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Fear  - Michael  Grant **This review may contain spoilers for the previous four books in the series (and possibly for Fear itself) so tread carefully! If you have not read them please don’t read this review – but read the first book Gone instead.**Original review can be seen here: http://bookprobereviews.com/?p=1585#more-1585…death is better because death is the end of fear, isn’t it? [p.431]Michael Grant has not once disappointed me – and Fear is no exception. Fear was the best of the series so far and that is what you want – when you are so engrossed, so engaged, so absorbed into a series, you just want it to keep getting better and better. Michael delves further into the psyche of the surviving principle cast of characters and how each of them obtained those powers in which they have. And along with the fearfulness and enclosing darkness occurring within The Fayz, we learn about what’s happening on the outside through Connie Temple – Sam’s (and Caine’s) mother. Fear is an outstanding piece of work that deals with human fears and the human psyche: We aren’t just someone. There’s more to each of us than just being someone or just doing something. It’s up to ourselves to transcend our deepest and darkest fears. And that’s what I believe Michael is trying to teach us. It’s sad that now there is only one more book to go until this series comes to his long-awaited conclusion. I can already predict that Light is going to be phenomenal even with a year to go.I cannot write this review without providing quotes because it was just that good! Here are a few quotes about the concept of “fear” that Michael Grant explores to get you started:It’s not the monsters who are so completely different that are scary, Sanjit reflected. It’s the ones who are too human. They carry with them the warning that what happened to them might happen to you, too. [p.150] ‘Most of human history people huddled, scared in the dark. Living in little huts with their animals. Believing the woods around them were haunted by spirits. Wolves and werewolves. Terrors. People would hold onto each other. So that way they wouldn’t be so afraid.’ [p.170] …they assumed all fear must come from a thing or a place. An event. Cause and effect. Like fear was part of an algebra equation.No, no, no, so not getting the point of fear. Because fear wasn’t about what made sense. Because fear wasn’t about what made sense. Fear was about possibilities. Not things that happened. Things that might.Things that might … Threats that might be there. Murderers. Madmen. Monsters. Standing just a few inches from him, able to see him, but his eyes useless. The threats, they could laugh silently at him. They could hold their knives, guns, claws right in his face and he wouldn’t be able to see.The threat could be. Right. There. [p415-416] In Fear, Michael Grant introduces an “outside” perspective to the situation through Connie Temple among others. It is within the very first chapter of the book that you can read about the goings on outside the FAYZ and this provides us with a taste of fresh air since we have been inside the FAYZ ever since the beginning of the series. Outside they are trying to piece together what this occurrence is and how to end it – this leads to the military being called in to detonate it but through more research by Connie, this will just do more damage then the damage it would do. These chapters were interesting because it really did transfer to the adult characters that have been extremely minor from the beginning since we’ve been just reading about these children that are fifteen, or now sixteen-years-old and younger.It’s really hard to be able to talk about the characters since there are so many of them. But Michael Grant has this ability to give every one of his characters, no matter how many there are of them, no matter whether they are major or minor, a unique path to walk. And they were extremely different. The characters that I did however have the greatest interest in and sympathy for in Fear were Astrid, Sam, Caine, and Diana. I can just see you raising your eyebrow wondering how I could ever have compassion for Caine, or even Diana. I’m not sure why I was either, but I did and that’s why I now call Michael Grant God. He’s a master at triggering your emotions even for the mostly dark or misunderstood characters. And that’s why BZRK is what it is, because there is ultimately no good or bad person – besides that monster Drake and the gaiaphage, The Darkness. Stepping away from that, I was also moved by Dekka and what she deals with regarding Brianna. So sweet. But that doesn’t mean all the other characters didn’t have the same impact as those I indicated because they did.Oh my Astrid! Astrid has been one of the characters that I’ve invested myself into from the beginning. She just has this fight within her, this integrity, and maturity beyond her years after having to care for her autistic brother Pete. In Fear I was so surprised at how much deeper Michael Grant was able to dig and unearth in her character – and it wasn’t just Astrid but with every character that this was the case. After Plague, Astrid continues to live with the guilt as she killed Pete and so escapes to be solitary and think about her worth and to reflect on everything. After this conflict within herself caused by Pete’s death, she has changed severely as a character, much more different to when we first met her in Gone. When she returns and is asked by Edilio whether she made peace while reflecting/penancing she says that she has changed and no longer believes in God, and as a result her response affects Edilio which becomes pretty obvious later on to what it refers to. Here is how the conversation unravels after she says ‘I’ve changed’:‘Ah. Like that?’ Her silence was confirmation. ‘Lots of people, they go through bad times, they lose their faith. But they come back to it.’‘I didn’t lose my faith, Edilio. I killed it. I held it up to the light and I stared right at it and for the first time I didn’t hide behind something I’d read somewhere, or something I’d heard. I didn’t worry about what anyone would think. I didn’t worry about what anyone would think. I didn’t worry about looking like a fool. I was all alone and I had no one to be right to. Except me. So I just looked. And when I looked …’ She made a gesture with her fingers, like things blowing away, scattering in the wind. ‘… There was nothing there.’Edilio looked very sad.‘Edilio,’ she said, ‘you have to believe what’s right for you, what you feel. But so do I. It’s hard for someone who has had to carry the nickname “Astrid the Genius” to admit she was wrong.’ She made a wry smile. ‘But I found out that I was … not happier, maybe; that’s not the right word … It’s not about happy. But … honest. Honest with myself.’’So you think I’m lying to myself?’ Edilio asked softly.Astrid shook her head. ’Never. But I was.’ [p.110] Then less than fifty pages later, Astrid finally comes to terms with her predicament – these two pages are some of my favourite pages ever (page 154 and 155 if you’re wondering but this may change in the final copies). She looked back to the old Astrid and how she judged herself all the time and needed motives to justify herself. Then she goes on about sacrificing Pete for the common good like every other tyrant in history. But she still debates with herself whether it was immoral or wrong. And comes to the conclusion that what she has done will be with her like a scar as it can’t be unhappened, and even though it was terrible, it was ‘as it should be’. If anything, Astrid was the first character to overcome her fear and that was the fear of and within herself from what she had done.And then there is Sam who has to deal with the literal darkness by providing light within the FAYZ and the securities, and with this he realises what his fear was along. For Caine, his fear surfaced after Penny had humiliated him, scared him and stripped him of everything he worked hard to get: power. And well Diana, she had that baby. But I want you to read this series, this book and to discover what happens. I’m one to not quit talking about something that I love so much and that’s what I’m afraid of: spoiling it for all of you. I’m afraid I may have already spoiled it a tad but it’s hard not to when it is the fifth book and there is not much you can talk about besides the obvious things like the writing or whether you loved or hated it or if it gripped you, made you mad, made you emotional, made you stand in a pool of tears and blood. But I like to excavate deeper into the book, its characters, its meaning, its purpose, its teachings. Because Fear has changed me greatly. And I have Michael Grant to thank for that for making me realise my own fears and that I have to deal with them now and overcome them, and it is only yourself that can do that.Fear was an amazingly written instalment for the Gone series. I now understand the concept and the reason for the FAYZ, for the powers, for this entire idea from Michael Grant’s unbelievable mind that I want to steal. Even though most of this book deals with the human psyche and character development, there is a plot that just sweeps you off your feet and by the time you reach the climax you would be winded from the very amazingness of it. And oh that very touching scene involving the unexpected death of one of the beloved characters. I am sick in the stomach to know that there is only one more book left to go in the series. I feel sick now because I don’t know what I should expect from it besides greatness. Light is my most-anticipated book for 2013 and it will remain on that top spot until the time comes to find out the conclusion to this phenomenal series.