Let’s face it, stories about children and young adults killing to survive are fascinating, so with the success of books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, it was to no one’s surprise that more like them were on the way. They allow young readers a look inside the primitivity of a world not far off from their own and give them an opportunity to develop or further their internal moral dialogue. While these stories are important, as well as fun to read, the market continues to flood with stories of children set in some sort of post-apocalyptic form of Earth and the “special circumstances” they must overcome. Because of this, it is quite a chore to discern “the bad” from “the good”, but when you finally find the good it makes it all the more worthwhile.
After much searching, I’ve finally found “the good”. The Fear Trials, the 100 page prequel to The Murder Complex written by 20-year-old newcomer Lindsay Cummings, tells the story of child-assassin Meadow Woodson. Meadow lives on a boat with her family in this post-apocalyptic tale where it isn’t safe to be out after dark and where you must kill to find work. Meadow, through training given by her father, must learn to manage the inner-struggle with her morality to survive the Fear Trials to protect the people she loves or face certain death.
It’s short, but sweet giving you all of the details and struggle needed to feel like you know what kind of person Meadow is and where she comes from. There were parts throughout that felt a bit rushed, most of which included the mother, however because this is a novella as well as a prequel, it’s too soon to determine whether or not it was necessary. Overall, The Fear Trials is a fantastic one-sit read that will hook you from the start because although the idea of a child-assassin isn’t a new one, Cummings manages to make it fresh and full of life, leaving the reader wanting more; yearning to know who Meadow will kill next.
8 out of 10 – Think Hit-Girl (Kick-Ass) mixed with a little Katniss (The Hunger Games) and then add a dash of Hanna (2011, Focus Features) and you get Meadow. Sound interesting? You’re telling me. Add to your summer reading list NOW!