gradually found out that the story did centre itself around the prison events and characters, and not the paranormal ones, I was largely disappointed.
So most of the first half of the book failed to grasp my attention because I was simply not interested in the subject. Also, I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the names and characteristics I had to memorize. At some point I had no idea who some of the more secondary – or rather tertiary – characters were. Therefore, the narrative seemed to stretch on and on, and I just lost interest, having to struggle not to skim through the text. I kept wondering when the prison stuff would be over and the interesting, paranormal one would begin and be developed.
Due to the author’s wonderful writing, I was engaged at some point. The second half picked up the pace and things finally started to come together, but sadly most of all the twists I had expected in one form or the other. Some were very surprising though, particularly the one about Leah – didn’t see that coming. The characterization was quite well done as well, for the most part. However, I have to admit I never really connected to Jess. I get that she had a lot on her mind but I could not understand why she would never even think of her disfigured face, for instance, or want to know why she could not properly remember that night’s events. There just wasn’t much emotion/dimension. She wanted atonement for a murder she could not recall and that was it.
Something felt off throughout the story, right from the premise. Not only the main character’s development as I just mentioned, but the initial trial itself. What the hell was done there anyway? Why could they not find the evidence then? Why did it have to take the entirety of the book to develop this strategy? I don’t know, it just seems too convenient.
Still, Carey is a very talented author and I was interested at some point. Even if I did not like the characters, I enjoy most of their development. I also had a fair amount of closure. And if there is one thing Carey can do brilliantly it’s the endings.
So, in the end, I do recommend Fellside, just don’t go into it thinking it will be similar to TGWATG and make sure you enjoy stories that involve life in prison.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Apr 16 to Apr 23, 2016