Sunday, 23 March 2014

Fear of God

Fear of God (Trials of Strength #1)

Matthew R. Bell

4 out of 5

Lucas Bishop covets his normal, predictable life. So when his father is rushed to hospital and he comes home to his mother lying in a pool of blood, he doesn't think things can get much worse. 

He's wrong. 

People in the small out of the way town of Greystone have changed. Friends, families, strangers. All start to butcher one another, their sanity and recognition gone and in its place is the desperate need to kill. Thrust into this world with a group survivors, they will have to navigate it, trapped in town, with no help on the way. 

The goal is easy. Survive and escape, but with an enigmatic force behind the towns change, Lucas and the survivors will have to unravel the mystery, all the while staying alive. 

The big question isn't whether you can survive. 

It's what are you willing to give up to do it?

The town of Greystone is concealing a secret. One moment, it's life as normal; the next the residents have become mindless animals, driven only by blood and death.
In the middle of this apocalypse, Lucas Bishop and a small group of uninfected must survive.

This might not be the longest book, but I think that plays in it's favour. Once you start, you are hooked into the story and intrigue, and I had to finish it in one day. It doesn't dwell in drawing out side plots that I personally find infuriating in this genre; it focusses very much on Lucas' concerns.

The Good:
Bell has a knack for sketching a complete character within a few pages. It felt like every background character was their own person, with their own ambitions; which is always important when a story focusses on a small group living in a confined space.
The story is intense, a great mix of horror and suspense. It keeps you guessing what is behind the sudden violence in this town - is it an apocalypse, zombies, a religious plague?
Likewise, Bell keeps the suspicion high with who can be trusted. Suspicion falls on every character, without feeling forced.
Lucas is a good, central character - which is good news, as it is told from his point of view. He's just the average guy, very likeable, and keeps a human feel to this nightmare. His position in the group is as unstable and under scrutiny as everyone else. Even nearing the end when the truth comes out, he's almost an outsider; but still trying to save the group despite their rejections.

The Bad:
There's not much to put here.
It wasn't quite a 5 star for me. In the first half of the book, there were times I felt lost and disorientated; which came as result of the 1st-person narrative and Lucas spending a lot of time unconscious.
There were a couple of scenes that just didn't seem to fit. For example, (slight spoiler) why wasn't there more fuss over the fact that the enemy had managed to get into their relatively secure area and hang the doctor?

Overall, I think this is a great debut, and I can see this novella as being the origin of a new hero - I can't wait to see what happens with Lucas Bishop next!

Goodreads link

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