Meadow Woodson has been trained to survive. This is a prequel to The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings, and it is set in a blood-soaked world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.
Meadow Woodson's father calls it The Fear Trials, and it is a rite of passage in their family. Meadow is up against her brother Koi. The Fear Trials will both harden her and make her brave. If Meadow wins, she will get a weapon of her own and the right to leave the Woodsons' houseboat without her father or mother at her side. Set in the violent, complex, and mysterious world of The Murder Complex, and introducing Meadow Woodson—a teenage girl trained to survive no matter what the cost—and her family, who are together for the last time on their houseboat in the Florida Everglades.
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I can count on one hand the number of novellas I have read. The Fear Trials makes three. While I am not really the biggest supporter of the novellas, especially since they're only available digitally, I found myself enjoying this one for two reasons (which I'll get to later in this review).
So let's look beyond my usual annoyance with novellas and take into account one very important detail. Even though I have yet to read The Murder Complex, I think that The Fear Trials will do nicely on setting reader's on the path to understanding part of how things work within the world that Lindsey Cummings has created in her book.
It is one cruel world that Meadow and her family live in. While I'm not sure how things came to be that way, I can understand why her father pushes her so when it comes to learning how to survive. The Fear Trials was at times sad, as you watched her struggle to be as cold as she needed to be; and struggle against the triumph that succeeding made her feel. I loved that dualness when it came to her character. It just made her story all the more interesting, especially with the way the book was written.
What I enjoyed about my first glimpse of Lindsey Cummings' writing would, in fact, be her writing. I really enjoyed seeing the beginnings of Meadow's training and how the Fear Trails will probably shape her character going into The Murder Complex. While definitely dark, I really enjoyed the look into the the setting of her book and getting to know more about the characters' backgrounds and their motivations for surviving in the landscape of the book. While extremely short, it is definitely an interesting introduction and taste of what one will find in book one.
Even though, I personally, feel better prepared for the actual book. I am still not sold on the the novella trend going on within the publishing industry (but that is a story for another time and place). When it comes to this novella, I only have two complaints. The first being that I am not a fan of digitally formatted books; they hurt my eyes and take me forever to read. While that is more of a personal complaint, my other problem is that while clearing up some questions, like, how far Meadow's training went, I was disappointed that there was not more about why things are the way they are. Although, I am hoping that within the The Murder Complex some of my lingering questions will be answered.
Final Verdict: The Fear Trials- An interesting way to introduce reader's to the world that Meadow lives in. Intriguing enough to pique my curiosity and whet my appetite for the first book.
The Fear Trials earns
About the author:
Lindsay Cummings is the 20-year-old author of THE MURDER COMPLEX, as well as its sequel, coming 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and the MG trilogy THE BALANCE KEEPERS, coming Fall 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.
Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, can’t get enough of her two pesky German Shepherds, wolf cub, and two horses. She's still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts--it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on twitter @lindsaycwrites
You can haunt Lindsey Cummings at-
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