Fear (by Michael Grant)

15 04 2012

Anyone who’s made it this far with Michael Grant’s Gone series will not be surprised nor disappointed with the 5th (and penultimate!) book in the series. Grant yet again delivers his trademark stylistic story-telling elements: alternately focusing on major and minor characters, displaying the strengths and weaknesses of each, while submitting them to some of the most terrifying of events. As such he is able to come up with another blood-pumping, nerve-wrecking, heart-stopping thrill of a ride, with a pleiad of mutant or otherwise gifted characters until finally everything comes together in the hallmark climax of the book, and what a climax it is this time!

In many ways Fear is no different from any of the other Gone books. Freaks and geeks? Check! Fights and battles? Check! Strife and conflict? Check! However, there are definitely a few ways in which this book is at least slightly working towards the end game, and for the very first time maybe, it is obvious how much of a mindfuck life in the FAYZ has been to the protagonists.

For one (and maybe finally!), some of the major characters seem to be showing significant changes in their ways of thinking about themselves and their role in the FAYZ. The most obvious character here is Astrid. Though she never had any real mutant powers, Astrid had always been this proud – even snotty and arrogant – character, who wasn’t just the brain of the bunch, but also the goody-two-shoes conscious of the “good guys”. In Fear we learn that her experience with Little Pete at the end of Plague has changed her so much that for the first time she has lost confidence in her motivations as being morally right… Astrid, on the other hand, is also the first character to realize that in what they are experiencing, what she has done is just what had to be done, and morally right or wrong – her biggest fear was always to do the morally wrong thing – is not applicable, and she is consequently the first one to overcome her fear.

Sam also – who is literally afraid of the dark, the worst fear to have when the FAYZ is changing, and everything is getting darker and darker – is facing some truths about his role in the FAYZ. But the same is true for all of the major players in the FAYZ: Caine, Dekka, Quinn, Diana…  And to make matters even more gruesome, it seems that Michael Grant has upped the ante when it comes to his evil  characters… not wanting to spoil anything here, but Penny is one crazy psychotic bitch! Also, Fear, even more than any of the other books, is not for the faint of heart with a few brutal deaths that will definitely shock the high-and-mighty Meghan Cox Gurdons out there (something involving coyotes and toddlers).

If there is any criticism at all about this book, then it is probably this: yes the shock-meter is almost through the roof, but that’s not always in the service of advancing the story (Michael Grant really doesn’t hold back, I’ll give him that!). And even though there are definite differences between this and the previous books, and even though most of the characters have indeed grown as characters, it is indeed about high time that Grant comes with a conclusion to the whole series. It is nice that he let us see what is outside the FAYZ, but maybe he could also have focused more on that aspect of the storyline, than on yet again a new character that will either kick the bucket a few pages later, or will turn out to play no role whatsoever anyway. Also, Diana’s superspeed-growing baby? :::insert big sigh::: Did you really have to go all Twilight on us here?

Anyway, don’t let me spoil your fun, because despite these minor foils, Fear is still up there with the best of dystopia books, and if brutal, sadistic, evil, mutant powers meets fantastic, gasp-worthy, unbelievable adventures is your thing, I wonder why you haven’t started reading the whole Gone series yet??



One response

6 04 2013
Light (by Michael Grant) | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] you’ve made it till Fear – the previous book – you’re obviously going to read Light, so it’s not as if Michael Grant […]

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