Book Review: Fellside by M.R. Carey
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Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by M.R. Carey
Orbit Books | Hachette Book Group
Release Date: April 5th, 2016

Jess is a heroin addict, a burn victim, an amnesiac, and… a murderer. She does not really remember what happened, but she knows she must be guilty, even if it was not intentional. She feels so guilty she just wants to die – she deserves it. But something pulls her back… something so unbelievable that it gives her a spark of purpose in this hell of a prison, where most are corrupt on both sides of the law.

Alex Beech – the boy she befriended and burned.

Jess realizes she has the remarkable ability to enter the dreams of others, a talent she had forgotten about. It was “therapy’d” out of her as a kid. Alex shows her that place once again, as they try to figure out what really happened to him.

We try to figure it out too in Fellside by M.R. Carey.

More below.

“She was the suspicious absence of Jess.”

This was just one example of word art that M.R. Carey used to describe his protagonist’s memory loss after the fire. It is rare that one sentence can make me stop reading so I can go show how amazing a metaphor is to whomever is around. But that is what I did after that single sentence. It is what creative writing majors at universities dream of when they envision their writing future.

What he weaves with this language is a gritty novel about the plights of women in prison, and the life plunge of a drug addict, coupled with the supernatural story of dream-walking and the “other place” where the dead live.

His non-Jess characters are intricately complex, with strands of good mixed with the overwhelming evil, as well as the opposite. You will enjoy the depths of depravity, and the rationalization that holds its hand.

The end (no spoilers) was completely unexpected up until one paragraph before the reveal (not a hyperbole). I do not often get to read books that are not assigned for review, so I have not read The Girl With All The Gifts, but I will now. It is rare you find a novel where the beauty (and it’s an ugly beauty) captures you as much as the story. If Carey can do that here, he can do it anywhere.

Book synopsis:

A haunting and heartbreaking thriller from the author of the USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts.

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Discover M. R. Carey’s powerful new novel – a chillingly atmospheric tale filled with tension, action, and emotion.

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