Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Fellside then. One of my most anticipated for 2016, even given that Mr Carey had the probably intense pressure of following up his incredible previous novel “The Girl with All The Gifts” a book I still throw at people now, so madly did I feel that one at a time I needed a reminder of why I read. My review for that can be found HERE.
So did Fellside live up to my hope and expectation? Oh yes and then some but I would caution that the two novels are entirely different entities when it comes to the storytelling. Both brilliant in their own way, but completely in their own way – if someone said “but which did you like better” it would be like asking me which of my children I love more. Impossible to answer. Well apart from one of said children made me toast this morning so at the moment…
Fellside is a novel you should go into cold – like The Girl with All the Gifts the more you know about it the less you will feel it -for that reason I will speak about plot as little as possible – but from the opening page it is peculiarly haunting, beautifully constructed and embeds itself into the darker recesses of the mind so you think about it at odd moments of the day. To me this was a sign that I was both going to adore it and have to endure a certain amount of book trauma at the end – and that turned out to be absolutely true.
Jess Moulson is a character to die for, undeniably conflicted, following an unknowable path to very dark places, you are with her all the way – and honestly that is the least of it, the author has a real talent for group dynamic within a story and setting this one in a prison, an eerie place and a character in its own right, just added more atmospheric layers into an already desolate landscape. You never know what might be just around the corner, often I was not sure I wanted to find out but kept going anyway unable to stop.
Blurring the lines between light and dark, good and evil, creating a mythology that lingers in the mind, Fellside is not one thing but many – a novel I shall return to as I’m sure I missed some nuances, but also the descriptive language in parts is so beautifully perfect you just want to read the words again for the sheer pleasure of it. If like me you like to be challenged and emotionally disturbed by a novel then Fellside and indeed The Girl with all the Gifts will hit the sweet spot on that particularly. The best way I can describe my feeling while reading this is it was like having that falling dream, where coming out of it leaves your heart pounding. I was distraught at the end, a little tearful but mostly AGAIN going “Yes see? This is why I read”…
I’m fairly sure this will divide opinion – when you write a novel that does what The Girl with all the Gifts did, then as I said at the start you are probably going to be under a particular pressure – but MY opinion, for what its worth is that Fellside is both charming and horrific, creepy and engaging, it gets under your skin and stays there. Jess and the numerous other people I found inside the walls of Fellside will not leave my head anytime soon. Nor will the place itself, so the only thing I can do is say….