The Fearless by Emma Pass (2014)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Page Length: 400 pages (paperback edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
The Fearless is a dystopian YA novel that deals with an aftermath of a virus outbreak gone wrong. The virus was a result of a drug that was supposed to help soldiers recovering from PTSD, but ended up turning them into zombie-like aggressive humans. Going into this novel I’ve seen and read stories similar to this before so I was a bit worried if I would like it and if would stand out among other dystopian reads.
The story starts out where the first major outbreak happens worldwide as Cass is a young child, then jumps into present day where Cass is now a teenager. She lives on an isolated island with a community of people where they find some kind of normal life after the outbreak. One day an outsider named Myo breaches security on the pretense of needing medicine and it causes a ruckus on top of “the fearless” kidnapping Cass’s brother Jori.
After the general refuses to search for Jori, Cass decides to go on her own rescue mission. She trusts Myo on a whim, breaks him out of the island’s prison and they leave to escape the island. Cass wants desperately to find her brother Jori and rescue them from “the fearless”. In doing so she is very vulnerable. She doesn’t completely buy Myo’s story but has to trust him in order to survive. She’s lived in isolation so long and being on land is dangerous territory. Meanwhile, Myo is hiding secrets of his own, readers are unsure of what is motive is so we have to rely on snippets of his and Cass’s alternating POV.
This story had a really great premise with the concept of the fearless and this interesting, but very scary world that Pass has created. Ultimately it fell flat for me though due to its clichés and it’s predictability of the plot. There is not a lot of guess-work for the reading audience. Another aspect I was dissatisfied with is that while some of the characters were intriguing, others fell flat due to a lack of back story and they also felt one-dimensional. On top of that, the insta-love was quite irritating.
All in all, I’m on the fence about this book. It’s an exciting action pack story, but I feel that some of the characters and the plot needed more work.