***No spoilers for FEAR or the previous books***
Michael Grant knows how to write a story full of action, mystery, humour, disturbing/gory-stuff and occasional romance with a great variety of characters and plot twists added in to shake things up.
The idea behind this novel was promising and Michael exceeded my expectations once again by writing a really thrilling read. The plot twists were really well done. A lot of it I wasn't expecting, and like the previous four books, I just couldn't tear through this book enough. Even though the book is a big one, I felt that apart from the beginning it was really fast-paced and enjoyable.
It was great to meet up with my favourite characters once more. All of the GONE novels manage a balance between characters and action, but with each GONE novel different characters play different roles in the book. Personally, some of my favourite characters, Lana, Dekka and Diana have solid roles in this book which was nice. Lana is as determinedly strong as ever (and hey, she even smiles once or twice, which is great because she DESERVES some sort of happiness after the hell she's been through in the previous 5 books, no?) and Dekka, while she plays a smaller part in FEAR than I would have liked, tries to recover from the events of PLAGUE, in which she didn't leave fully unscathed. At all. Diana, on the other hand, was charming to me for the first half of the novel, and it looked like she would continue to be. But then the last fifty or so pages happened and I remembered that all of the main characters of the GONE novels have shades of grey, and are completely human in their unpredictability despite the strange situation (being trapped in this dome) they have found themselves in. I thought the boys were slightly lacking in character development apart from Caine, but all the characters (apart from the ones you're meant to dislike, that is) were fun to read about.
I liked how Michael gave his readers a sense of finality with FEAR--like some of the characters say in FEAR, the situation they face in this novel really is an `endgame'--and I can really see this series concluding in a way that doesn't feel contrived, whereas in the last four books I hadn't really felt that the overall series would end in a way that I'd find plausible.
I have only two gripes which kept this from being a five star read. The first is that the prose could have been improved. I've gotten used to and grown to like the simplistic, action-driven prose that Grant uses, however there were some minor grammatical inaccuracies. I also felt that some descriptions were a little vague and weren't detailed enough for me to get a good picture of what was happening while I read.
I think the pacing for FEAR was a little off, too. Like I said before, the beginning was a bit slow (as slow as a GONE novel could be, mind, which is not actually the writing being lengthily tedious but rather that not much events happen over a long span of pages) while the middle and ending were as furiously faced paced as the previous instalments. But ironically some very, very major things happened in FEAR, especially towards the end, and I would have liked some more detail into those moments--considering some of these events were permanently going to change some of the characters' lives for the foreseeable future.
This penultimate instalment of the GONE series was highly enjoyable, and my only improvements were very little things to be honest, because the story and characters Michael has created really enrapture you to the point where I only wrote about them to give an informed review that considers the entire book. This series continues to be one of my favourites and I cannot wait for LIGHT, the final book. Because of FEAR's ending, LIGHT looks to be a really hectic last novel and I can't wait to FINALLY know what happens to these characters.
If you STILL haven't read this series, I HIGHLY SUGGEST that you go do so. I hope you like them!