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With Fellside M R Carey has attempted something very ambitious. The story genre-hops considerably before settling very much into a paranormal mystery. Imagine Prison Break as a setting for Luke Smitherd’s Physics of the Dead with some meaty courtroom drama popping up along the way and then a full paranormal mystery drama emerging. The plot becomes much more subtle than it first appears which requires considerable scene setting before the momentum builds towards a quite gripping ending.
Given where the majority of the book is set it’s no surprise that the violence is hard and uncompromising. It’s made even starker by the fact that much of it involves women as either the perpetrators or victims or indeed both!
I don’t think everyone will be entirely convinced that the whole thing works. There did seem to be an incongruence between some facets of the story. The "fresh" innocence of the ghost did not feel genuinely convincing to me when set against the bleak backdrop of tough characters and their desperate plight. It didn’t quite sit right particularly through the middle of the book.
The acid test though was passed for me as I cared what happened to these characters, not just Jess, right up until the end. Throughout the book there are some powerful scenes but it’s the last third that really demands attention if you can accept the paranormal premises that are put forwards.
Finty Williams is a classy narrator and a good story teller. If she struggled with anything it was in not quite being able to carry the threat of the nastier of the characters with full conviction. Other than that she carries off a difficult task with a very enjoyable performance.
In summary this is a deep book which ambitiously attempts to cover multiple genres. I think it just about pulls it off and the plot contains a number of genuine and in some cases quite subtle surprises. The way it mixes the genres might be unsettling for some but I think it’s well worth investing in.
36 of 43 people found this review helpful
It keeps you guessing and has some great visual set pieces. the characters are believable and each emotional experience they go through you feel as if you're there with them.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
...but once it gripped, Fellside never let go again. This is one of those books that you simply can't forget.
Definitely not more of The Girl with all the Gifts, even though Fellside shares a narrator with that book. But more than enough thought-provoking ideas. The characters are vivid, without being too detailed, and overall the book felt like a truly satisfying story.
I originally got this book because the collaboration of Williams and M R Carey in The Girl with All the Gifts was fantastic. The suspense made me stop whatever I was doing.
In Fellside Williams's voice was equally captivating. My mind wandered at some of the "dark side" descriptions that just seemed to go on... but overall the story was fascinating and I loved all the characters.