Signal Horizon

See Beyond

{Book Review} The Fearing Books Two and Three by John F. D. Taff

I would like to apologize on behalf of myself and my team at Signal Horizon for not reviewing book two when it came out. There’s a reason why they call John F.D. Taff the King of Pain, because these novels really brought the pain. If you haven’t jumped on The Fearing train, you need to fix that and buy yourself a ticket, because this serial novel is the horror event of the 21st century.

Book Two: Water & Wind, and Book Three: Air & Dust are the perfect follow ups to the first novel. In fact, that’s one thing that Taff is great at, building suspense by building up the plot. He allows room for action, for the characters to grow, for the reader to grow attached to the characters, then like a greedy man, he shoves his hand into your chest and rips out the beating red thing that makes us feel emotion and leaves us on the ground writhing in pain.

Book Two continues where Book One left off Carli, Kyle, and Sarah have escaped the snakes and the human eating moths, to gain composure and try to find their homes. The bus tour continues moving East, where they witness a shocking event in Arizona, that is intense and harrowing. Adam is working with Jelnik, and we begin to learn more about his character, and the villain that he is. We also get introduced to new characters in this book, Reverend Mark Hubert and a strange girl named Monday. All these characters tie into each other in a great way, and Monday seems to be the rival character to Adam, but time will tell.

Book Two has some amazing set pieces, including a cannibal attack that is horrifying and heart breaking, a KKK raid that is one of the darkest things I’ve ever read, and more surprises in store. We also learn in book two a theory of what might be causing the fears to come back to earth and attack the humans. When book two ends, you will be on the ground, curled up in a ball and crying, wishing you had book three. Which is now out, so you’re in luck.

Book Three is a book that is a bit different than the other two. Books one and two are very fast paced, intense, scary, and suspenseful. Book three slows things down. We get a sense that Taff is moving into the end game, and he had to slow things down to help the reader acclimate themselves while he sets up the chess pieces. That’s not to say it’s slow, there are still a handful of action scenes, and its as suspenseful as it’s always been. Most of the characters take a backseat to a group of survivors who have banded together in an airport. Normally in an apocalyptic novel there is safety in numbers, but as you will see, in a world where our fears come to life maybe it’s best to stay apart.

That’s what I love most about this novel, the apocalyptic scenario. We’ve seen so many apocalyptic stories that the genre has kind of phased itself out. Chuck Wendig’s The Wanderers was great, but The Fearing is even better. It’s fresh, it’s original, and its heartbreaking. What more could you want? Nothing, because as far as I’m concerned, this is the best apocalyptic horror novel since The Stand or Swan Song.

The apocalyptic scenario mentioned above is that people’s fears come to life and attack them. The concept that the novels follow is that there is this metaphysical space that stores all of our fears. This space is a machine, it only serves one purpose, to store the fears. Well, now it’s full, and it has to reset itself. That means dumping all of our fears onto the earth, and letting us wade in the muck to survive and see it through. This is an interesting scenario because while we have Adam, who is our main villain. The cause of the apocalypse is the indifference of machines. A machine is built or created to serve a person, the machine doesn’t feel or care, so, this machine has fulfilled its purpose and is resetting itself, and we are paying the price.

Taff is also making a lot of commentary about people in this novel, relationships, courage, loss, and hope all tie into the theme of this novel. Book three expands on these a little, but book three is also the section of any long apocalyptic novel where the characters are given space to breathe, grieve and develop. They’re in good hands with John F.D. Taff, or horrible hands, since I’m still recovering after what happened in book two.

We here at Signal Horizon give all three books in this serialized novel a strong seal of approval and if you’re a horror fan who hasn’t got started on these. Fix that as soon as you can; trust me, you won’t regret it.