Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...
Required Reading: Your life will be meaningless if you haven't read these superstars of literature. See More...

There’s Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself—Right?

A review of Fear, a Gone novel, by Michael Grant, a series about kids trapped in a bubble... of doom!

There’s Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself—Right?

BOOK REPORT for Fear by Michael Grant

Cover Story: Still Left Behind
BFF Charm: YAY!!!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Michael Grant Wears Your Guts For Garters
Bonus Factors: Diversity, The Outside, Bad Guys
Relationship Status: We're In Our Second Honeymoon "FAYZ"

Cover Story: Still Left Behind

Ah, these books and their covers. So many folks stayed away from them because they looked like the Left Behind series, but, uh, the books get the last laugh. More on that later.

The Deal:

This is the fifth book in the Gone Series.  Check out my review for the first four books: Gone, Hunger, Lies, and  Plague.

There has been four months of relative peace with no catastrophes in the FAYZ, so you know they're in for a doozy. And they are. Because the barrier is changing...

BFF Charm: YAY!!!

Grant has put all of his characters through their paces -- some of them start out so likable, but get less and less so with each book, while others continue to redeem themselves. Then there's kids like Edilio, who just never stops being aweomse. And also Sanjit, whom I love so much. But today I want to talk about Astrid the mother effin' genius. From the start of the series, she either had the answers or figured them out. She was the most bad ass kid, and I loved that with all of the other youth running around developing powers, it was Astrid -- whose only power was her brain -- that solved problems. But then she got so bogged down in trying to do things her way, and keeping secrets, and manipulating Sam, and clinging to her faith that I just wanted to SHAKE HER. But her world fell apart in the last book, and at the end of it, Astrid just heads out into the dessert for some alone time. Well, my friends, that alone time did her right, because she is BACK!!! Love. Her.

And then there's Quinn. Quinn is the tortoise in the race for a BFF charm, and one of the only ones I think could actually adjust back to the outside world if the FAYZ ever came down.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

There's a pretty fair amount of coupling in this installment -- and by coupling, I mean sex -- but it's written in the same matter-of-fact tone as the rest of the story. And that's fine. I mean, some of these kids love each other, and I want them to have that, (because I'm not so sure how things can possibly end well) but it would be weird if the books got all swoony with unicorns and rainbows. I mean, if there were unicorns and rainbows, Grant probably wouldn't be able to stop himself from making the unicorns gore people with their horns and the rainbows turn into death rays or something.

Talky Talk: Michael Grant Wears Your Guts For Garters

I've taken to imagining Grant's writing process as this thing where he turns into a great rum-swilling pirate, limping around his study on a peg leg, swearing and stabbing things at random with his cutlass -- calling out general commands to his household: "ARRGGHHH, I told ye to load the dishwasher, arghhh!" Because, as a reader, he has made me walk the plank emotionally, and then keelhauled me through the entirety of his books. Of course, just like it happens with any good pirate, this fact has only made me a more loyal reader.

Also? This book is Grant's big "Gotcha!" moment for all of us who kept wondering if this series was secretly trying to get us all to convert, like the Left Behind books.

Fear is the penultimate book in the series, and while it's in some ways a quieter story, it switches things into high gear in preparation for the home stretch. And I can't wait to see what he does in the end.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Welcome to the FAYZ, a new community designed with cultural diversity at it's heart! Join kids of every race, gender and sexual orientation as they form lasting relationships and work together to… survive. Um, just watch out for the coyotes and flying snakes. And zekes. And Whip Hand. And Penny. And the gaiaphage. Erm...

Bonus Factor: The Outside

Grant opens this one with something we've not yet seen in the series: what's really happening outside the FAYZ wall.

Bonus Factor: Bad Guys

This book contains some of the most intrinsically evil and unbalanced human characters I've ever read, with Penny topping the list. This girl doesn't need to be touched by The Darkness to come unhinged: bitch is SCARY.

Casting Call:

I had totally forgotten who I'd cast in my first review, but hey! I still like them!

Logan Lerman as Sam

Bridgit Mendler as Astrid

Relationship Status: We're In Our Second Honeymoon "FAYZ"

We've been together a long time, this series and I. And, our relationship has had its share of ups and downs, like they do. There's been times when I even felt like we didn't really know each other anymore. But. BUT. It came home the other day with tulips and those chocolate-covered cherries soaked in brandy that I like so much, and then took me to a theme park to ride roller coasters, and then to a movie -- IN PARIS. Meaning: this book knows exactly what I like, in a way that only someone you've been with for a long time can. So, excuse us, but we're going to go make out now.

FTC FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Fear is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.