Fellside (M.R. Carey)

Fellside is a novel by M.R. Carey.
Finished on: 21.6.2019

Jess Moulson is one of the inmates at Fellside prison. She was convicted of arson and murder after a fire that started in her apartment killed another inhabitant of the house, all while Jess was out on heroin. That other inhabitant? Alex Beech, a 10-year-old boy. Ridden by guilt, Jess is ready to shuffle of this mortal coil herself, when she is visited by Alex’ ghost who tells her that he was already dead when the fire started, but he seems to be confused about what happened. Jess promises him that she will find out what really happened. Easier said than done as she is still an inmate in a high security prison.

Fellside isn’t bad, but I was far from loving it as much as I loved all his other stuff so far. It is a decent read, but it didn’t leave me as excited as The Girl with All the Gifts or The Unwritten.

The book cover showing a dead branch in front of a foggy blue background. In the distance we can just make out a big building.

Fellside is a very well written book, and has a very interesting and unusual concept in the dreamscapes that I really loved. The characterization is also spot-on and gives you a vivid impression of all the people in the story. So, those parts certainly work.

What didn’t work that much for me was the story. It just didn’t convince me – one of the big plot twists seems so obvious that I am hesitant to call it a plot twist at all, but just to be safe: [SPOILER] who Jess believes to be Alex’ ghost isn’t actually Alex. And if he isn’t him, there is only one other option of who he could be [/SPOILER]. And I would be fine if there hadn’t been any plot twist, it’s just that the book makes such a mystery out of it that I got the impression that I was supposed to be surprised and just wasn’t.

And the ending was simply too smooth and happy. I’m usually not one to complain about happy endings, but in this case it stretched my credulity of it. So, overall I had a pretty mixed, but still overall very positive experience with Fellside. It probably won’t become my favorite of Carey’s novels, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good read.

Summarizing: engaging and good.

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