Author: Michael Grant
Release Date: Well, it was meant to be the 3rd April 2012, but it was on shop shelves last week. Not sure what happened there...
Taken from Goodreads
Despite the hunger, despite the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new existence they've built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.
Fear is the fifth instalment of Michael Grant's Gone series. You can read my review of the first four books HERE.
Every so often you come across a book which just makes your fingertips tingle with joy every time you turn a page. For me, the Gone series has offered five such books so far. I spotted this on the shelves in Tesco yesterday. As it wasn't scheduled for release until the 3rd I felt it was my lucky day! I promptly purchased it and brought it home where I read it in one sitting.
From the very first chapter in the series, these books have had me hooked. The key conflict of the series is situational, as is the case with most great books. Grant had a great "What if..?" which set the story on its way: What if a bunch of kids with emerging superpowers were trapped in a bubble with no adults and a monster out to destroy them?
The situation has changed and mutated (pun intended) as the books have progressed. What if the food started to run out? What if everyone started getting sick? What if kids got their hands on the booze and drugs lying around? And with every mutation, the books have become more and more brilliant!
The situation is awesome enough, but when you add Grant's ability to create flawed protagonists and truly villainous bad guys, the result is a series which is incredibly gripping. Fear has seen my favourite antagonist so far: the cruel and insane Penny. Penny's "power" is her ability to create illusions so vivid and sensory that they are impossible to distinguish from reality. This makes her useful to Caine, the self-proclaimed King of the Perdido Beach kids.
I loved hating Penny. My favourite illusion of the book saw her treating a boy to some imaginary Red Vines which were actually the veins of his arms. They tasted so good... he just kept digging into his flesh for more! So. Very. Dark.
She's part of the "fear" suggested by the book's title. The other is that the sphere which has encased the town is slowly turning black and will soon block out all light. Without the sun there will be no more food production. And in a town where a lot of scary shi...stuff is going on, the last thing anyone needs is to be trapped in darkness. Fear of the dark is just plain sensible in Perdido Beach.
Overall, I adored this book. It was nice to see Sam, the (arguably) main character finally come to grips with his role as reluctant leader. Astrid, who lost her faith at the end of the last book when she sacrificed her brother, is back and for the first time in the series I liked her. She kind of kicked ass actually! Quinn is no longer a whiny brat, either. All of the characters, in fact, have grown and become their own people. Which provides the "What if...?" for the next book: What if the barrier should fall and the kids should return to the world they left behind? How can you ever go back when you've seen and done things to survive which you'd be damned for in the "real" world? You can't.
If there was one thing that I thought let the book down (and it's a very minor thing) it's the language - or lack thereof. In a book where kids have eaten human flesh, where a girl has fallen pregnant, where kids smoke pot medicinally and where a kid has clawed out the veins of his arms thinking they were red vines, it's somewhat incongruous when nobody effs and blinds when they have every bloody reason to! But, like I said, it's a minor thing.
Oh wait! I just thought of a second thing! The final instalment, Light, is due to be released next year! Now I'm not counting down the days to the end of the world like some of the 2012 nutters are, but if the world does end then it occurs to me that there are a whole bunch of books coming out in 2013 which I'm dying to read! What if I never get the chance?! Noooooooooo!