You’re gong to have to start calling me a John FD Taff fan. Because I know everything he writes I’m going to love. Short stories...yup. Novels...yup. The first part of a serialized novel...yup.
The Fearing (Fire and Rain) is the King of Pains entry into the post-apocalyptic epic group that includes classics like The Stand and Swan Song. This is only the first part of The Fearing but so far, it’s headed in the same direction as those classics. I couldn’t help but notice the subtitles for each chapter which give brief descriptions of what events occur in that chapter. I don’t know if Taff intentionally did that as a way of channeling Robert McCammon who did something similar in Swan Song or if it just happens to occur in both books. I’m going to guess it was intentional and I think it hits the perfect note.
The story itself is of course well written. Because this is only the first part of the story, I’m still left with a lot of questions, but knowing Taff’s work, this story is going to maintain the high level it sets in the first part and I have a feeling it will get even better.
This part clocks in at just around a hundred pages, not much space, but it is enough for Taff to create a world, and an apocalypse, that the reader cares about and can sink their teeth into. The characters are ones that the reader cares about and wants to see succeed (except for one who could use a little pain courtesy of the King of Pain.)
There is a group of people traveling through Arizona on a road trip, three high school kids in the Midwest and a man who seems to thrive on fear. I have a feeling fear and the way people react to it is going to be forefront in the subsequent installments of The Fearing. A full review isn’t possible because the story isn’t complete but, like waiting for the next installment of Stephen King’s The Green Mile back in the 90’s, I’m going to have to anxiously await the next installment of The Fearing and I can’t wait to read and review it. Engaging from the first word to the last and epic in every way, Part 1 of The Fearing is a strong 5/5 from me.
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