The Fearless by Emma Pass Review: Bland apocalyptic novel

January 14, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

The Fearless by Emma Pass Review: Bland apocalyptic novelThe Fearless by Emma Pass
Published by Random House on April 24, 2014
Source: Publisher
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. 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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41 responses to “The Fearless by Emma Pass Review: Bland apocalyptic novel

  1. Faye M.

    Bah, this is rather disappointing 🙁 I didn't like ACID that much but I had hoped the next book would be better (thus giving me a reason to give it a second chance). The romance worries me, and I'm really not going to read another one where there is no meaningful development whatsoever.
    My recent post ARC Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

  2. cristinasbookreviews

    Well that stinks. There's nothing worse than a meh book but I think when you are bored with the characters in general…that's never a good sign. Predictable+run of the mill romance, IMO is the kiss of death. Hoping that your next book is awesome!!! 😉
    My recent post We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  3. Bec

    I think I had a feeling Fearless would be mediocre. ACID was good but I managed to predict a lot of the twists, I think, and the story wasn't as exciting as I'd hope. Fearless sounds like more of the same. So much missed potential 🙁 Maybe if Cass had a bit more of a backbone/brain and actually questioned things and went on her own path it wouldn't have been so annoying :/
    My recent post What’s in a Name? Hopefully Not Mine

    • I know, it's like the author had a fantastic idea for a book but felt pressured during the follow-up. Ah wells, at least it was a standalone.

  4. Eugenia

    Oh dear 🙁 It's hard to find a dystopia that is actually really enjoyable, original AND has well-developed characters these days (of course, that's not to say that they aren't out there). I'll probably be giving this one a miss, but Acid still intrigues me, so I might try that one. Thanks for the review Jeann!
    My recent post ARC Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

  5. Oh bummer, what's with all the horrible guys seriously? This one did sound good, but it sucks that the delivery was so bad. Cass sounds absolutely stupid, I can't believe how useless she is. And I'm not sure I even like the sound of either love interests…not a book for me! Thanks for the honest review lovely xx

  6. Hm… Honestly, books like this have turned me off dystopians enough that I only read them if I have heard incredible things about them, like Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with this book. I feel like dysopian is starting to become a very tired genre with a lot of poorly written books in it. Like the dystopians I tried to write when I was ten sort of bad.
    Anyways, I hope your next read is better!
    My recent post Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

    • I know, a lot of people are feeling the same but I'm hoping one day there will be another dystopian that wows me you know? I love the Lunar Chronicles!

  7. Boo for bland main characters, and bleaugh for that unhealthy friendship! 🙁 Things that I haaate seeing in books. Unless the unhealthy friendship is outed as unhealthy, and the protag manages to cut the toxic person out of their life.

    Definitely going to give this one a pass. o:
    My recent post Talk To Me 54: Noisy reading

  8. LilysBookBlog

    I didn't read Acid but i'll make a mental note to pick it up if I see it at the library and stay away from this one :$
    It's always a shame when books end up being so bland, especially dystopian and adventure type novels, SINCE THERE'S SO MANY WAYS A STORY COULD POTENTIALLY GO. *sigh* Hopefully you enjoy your next read better Jeann!

  9. Well, Sol sounds like a delightful character, doesn't he? I read one book by Emma Pass and I didn't like it for the reasons you mentioned too, Jeann. The characters were bland so was the romance. It was so … flat and didn't make me feel anything.
    I'm sorry this made you feel similarly, Jeann. I hope your next read is better.
    Wonderful review.
    My recent post Blog Tour Stop : Origin of Angels by Christie Rich

    • Yeah, I think her other one was ACID, I really liked the twisty part in that one but a shame about this one. Thanks NIck!

  10. karawrites15

    Dear god Sol sounds like an *awful love interest… If you could even really call him that. This doesn't look like a book I'd enjoy judging from your review, however I think I will still read it because I did like ACID. That novel was pretty good from what I remember of it. It's a shame you didn't like this one more!
    My recent post Beautiful People #5 | In Which You Learn About Me, as a Writer

  11. Oh I find this a lot for adventure/dystopians, unfortunately. 🙁 Everything seems to be following a formula and it's like they forget to make the characters AWESOME. I love for awesome characters. I don't think I'll even try this. *sigh* I never ended up reading Acid, though, but now that I know you like it I'm definitely searching it out. xD
    My recent post #BookwormProblems