Fellside by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All The Gifts was one of my favourite reads of 2014, so I’d been looking forward to Fellside with some relish. Sad to say, it failed to live up to my expectations.

It’s not a terrible book by any means, but it does read like a weirdly paranormal episode of Bad Girls, which I can’t believe is what M. R. Carey was hoping for.

The book follows convicted murderer Jess Moulson, in the wake of a fire which killed a young boy living in the apartment above her. With no memory of the events she was convicted for and a history of substance abuse, Jess is sentenced to life in Fellside prison, and tries to piece back together the steps that lead her there.

And she’s also haunted by the ghost of the boy she killed. So that’s something.

The rest of the plot revolves around a prison drugs ring, run by a powerful inmate, a bent guard and a blackmailed doctor. The ins and outs of their relationships were less interesting than the average episode of Orange Is The New Black, and by the time one of Jess’s lawyers fell in love with her burned face because of his past as a secret cutter, the whole thing was just not particularly credible.

I struggled to get into Fellside, and am not certain I would have finished it if I hadn’t had a week off work. I didn’t actively dislike it, although the ending was disappointing. Perhaps if I hadn’t had such high expectations set by The Girl With All the Gifts it wouldn’t pale so much in comparison, but it just didn’t live up to Carey’s potential.

[Read from 12 February – 20 March 2017]

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