Jess Moulson is convicted of murder. But it's a murder she can't remember committing. Nothing is quite clear from the drug-fuelled night when a blaze set in Jess' apartment killed the little boy upstairs. But when the media brands her a child killer, she starts to believe it herself.
Now she's on her way to Fellside, the biggest, most formidable women's prison in Europe, standing in the bleak Yorkshire moors.
But Jess won't be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is an unexpected visitor...the ghost of the 10-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help - and he won't take no for an answer.
©2016 M. R. Carey (P)2016 Hachette Audio
"Haunting, heartbreaking." (Vogue on The Girl with All the Gifts)
"As fresh as it is terrifying." (Joss Whedon on The Girl with All the Gifts)
"A masterpiece." (Sun on The Girl with All the Gifts)
"Scary, tense and fast-paced...but with a heart-warming tenderness." (Marie Claire on The Girl with All the Gifts)
"If you only read one novel this year, make sure it's this one, it's amazing." (Martina Cole on The Girl with All the Gifts)
Reviews for M. R. Carey: "Original, thrilling and powerful." (Guardian)
"Haunting, heartbreaking." (Vogue)
"A great read that takes hold of you and doesn´t let go." (John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of Let the Right One In)
"Genre-Hopping Mystery Drama"
With Fellside M R Carey has attempted something very ambitious. The story genre-hops considerably before settling very much into a paranormal mystery. Imagine Prison Break as a setting for Luke Smitherd’s Physics of the Dead with some meaty courtroom drama popping up along the way and then a full paranormal mystery drama emerging. The plot becomes much more subtle than it first appears which requires considerable scene setting before the momentum builds towards a quite gripping ending.
Given where the majority of the book is set it’s no surprise that the violence is hard and uncompromising. It’s made even starker by the fact that much of it involves women as either the perpetrators or victims or indeed both!
I don’t think everyone will be entirely convinced that the whole thing works. There did seem to be an incongruence between some facets of the story. The "fresh" innocence of the ghost did not feel genuinely convincing to me when set against the bleak backdrop of tough characters and their desperate plight. It didn’t quite sit right particularly through the middle of the book.
The acid test though was passed for me as I cared what happened to these characters, not just Jess, right up until the end. Throughout the book there are some powerful scenes but it’s the last third that really demands attention if you can accept the paranormal premises that are put forwards.
Finty Williams is a classy narrator and a good story teller. If she struggled with anything it was in not quite being able to carry the threat of the nastier of the characters with full conviction. Other than that she carries off a difficult task with a very enjoyable performance.
In summary this is a deep book which ambitiously attempts to cover multiple genres. I think it just about pulls it off and the plot contains a number of genuine and in some cases quite subtle surprises. The way it mixes the genres might be unsettling for some but I think it’s well worth investing in.
I feel conflicted by this book and the need to review it.
What I enjoyed about the book: it was well written, the narration is good, and the idea is new(ish), or rather, it's a different take on the supernatural world of ghosts than I've previously read.
What I didn't enjoy: occasionally, the plot was a little tenuous or convenient for the author; it wasn't a very uplifting read/listen.
I was left feeling a little bit hollow by this book. Just like "Girl with all the Gifts", there is no happy ending where our heroine conquers all. But equally, with this story, what other ending could there be, and still be "realistic"? It's a brutal story, very little positive going on, and the imagery is stark.
Certainly, it was well written and narrated. And if you're a fan of MR Carey, and/or this genre, then it's worth a punt. I will probably buy the next MR Carey book too, but I'll be sure to have a good, uplifting, humour-filled story standing by to pick me up afterwards.....
"Refreshing, gripping listen!"
It's up there in my top listens. One of the best books I've listened to this year. Great story - relevant with TV series like Wentworth and Orange is the New Black but original with the supernatural element. Also refreshing to have a main character that isn't stereotypically beautiful.
The ending, which I don't want to give away. It wasn't quite what I was expecting and that was refreshing.
Finty Williams is an exceptional narrator, one of my favourite female narrators, and she does a stunning job with this book. Her voice gave me a perfect picture of Jess in particular.
There were a few parts of this novel that moved me but I won't go into them for fear of giving any of the plot away. Character development in particular for some of the inmates was extremely touching.
Unlike anything else I've read. Definitely worth a listen!
"Really good interesting book a must read"
I loved this book as well as the previous book by M.R. Carey. They are so different from any thing else I have listened to. If you like well written imaginative books this is for you.
"Fabulous and compelling. Carey is on fire!"
Sadly, books of this quality turn me into an antisocial hermit - I just can't be doing with people trying to talk to me when there's a good book on the go.
Finty's reading is delicious, characterful and accurate, with none of the distracting errors of pronunciation found elsewhere.
"Challenging to Listen To."
Loved the 'The Girl With All The Gifts' and looked forward to listening to a different book by this author. My experience when listening, although uncomfortable at times, the story certainly kept my attention going especially with the wonderful voice of Finty Williams. A book that gives you lots of pauses for thought when you are put into the shoes of someone else. There were some faults with the story itself, as it works hard to mix different genres together.
"I story that keeps you guessing"
Firstly the genre of the book confused me, but the story was engaging, I couldn't stop listening. That also has something to do with the narrator, who I found to be amazing.
"thoroughly enjoyed throughout"
great story, good characters, nicely written, nicely read, better than girl with all the gifts. thank you for the entertainment.
good in parts, but some sections of the book, especially the chapters when they enter the 'other world' didn't do it for me
interesting bits were the court room scenes and goings on within the prison. the whole, ghost , dream. afterlife felt inaccurately described and poorly thought. not in keeping with the rest of the book.
This was literally a waste of time. Such a build up to such a disappointing ending.
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