Fellside by M.R. Carey
Jess is convicted of starting a fire that accidentally killed a young boy living in her apartment building. She is sent to Fellside, a correctional facility on the Yorkshire moors, to a ward where the worst of the worst reside under maximum security. It looks like she's there for life when something happens that gives her hope--Alex, the boy who died in the fire, is trying to make contact, and he's not sure that she is the one who killed him after all.
What I thought:
Firstly, I'd like to say that I love the way M.R. Carey writes. It's concise and descriptive and just very well done.
However, the majority of this book did disappoint me. Now, I suppose that a little more research into the plot or already existing reviews would probably have given me a little bit of a clue as to what this book is really about, but with authors I've read (and liked) before, I read the blurb and accepted the story as something I would like to read.
So here I was, expecting some mysterious and intriguing supernatural story taking place in a prison, and to some extent, this story was just that. However, it came along with a whole other plot arc that had very little to do with the "main plot" until they solidly converged...at about 60% through the book.
Jess's pov was interesting to me, and what she was doing kept me invested enough to keep reading to find out what was happening with her side of the story, but the other chapters followed other inmates/employees of the prison and their convoluted drama with a drug smuggling ring gone awry.
Now, I appreciate that the secondary arc makes sense. We're in a prison, things like this are bound to happen. I'm not sure if the author was trying to make a point about corruption and power inside a correctional facility, but to me, it felt like this part of the story had sort of been thrust upon me without my approval. It felt a little like a non-comedic version of Orange is the New Black, and frankly, if I had any desire to read something like that, I already would have.
These bits dragged on for me and *literally* put me to sleep (no, really. I fell asleep multiple times during these chapters. Possibly a result of reading in bed, but if it had been engaging, I would have felt more awake, right?).
That being said, I really liked the supernatural aspect of the story. The Other Place was a really unique in-between world and I liked that we learned about it as Jess & Alex remembered/traveled through it. This part of the story had twists and turns that I wasn't expecting, and once the two storylines came together, I think it worked out well.
It just didn't happen soon enough for me.
Rating: 3.5 stars