Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.
The story begins when Cass, the heroine, is just ten years old. Cass is living with her parents in a time when drug experimentation has resulted in the military giving their recruits an injection that is meant to prevent post traumatic stress disorder by totally removing fear. The repercussions are mind blowing though as these stronger almost super soldiers quickly turn on those not Fearless and pretty soon the whole planet is at risk.
Cass and her family try to escape to Hope Island with her friend, Sol, and his parents but that's when this tale truly begins. The story is picked up seven years later when Cass is struggling to find her place within the new society the survivors of Hope Island have created. Believing the mainland to be overrun with Fearless, the last thing wanted on the island is any outsiders but when one young Scot, Myo, is discovered it starts a chain of events that will see Cass leaving Hope island and facing the truth.
There's a lot going on in this book. Firstly, it's the emotional journey into adulthood that the central character, Cass, is taking but it's set in an apocalyptic world that could be described as dystopian (a much overused term I'm afraid). The possibility of experimentation for military gains is something feared by many and used to good effect here. It's an horrific idea and Ms Pass cleverly preys on this fear as the victims become more than just altered; they turn into unfeeling disassociated monsters. The concept of emotions determining behaviour is not a new one but these zombie like abominations are truly scary.
As we read, we get three different points of view, Cass, Myo, and Sol and each has their own agenda. Cass is a loyal and brave sort but truly at times her actions and naïveté cause a lot of her problems. About halfway through The Fearless, she encounters something from her past which is truly horrifying but just did not seem to react as strongly as I would have expected. It's possible the sheer amount of change and tragedy she has faced has caused her reaction but I just felt saddened by it.
Myo is a character with secrets and as I was reading I was trying to unravel his storyline and thought it brought an interesting twist to the plot. He was clearly always meant to be a love interest for Cass but nothing is ever straightforward. Sol has been Cass's bedrock for so long that she doesn't really see him. He's a character dealing with all the changes in the world to the best of his ability but the horror encountered has a profound affect on him.
I live in England and have visited several of the places mentioned in The Fearless but the newly named area in Sheffield had me laughing out loud! No spoilers here but those like me who've traveled to that part of the UK will surely get the joke and that surprised me, if honest. Amidst all this chaos, Ms Pass still managed to bring a lighter touch and we even get a canine companion whose bravery will melt the hardest heart.
Did I enjoy The Fearless? Well, l yes I did, but it is written for a target audience younger than me so it's not my perfect read. Nevertheless I'm sure there will be lots who will find this to be a riveting read and I look forward to more from Ms Pass.