Published by Random House on April 24, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect - anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.
Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.
Fearless has an awesome premise, where soldiers injected with a serum cause them to lack empathy or fear and have therefore taken over the world. After loving ACID, a twisty standalone dystopian with a badass main character, I was looking forward to finding out what this one had in store.
Fearless wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It starts off really strong, with Cass and her family running away from a super resilient Fearless soldier who invades their home. They escape to the man-made island of Hope, away from civilization. We see glimpses of the Fearless soldiers at the start, but this peters off soon after, causing more questions than answering them. Are the Fearless still themselves? Or are they some sort of human made zombie hybrid? This is inconsistent throughout the book, as we see both zombie-like Fearless and those that are more aware.
Cass is a really bland character who followed others into precarious situations without a second thought. When her brother gets abducted, she’s so desperate to save him that she follows a random trespasser off the island, which is forbidden by law. This gets her into lots of trouble, only to be saved by that dreaded romance. While the romance wasn’t a product of insta-love, I felt it was still bland with a lack of chemistry.
I didn’t mind Myo so much, he was more resourceful than Cass but we knew he had secrets through his point of view. Unfortunately, his secrets were quite predictable, and I felt there was something missing with the way the twists were delivered – without impact or much conviction.
The other point of view in the story is Sol, who is Cass’s childhood friend from Hope. From the beginning, you can see he’s a possessive prick who won’t stop bugging her and views her as his property. Disturbingly, Cass even considers the following to get him to help her:
For a second, I think about telling him that if he helps me, I’ll go out with him. – Cass
After Sol declares his love for Cass, he’s adamant that she should love him back. And when she doesn’t, here’s what he does:
For a second – just a second – I think about slamming a first into her face. Instead, I punch the climbing wall near her head, making her jump and gasp. Then, my knuckles throbbing, I turn and walk away. – Sol
That has unhealthy friendship written all over it.
Much of the novel is quite slow, with a lot of bland padding in it going from this place to there. It’s injected with quite a bit of action, but those slow parts in between are quite agonising. I wish there was a lot more here, more interesting characters, more thorough world building, and if nothing else, even a romance that I could ship, but everything was just so bland that I was bored throughout.
Fearless lacked conviction and a strong hook to form a connection with. I found myself bored at the characters, the constant travelling in the book, the lack of world building and the run of the mill romance. Even the twists and turns, which were excellent in ACID, were predictable. Being a standalone, the ending kind of drifts off, leaving you wondering what happened next.
Don’t let this put you off Emma Pass however, check out my review for ACID. At least the cover is cool, right?
Rating: 2 out of 5
Thank you to Random House Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.