“It’s a strange thing to wake up not knowing who you are.”
Jess wakes up in hospital. There’s talk of a fire, a death. When she’s told she’s the one responsible for both, her drugged-up memories can’t deny it. Overwhelmed by guilt, she thinks prison is exactly where she belongs. And so she arrives in Fellside, a notorious women’s prison, where she’s already hated. Shunned or threatened by the other inmates, it’s no wonder she finds her long-forgotten childhood inner world reopening. But when the other prisoners start to dream strange dreams – is all really what it seems?
I absolutely adored The Girl With All The Gifts – I mean, book of the year loved. The follow-up, then, was always going to have a LOT to live up to, and really, it was always likely to fall short. But, just a little short 🙂
What Fellside shares with GwAtG is the can’t-put-down, must-read pace and need to find out what’s really happening. I was fascinated by the situation – Carey is excellent at teasing out information little by little, even to his main character – and the dynamic within the prison is superbly done. I’m not a fan of prison dramas so that side of things was relatively novel to me – I have, however, heard others mentions Orange is the New Black in relation to this, so your mileage may vary, as they say. Either way, prepare for some brutality!
Alas, the supernatural side started out intriguingly but in the end was the slightly weaker link for me. Unlike GwAtG, which gripped me with it’s “never saw that before”, there was something vaguely familiar here, and I think that led to me finding the ending just a little ‘hmm’ rather than ‘wow’.
I’m still giving this book a large recommendation. Lower those expectations, fellow admirers of GwAtG, and enjoy this for what it is: a well-written, gripping drama, with added supernatural goings-on.
NetGalley eARC: 496 pages / 100 chapters
First published: 2016
Read from 3rd-10th April 2016
My rating: 8/10