Published by Orbit on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Horror & Ghost Stories, Suspense, Thrillers
Source: From the publisher
The unmissable and highly anticipated new literary thriller from the author of the international phenomenon 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.
Will she listen?
When I read it…
I read this between March 18th and 23rd 2016.
What I’d heard before I read it:
Mostly great things, that people hadn’t wanted to put it down! I couldn’t resist this one because I really enjoyed The Girl with All The Gifts.
What worked for me:
- The atmosphere: I was actually expecting Fellside to be a lot scarier than it was, but I enjoyed the way Carey instead made you feel just vaguely uneasy instead. The book isn’t scary, but it is definitely uncomfortable, and that made it hard to put down, and easy to get sucked back in once you did.
- The interlinking stories: Fellside has a lot of different characters, and the way these characters gradually interlink, with their plotlines becoming more and more entangled, reminded me in many ways of a Jodi Picoult novel (which I pretty much universally love, so that’s a good thing!).
- The mystery: Although Jess didn’t particularly care about her trial, and whether she’d burned down the flat, I desperately did want to know the exact details, and that plotline had me hooked from the beginning.
What didn’t quite work for me:
- The paranormal/horror: A lot of the reviews I’d read before I started said Fellside was really scary, and given that I’m a bit of a wimp, I waited until I’d psyched myself up for something super scary before starting. When I started though, I didn’t find the whispering walls particularly sinister, and actually an awful lot more of the tension came from the prison-drama, which although not bad, wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Many, many reviewers are comparing Fellside to “Orange is the New Black meets *paranormal film or book*” and while I agree with the Orange Is the New Black comparison, the supernatural elements were a bit weak to me. If you’ve seen Inside Out, the scene where they enter abstract thought is about how I felt about the supernatural elements – they were all sort of fuzzy and unclear, and certainly not as spooky as I’d expected.
- The length/pacing: At virtually 500 pages, Fellside felt a bit longer and a bit slower than it needed to be, and there were times, particularly early on, when the story didn’t really feel like it was going anywhere so it took me a while to get engrossed.
- The ending: Difficult to comment without spoilers, but I wasn’t a fan of the ending!
I didn’t dislike Fellside, but I just wasn’t wowed by it, and it probably isn’t one that I’d bother re-reading later, so overall, this was just an okay read for me. I’m a little disappointed, since I went in with high expectations after The Girl With All The Gifts, but even had this book been written by someone else, I think ultimately it still would have been just an okay read. Predominantly a prison-drama, with a few paranormal elements, and no characters I particularly connected with, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t really my cup of tea. I definitely seem to be among the minority though, so if you’re curious I would absolutely give it a go!