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Fear: A Gone Novel

Review

Fear: A Gone Novel

The last four months in the FAYZ have passed in relative peace, a rare phenomenon in this small world filled with the heat of survival. Caine is happy playing the role of king over the Perdido Beach group of kids, although it’s more of a self-fulfilled title; Albert actually runs the day-to-day operations. Meanwhile, up at the lake, Sam and his group of kids are creating their own relatively successful society. A few children interact between both groups, while some prefer to avoid all contact. Lana, the healer, still chooses to live a mostly solitary life up at the Clifftop resort, and Astrid, drowning in grief and guilt over the death of Little Pete, has isolated herself in the wilderness. But this is life in the FAYZ, and it’s never easy, let alone serene. Change is coming, and it could mean death to all.

"The Gone novels continue to amaze, astonish, fascinate, captivate, shock and horrify. Grant has invented a new and intriguing version of the man versus man, and the man versus nature themes, launching them to astonishing heights and intriguing depths. The storyline latches a death grip on the reader, never letting go, not even after the back cover is closed."

Astrid is one of the first to notice it --- a dark stain spreading up the surface of the impenetrable barrier. It’s moving at a progressive pace, almost visible; one can nearly see it creeping up the side. She decides her solitary self-punishment must come to an end, and she treks over to the lake compound to discuss the situation with Sam. If the stain continues to progress --- and it certainly appears so --- it will swallow the entire barrier within a couple of days, shrouding the entire FAYZ into complete darkness. The only sources of light would be from fire or the small balls of light called Sammy Suns that Sam could produce. Plants would die, then the animals, and quickly to follow, the kids would starve. That is, if they don’t all go insane from the darkness first.

As if the stain wasn’t enough to worry about, Diana is pregnant, and like everything else in the FAYZ, it isn’t a normal pregnancy. For one, the fetus is growing at an unusually fast rate; it won’t be the typical nine-month gestation. Also, her mutation talent is reading the power levels of the other mutated kids, and already she reads the fetus at a three-bar level and growing. Whoever or whatever is growing inside of her will be very powerful indeed. And she isn’t the only one to notice. The evil gaiaphage is aware of the fetus and wants the baby for itself. All of these new mounting dangers will force everyone in the FAYZ to face new versions of themselves, even Sam and Caine. They’ve always been brothers, though usually enemies. Now they will have to join forces and become partners.

The Gone novels continue to amaze, astonish, fascinate, captivate, shock and horrify. Grant has invented a new and intriguing version of the man versus man, and the man versus nature themes, launching them to astonishing heights and intriguing depths. The storyline latches a death grip on the reader, never letting go, not even after the back cover is closed. Each page offers unimaginable twists and turns, leaving the reader with mouth gaping open and heart pounding. Grant demonstrates some awesome alliteration examples, and cleverly utilizes irony and symbolism. He delves into such topics as gut-wrenching guilt, relationships with God, facing fears, and discovering new roles, providing many interesting insights through his characters. He finally whispers a few hints of explanation --- about the barrier, Little Pete and other mysteries --- but much remains to be explored in the next installment, a book that can’t get here fast enough.

A warning to the younger or more sensitive readers: this story contains a fair amount of violence and gore, and includes teen drinking, drug use, smoking, sex and torture. Some may find it a bit too intense.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on April 27, 2012

Fear: A Gone Novel
by Michael Grant