REVIEW: Fear by Kathryn Anne Kingsley

My whole life has been defined by fear. It’s what’s driven everything I’ve ever done. It’s why I’m a firefighter. It’s why I sneak into abandoned buildings. It’s why I drive a motorcycle way too fast. Some people might call me reckless, but when I find myself on the edge of disaster, heart pumping, filled with terror, that’s the only time I feel like I’m alive. What’s the old saying? There is nothing to fear but Fear itself. And one night…Fear proved to me how true that is.

Warnings: Violence

Category: M/F

Fear is a novella about a woman who falls in love with a concept: the concept of fear. Both fear as an experience, as an emotion, as well as Fear the embodiment, the being made of that emotion. A fascinating piece of writing, this is a fast and chilling read, and one that has stuck with me since reading.

WRITING
The first person narration here feels natural and organic. The scope of the story is the main character’s experiences being a thrill seeker for her entire life, leading her to do dangerous jobs and to seek out dangerous places just to give herself a feeling of fear. This eventually leads her to an encounter with the embodiment of Fear itself, an ancient being that has been in love with her for her entire life. It’s a rather dreamlike kind of story, emotionally and character driven. The internal monologues of the main character are very playful, with a dry kind of wit that is very engaging.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT

This is an extremely emotional piece that manages to convey a substantial amount of tension while also feeling sensual and romantic. The POV character’s affection for fear, the experiences of fear, and her seeking out of fear are wonderfully well written. The prose manages to convey both the fear itself, all of those tense, heart clenching, stomach flipping roller coaster feelings, while also conveying her satisfaction in them, her longing for them, and her enjoyment. Thus when the being that is Fear incarnate enters the scene, we have a sense of connection between them while still being afraid with her in the midst of these encounters. A truly breathtakingly emotional work.


WORLDBUILDING

The worldbuilding here is very interesting. It’s more hinted at than outright explored, which is par for the course with horror. There has to be some mystique after all, and if Fear being an entity had been explained it might not have been so surreal and dreamlike (nightmare-like?) which vastly contributes both to the scaryness and the sexiness of the narrative. But the general idea of an intangible concept coalescing into a being created by emotions that lives solely in the mind of a shared human consciousness is very interesting stuff and I really loved the way this novella plays with those ideas a lot.

STEAMINESS

There is some very beautiful scenes depicting the lead characters sexual encounters with Fear, but even before Fear is a character to romance, she is placing herself within situations that will cause herself fear, and these scenes are just as strangely sensual. One of the most unique pieces of sexual writing I have ever read. Her dynamic with Fear is beautiful, and the book manages to depict their encounters as both terrifying as well as soft, gentle, and affectionate. Fear is in love with her, and she is in love with Fear, but that means that when she is with Fear she is also experiencing a substantial amount of fear. The sex scenes aren’t exactly explicitly pornographic, but they are dripping with emotions and tension and had me on the edge of my seat. The entire thing straddles that line between horror and sex, I utterly adored the feelings it brought out in me as I read it.

This is an incredibly unique little novella, and I highly recommend if you like myself have ever pulled your hair out trying to find something more niche and esoteric in the romance genre. It’s fantastically written, and keeps you flipping the pages the entire way through.

Have you read Fear? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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