Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book


Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2016)
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

486 pages, Hardcover

First published April 4, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

M.R. Carey

26 books5,501 followers
Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel's X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,284 (16%)
4 stars
5,268 (38%)
3 stars
4,446 (32%)
2 stars
1,298 (9%)
1 star
393 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,034 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
June 24, 2018
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best horror category 2016!

 photo IMG_9050_zpsjvlhfvbu.jpg

orange is the new black… with ghosties!*

man, m.r. carey can write a book. but can i write a review? i'm a little gun-shy, since it seems fans of m.r. carey are people who don't like to know what books are about, and would rather have all book reviews everywhere be reduced to thumbs-up or -down emojis.

i keeed, but i'm not looking for any kerfuffles this time, you hear?

this book takes place in a prison. says so on the back.

jess moulson is a prisoner at fellside - a notorious maximum security prison in the bleak moors of yorkshire. she's been incarcerated for arson and murder, when a fire she unwittingly set while in the throes of heroin burned down her flat, causing injuries to herself and her boyfriend, and killing alex beech, the ten-year-old boy upstairs. she's an addict, but not so far gone into her addiction that she's lost her connection to humanity - she feels utterly broken by what she's done, and neither her imprisonment nor the extensive reconstructive surgery she's had to undergo feel like punishment enough; jess' guilt compels her to go on a hunger strike to end herself and her memories, or lack of memories, since she remembers very little about that night.

while jess gets weaker and the other prisoners place bets on how long she will live, jess is visited by a ghostly figure in the shape of a little boy that she perceives to be alex, who tells her that he was dead before the fire even started, but his memories are as vague and confused as jess' own. jess promises to return to the world of the living to help alex figure out the mystery of his death. not for her own vindication, because jess is one giant self-flagellating bleeding heart, but for alex himself, to honor the gentle friendship they'd established before heroin eroded jess' ability to have a relationship with anyone except heroin and her heroin-providing boyfriend john.

the rest of the book is spent exploring alex's mystery, but also uncovering the moving-parts underbelly of fellside, with its not-so-secret hierarchies, resentments, debts, contraband-smuggling, corruption, etc. there's enough archetypal character-overlap that you can totally use your orange is the new black playset when you're acting this book out in your head as you read, but know that this prison is much less quirky-with-occasional-violence than your dollies and while it doesn't reach the level of oz-shenanigans,

there is a lot of stomping. so much stomping.

it's an impressive novel on a number of fronts: the story is the biggie, because it's sprawling and intense, but it keeps you completely in its world, desperate to know what is going to happen and when and to whom. a subset of this is the number of fascinating POV characters peeling back the layers of the story for the reader as all the pieces start to come together in one big horrible bloody tapestry. however, that unsung hero "pacing" is also a huge factor in what makes this book so gulpy. most of the chapters are fewer than ten pages, 3-4 pages on average**, where each chapter switches viewpoint so you're always being propelled forward at great speed, although not always in the same direction.

this book is totally fun and gripping and also totally different from The Girl with All the Gifts. strong open, strong resolution, some lumpy bits in the middle, but overall really spectacular.

my only problem*** with this book is that i kept forgetting the name of it. and it's not that fellside isn't mentioned enough in the book, because it is, but it was the same phenomenon i experienced when i was reading beautiful creatures - i kept calling this "wildfell" or "winterfell" or "wildside" and eventually just saying "the new m.r. carey book."

still and all, i absolutely adored it. 4.5 with wings.

* which oh my god i just realized is an actual thing:

and is contained in a book i own but have yet to read: 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts. amazing.

** through casual flipping, with no mathematical rigor applied.

*** which is not to say that i docked a star for this reason because duh, but is a reason i can give without venturing into spoilertown.


best week ever - in which i receive three books in the mail i really really want to read and maggie really really wants to sleep on.

best week ever part three:

 photo IMG_8088_zpskgnd5irn.jpg

which i hope will have a much less whiny thread than my last m.r. carey review.

best week ever part one
best week ever part two

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Char .
1,614 reviews1,464 followers
April 6, 2016
4.5 *

Fellside is not really a horror story, in my opinion. It's more of a ghost story with horrific elements. Whatever the genre in which it's classified, it's a damn fine book!

Jess is a heroin addict who was badly burned in a fire; a fire in which a young boy was killed. This story begins when Jess wakes up in the hospital and discovers what happened. She is held responsible for the death of the boy, and ends up in prison. I can't tell you anything else about the plot because I believe the reader needs to let it unfold as the author intended.

I thought the beginning of this book was excellent, but then the pacing slowed until about the halfway point. As the plot thickened though, the pacing picked back up again and took off in directions that I doubt anyone could see coming. Much as what made The Girl With All the Gifts a special story, Fellside is also special-it's about the telling of the tale as much as it is the tale itself.

The characters here were not all black and white, and I enjoyed that. They almost all had many layers and nothing much was totally clear about any them until near the very end. Being that the majority of this book took place in a women's prison, I expected the main players to be bad people, and don't get me wrong, some of them were. But the majority of them came across to me as REAL people, not just cardboard cutouts that moved the plot along. And the people that I expected to be the "good" characters had a lot of surprises in store. I bet they surprise you too.

This novel was a mystery to me almost the entire time I was reading. I couldn't guess, (though I tried!), where the story was going to go, what was going to happen or how it would all end up for Jess. I find this to be a rare occurrence, and as such, I relished the journey that was Fellside.

Highly recommended to fans of the author's previous work as well as to fans of ghost stories!

You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Fellside-M-R-Ca...

*Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing the free e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review! This is it. *
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,403 reviews9,537 followers
July 15, 2016
I was not sure at first if I was going to be able to finish this book because it was so sad. And right now, I can't handle sad but I pushed on and it was a good book. It's still very sad.

When Jess wakes up, she's in a hospital room. She's a prisoner though.


She's not sure what has happened. She was in pain. But finally someone tells her she has been charged for killing a little boy in the building she lived in. Jess was friends with this little boy, she treated him the best she could because she knew his home life was bad. How could she be so high that she would burn the building and the boy inside?


When Jess is able to move, they transfer her to Fellside prison. She is kept in an isolated ward because she is dying. She wants to die because she can't stand the thought that she killed her little friend. She is in such despair. I found this to be so sad and the way she was treated. I mean sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they don't look at all of the evidence the right way. Sometimes innocent people take the fall. But...... Jess is seeing Alex in her dreams. He tells her things.

Jess remembers getting high with her boyfriend at the time. She finally got clean but he pulled her back in.. into a world that she should not have been in....

Memory and longing betrayed her. She let him put the tube up against her lips. She breathed in. A shallow breath at first. But the second one was deeper. And from there, by slow and inexorable degrees:
the needle
the first time he hit her and said he was sorry
the first time he hit her and explained why it was her fault
losing her friends
losing her job
burning down the house
murdering Alex Beech.

Alex brings Jess back from the brink of death. She was floating, going away and her brought her back. He had unfinished business for her.


After Jess started to get well, they put her in with the regular convicts even though some thought she shouldn't be placed there. But others thought, she's a child killer, let her get what she deserves. And she did, beatings - things you imagine in jail.

Through all of this bleak, hopelessness.. there is a tiny spark. There is something happening at the prison. There is something that brings the case back open for Jess. All you have to do is look in the right place. And sometimes, just sometimes, you might get help from the spirits that were done wrong.

I did like the book once it got to where it was going. I loved Jess, she wasn't a bad person. She got in with the wrong crowd but don't we all at some point?

I think the book was written very well but don't sit down and read this if your depressed!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews697 followers
May 15, 2017
I really enjoyed this book because of the question it raises about ethics and how responsible is Karen really for what happens to Alex and the whole prison reform thing has been coming up a lot lately but it's not only that I really liked the way she brought all the different strands of the story together. I'm honestly such a sucker for story lines where everything some how comes back together and so I really enjoyed the way things unfolded. I think Carey did such a good job building the anticipation to the climax at the end where everything goes down. I was pretty anxious to know what was going to happen. I know a lot of people didn't like this as much as The Girl With All The Gifts but I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this one even more.

Profile Image for Emma.
971 reviews966 followers
February 16, 2016
My initial feelings of interest petered out and by the end, I was left ambivalent.

Carey's writing is punchy and fun, easily the best part of the book. The premise here mixed mystery with the supernatural, one of my favourite styles, but it failed to keep the pacing necessary to maintain my interest. Seemingly long periods of time in the dreamscape/afterlife were hard going and not always relevant.

The finale kicked it all back up again, but I found myself shrugging as I thought about the review. Overall, the book is forgettable.

My thanks to M. R. Carey, Little, Brown Book Group, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,005 reviews2,597 followers
March 21, 2016
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/03/21/b...

After the brilliant novel that was The Girl with All the Gifts, I swore to myself I would read anything else M.R. Carey writes. Not long after, I was practically beside myself when I found out he was going to be writing a ghost story.

Turns out, Fellside is a very different kind of ghostly tale, and not exactly in the horror vein. Instead, it’s a little bit of mystery, a little bit of paranormal, and even a little bit of court drama, all bundled up in a wonderful package along with Carey’s unique brand of imagination and creativity. The story follows Jess Moulson, a junkie convicted after she set fire to her apartment complex following a heroin bender, accidentally killing her neighbor’s ten-year-old son who was home alone. Even though Jess has no recollection of the events that went down that night, the court ruled it as murder and sentenced her to life in a maximum security prison called Fellside.

Jess is haunted the moment she arrives, not only by the ghost of Alex Beech, the boy she killed, but also by the shame, loneliness and guilt she feels from all the mistakes she made in the past. But instead of plummeting her further into darkness, the spirit of Alex actually rescues her from the abyss and gives her a new sense of hope. Jess immediately makes an enemy of a fellow prisoner named Harriet Grace, the boss of G-Block, when she refuses to run drugs for Grace’s corrupt racket. The road to redemption, Jess believes, is not to commit even more wrongdoings, even though she is aware such attitudes might eventually get her shanked in a place like Fellside. But she has a purpose now, and she is determined to see it through to the end even if it kills her.

In a book like this, there are not a lot of sympathetic characters. In fact, the beginning of Fellside made me boiling mad, and not just because of all the healthcare professionals, prison guards, and other authority figures who were corrupt and/or incompetent, but also because that seemed like such an easy way out for an author to paint someone as a villain. Even someone like Jess took time to grow on me, given the complete and utter disaster she was at the beginning of the story. After all, it is hard to sympathize with someone who has abandoned all hope, becoming entirely convinced of her own worthlessness. However, I now know that Carey set it up this way for a purpose; Jess had to fall far before he could raise her up again and juxtapose that to the new person she becomes. Even so, my favorite characters ultimately came from the most unexpected quarters, mostly minor bit players like Shannon McBride, Fellside’s resident storyteller, or Lorraine Buller, Jess’s taciturn yet compassionate cellmate.

The story also didn’t hook me right away, mostly because of its many moving parts that didn’t all come together until the second half of the novel. I didn’t care much for the humdrum chapters on Harriet Grace’s drug-running ring, for example, at least until that plot thread collided with Jess’s. Things became many times more interesting when the story morphed from a prison drama to a full-blown mystery. While I plodded through the first part of the book, I must have read the last two hundred pages or so in a single sitting, so energized as I was at the plot’s new direction. I definitely found the ending to be stronger than the beginning, even though it started running along a more predictable path. There was a court scene which was especially played up for dramatic effect, but hell, I ate it all up. I could hardly have made myself put down the book by that point.

Even if you enjoyed The Girl with All the Gifts, it’s difficult to say if you’ll enjoy Fellside, simply because the two books are so different. Fellside is not your typical ghost story, more suspenseful rather than creepy, and I can see it appealing more to mystery fans than horror buffs. Still, there are some mirroring themes. As ever, Carey is fond of keeping his readers in the dark right up until he springs the big surprises. And then there are scenes of intense violence, but when all is said and done, we’re also left with a spark of hope.

Finally, of course, there’s the author’s writing itself, which is as bold and hauntingly evocative as I expected. No disappointment there, as far as I’m concerned. If anything, this novel demonstrates Carey’s versatility and my admiration for his talent has actually increased. While it took me some time to warm up to Fellside, I ended up really enjoying the story’s poignant look at life on the inside of a women’s prison, as well as the memorable characters you’ll love to hate and hate to love. Recommended for fans of paranormal mysteries and suspense.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,230 reviews1,003 followers
May 26, 2016
After 'The Girl With All the Gifts' this was a highly anticipated release. Like that book, it's very compellingly written - early on in the book, I said to myself, "Well, I think it doesn't really matter WHAT Carey's writing about, if he writes it, I will enjoy reading it."

Admittedly, the topic/setting here is not as 'up my alley' as 'The Girl With All the Gifts' is. I love weird futuristic dystopias to death, and while I also enjoy ghost stories, this leans more towards 'contemporary British prison drama that happens to contain a ghost' rather than towards being a classic horror story.

Fellside's the name of the prison. Sentenced to reside there is Jess Moulson. Jess is a junkie whose no-good boyfriend got her deeper and deeper into her addiction - until one tragic night. While she was strung out on dope, Jess' house burned down, killing a young boy who was her neighbor - and ironically, the only person in the building that Jess had warm feelings for. Although Jess can remember barely anything about what actually happened the night of the fire, the courts judge that it was intentional arson on Jess' part, and she's convicted of the murder of the boy. Along the way, the crime becomes a high-profile case, and she's vilified by the press and the public.

This, I thought, was the weakest part of the book. Maybe England is a bit different from the USA, but the whole thing seemed like a rather typical, unremarkable, sordid incident. Here, a junkie causing a fire that killed someone in a low-income area might make the paper - once. It might be considered manslaughter, at the worst. And no one would pay much attention. A lot of the book rides on Jess' guilt - both her personal guilt at her culpability, and that which is presumed to be hers by others - and I just wasn't feeling it. I think the book might've worked better if Jess had been portrayed as a much more horrible person; but the author is careful throughout to give the reader room to be sympathetic toward her. However, aside from this one quibble, the writing was excellent, with great tension, forward motion and vivid characterization.

Once in prison, wracked by guilt and depression, Jess decides to kill herself through a hunger strike. In her extremity, a ghostly presence makes contact with her - and believing that perhaps she might be able to do something to ease the spirit of the boy she killed gives her a new reason for living... But first, she'll have to survive Fellside - where beatings and even murders are common, criminal schemes are everywhere, and the employees are just as crooked as their wards.
Profile Image for Krystin | TheF**kingTwist.
455 reviews1,718 followers
August 23, 2022
Book Blog | Bookstagram

I was really interested in reading this, but once I cracked this baby open my interest quickly petered out, giving way to an overall feeling of not really giving a shit mixed with annoyance and yawning.

The blurb is essentially Orange is the New Black but with ghosts and mystery.

Once you get past the blurb though it's none of those things.

It's more like:

with lots of:

This comparison to Orange is the New Black is apparently made about anything that takes place in a women's prison now? Even if it lacks everything that makes that show good - the characters, the drama, the twists, the sex, the social commentary and the humour.

While I liked the writing style - certain sentences definitely grab you, poke at your emotions and resonate - overall the book was too long and ultimately aimless.

And the ending was *fart noises*...

It took so long to reveal all the "secrets" of what really happened the night of the fire and what really happened to Alex/who Alex really was, that by the time we got there I felt kind of like:

and a little bit like:

For me, this was too long, torpid and lacking any type of mystery, or thrills despite forcing itself into those genres.

⭐⭐½ | 2.5 stars rounded up

Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,405 reviews989 followers
March 9, 2016
Fellside then. One of my most anticipated for 2016, even given that Mr Carey had the probably intense pressure of following up his incredible previous novel “The Girl with All The Gifts” a book I still throw at people now, so madly did I feel that one at a time I needed a reminder of why I read.

So did Fellside live up to my hope and expectation? Oh yes and then some but I would caution that the two novels are entirely different entities when it comes to the storytelling. Both brilliant in their own way, but completely in their own way – if someone said “but which did you like better” it would be like asking me which of my children I love more. Impossible to answer. Well apart from one of said children made me toast this morning so at the moment…

Fellside is a novel you should go into cold – like The Girl with All the Gifts the more you know about it the less you will feel it -for that reason I will speak about plot as little as possible – but from the opening page it is peculiarly haunting, beautifully constructed and embeds itself into the darker recesses of the mind so you think about it at odd moments of the day. To me this was a sign that I was both going to adore it and have to endure a certain amount of book trauma at the end – and that turned out to be absolutely true.

Jess Moulson is a character to die for, undeniably conflicted, following an unknowable path to very dark places, you are with her all the way – and honestly that is the least of it, the author has a real talent for group dynamic within a story and setting this one in a prison, an eerie place and a character in its own right, just added more atmospheric layers into an already desolate landscape. You never know what might be just around the corner, often I was not sure I wanted to find out but kept going anyway unable to stop.

Blurring the lines between light and dark, good and evil, creating a mythology that lingers in the mind, Fellside is not one thing but many – a novel I shall return to as I’m sure I missed some nuances, but also the descriptive language in parts is so beautifully perfect you just want to read the words again for the sheer pleasure of it. If like me you like to be challenged and emotionally disturbed by a novel then Fellside and indeed The Girl with all the Gifts will hit the sweet spot on that particularly. The best way I can describe my feeling while reading this is it was like having that falling dream, where coming out of it leaves your heart pounding. I was distraught at the end, a little tearful but mostly AGAIN going “Yes see? This is why I read”…

I’m fairly sure this will divide opinion – when you write a novel that does what The Girl with all the Gifts did, then as I said at the start you are probably going to be under a particular pressure – but MY opinion, for what its worth is that Fellside is both charming and horrific, creepy and engaging, it gets under your skin and stays there. Jess and the numerous other people I found inside the walls of Fellside will not leave my head anytime soon. Nor will the place itself, so the only thing I can do is say….

Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,910 followers
February 9, 2017
No matter how many times people told me this had nothing to do with The Girl with All the Gifts, I found myself still scouring the book for signs that it could be connected. Silly me. I failed.

But that doesn't mean that this wasn't a good tale! On the contrary, it might be a must read if you like to learn to like characters that you normally wouldn't give a fig about. Specifically, a woman who is self-destructive enough that she wouldn't even work on her own defence at her trial, who has, off and on, had a drug problem, and who is occasionally suicidal while barely scraping by within the women's prison, Fellside.

So what's this about, then?

It's a ghost story. :)

Not really intended to be scary, though, but it does have a lot of great conflict and tension, with a very robust plot and good character-rounding. I had a good time. :) Especially when it came to the ghost. The ghost had a lot more definition and character building and twists and turns than I usually get to enjoy in such tales. It's not like the ghost is hard to find or traditionally "Mysterious", either. The real trick is in the mind, and what can I say? I love that kind of thing. :)

This is definitely a character-driven novel, and you can expect some pretty deep immersion into the nature and intricacies of guilt. It's quite fascinating and it was a fun read. :)

Profile Image for Kate.
559 reviews76 followers
December 12, 2017
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for review; however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

First, let me say that you should be aware that I’m going to try very hard to make this review no more harsh than this book deserves, based on its own merits. But in order to do this, I have to get a few things out of the way first.

I was insanely excited to read this book. Like, seriously. Insane.

I read The Girl with All the Gifts in one sitting and was drooling for more from this author, so when I heard that a new book by Mr. Carey was coming out in 2016, I was like

And when I got a review copy from NetGalley, I was completely ecstatic. I told everyone. Even people who (*gasp*) don’t read, and couldn’t possibly care less that my bookiest wish had come true.

And then I read it.

So my expectations for this book may have been a leeeeeetle too high, but even if I’d read this as a debut by an unknown author, I still wouldn’t give it more than three stars, and bearing that in mind, you can take my review as you wish.

The premise of this novel, which I won’t rehash here, was very good. I expected to like this book a lot just on that alone. But it ended up being a lot of
and I was just so not okay with that.

I don’t watch Orange is the New Black. Please, hold your rotten tomatoes until the end, thanks. I tried, and I only made it through like three episodes. I just find it stressful, and I don’t enjoy prison as a plot point in general. I had no idea, going into this book, how similar the scenes and characters would be to those in that show.

There’s the lady in charge of the prison because she’s connected and running drugs into the prison. The crooked guards who have sex with the inmates. The useless and entirely self-interested warden and the scary enforcers. Very, very familiar.

The “ghost” portion of the novel was weird and fairly unique in my reading experience. The place where Jess travels with Alex is unique but bizarre and hard to believe or get in to.


Stylistically, it’s well written; the language is simple and easy to follow, without being boring, repetitive, or drawing too much attention to itself. The characterization is a bit lacking, but the settings are strong and well-developed. I was not a fan of the ending, but hey. I seldom like the endings to books.

All in all, and based solely on this book’s own merits, I’d probably have to say that this is a strong 3 star novel that just wasn’t to my taste.

But compared to Girl with All the Gifts , it’s absolute boring, mucky drivel.


Ummmm....yeah....2.5 stars? Maybe 3? Not sure I believe this was written by the same M.R. Carey who wrote one of my favorite novels ever. I knew the stories weren't remotely related, and that was fine, but I wasn't prepared for how disappointed I would be. *sigh

Full review to come.




Profile Image for Julia Ash.
Author 4 books225 followers
October 19, 2016
I found Fellside hauntingly intriguing. The inner workings and corruptions of a maximum security prison were believable (a corruption/drug/sex ring was recently exposed at a MD prison). Protagonist Jess is not the typical heroine, yet I liked following her emotional and tortured journey. The varied storylines were engaging - all of them! In terms of scenes, I particularly liked the appeal trial - excellent. And Devlin the Devil and sidekick Grace were fascinatingly evil.

M.R. Carey is an excellent writer and storyteller.

In terms of negatives, they are not significant, though I'll mention them. The dreamworld got a little "out there" at times, but I wanted to keep reading despite its murky plausibility. The ending, like The Girl With All The Gifts, is a bit over-the-top, but this fact was only a lingering thought, not a bitter taste. At times, the writing shifted POV unexpectedly, but it still wasn't at the level to frustrate me.

To get five stars from me, I have to be intrigued by the story, motivated to finish, and appreciate the author's craft. I gave this book five stars!

I really enjoy books by this author and look forward to more!
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,706 reviews661 followers
February 22, 2017
Once again I am disappointed due to my own stupidity. For some reason (not reading the blurb, perhaps?), I assumed that this novel was set in the same world as The Girl with All the Gifts. It was not. There is no zombie plague here, if that’s what you were hoping for. But I'm probably the only dummy who didn't read the blurb.

Jess is a heroin addict who is sent to Fellside Prison after an unfortunate event ends with a child’s death. Jess has no recollection of his death but is filled with remorse and guilt. Alex was her friend, her only friend, and she felt protective of him. Now she doesn’t seem to care what happens to her and has given up on living. As she nears death from a self-imposed hunger strike, she sees Alex in ghostly form and realizes there is quite possibly a lot more to the story of his death than she was led to believe.

What follows is a story that I wouldn’t consider horror at all. It’s more a story of prison corruption, evil doers and innocents caught up in a big old mess. Jess struggles to discover the truth about Alex’s death while she also has figure out how to survive prison life. Jess is a great flawed character and the plot, for the most part, was gripping and grueling but I wasn’t really in the mood for this type of story when I picked it up and found myself a bit bored here and there.

The good? Flinty Williams narrates the audio and you can’t go wrong with that accent.

The bad? It’s a little slow and unless you’re into reading about prison politics you may find yourself a little bored too. There are a lot of characters and many are called by their first names and their last names by other characters. I had a hard time keeping them all straight and, in the end, I am not sure I did.

I’m giving it a three because it didn’t grab me but I didn’t despise it either.

Audiobook Challenge: Book #6
HA Mount TBR Challenge: Book #9
HA Pages Read Challenge
2017 Horror Reading Challenge Book #6

See this and the rest of the crap I write at my blog.
Profile Image for Zuky the BookBum.
591 reviews303 followers
September 18, 2018
After reading The Hungries series by M. R. Carey, I pushed Fellside to the top of my TBR list because I absolutely loved that duology and has high hopes for this novel too. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to expectations, and I’ve seen plenty of others say they felt the same thing about this.

From the synopsis, I thought this book was going to be a creepy paranormal tale of a prison haunted by spirits but it’s not that at all. Without giving too much away, this is a story about one woman’s grief and finding peace within herself through the means of a spirit she sees.

This whole book is set within a prison, so there is a mix of classic prison characters in this book, like the distant but friendly cell mate, the top-dog prison inmate who runs everything from the inside, the corrupt prison officer and the psychiatrist. There was really nothing new when it came to the characters in this book. They were all deeply flawed and had incredible background building but that’s as far as my admiration for them goes. I feel disconnected to all of them on some level.

The plot of this book follows our main character Jess, who has been accused of murder. She is haunted by the vision of the little boy she accidentally killed by setting fire to her apartment and is desperately sure she is not guilty of what she has been accused. I found the story in this one a little bland, despite the high page count. There was plenty going on but none of it was really that interesting to me. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I read this as part of 25 in 5, I definitely wouldn’t have finished this book in the space of a day.

I did like some of the imagery in this novel. When Jess steps into the sleep world, the place where this spirit lives, I loved the way M. R. Carey described it! You know that scene in (original) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where they go into the TV and there’s all those tiny little particles up in the air? It was just like that only slightly creepier. Plus, I say this book didn’t creep me out but there was one moment at the start of the book where Jess is bed-bound and she feels a presence behind the head of her bed that definitely did give me goosebumps, but that’s as far as it went for me.

I did also enjoy the way that this book comes together at the end. There are a lot of stories that run alongside each other in this novel and it was interesting to see how they all concluded. That’s one thing Carey did very well at in this story, and that was tying up all the loose ends. This turned out to be a very emotional book in the end, which I wasn’t expecting at all!

Overall this book was just a ‘meh’ book for me. I just don’t think I click with fiction set in prisons as I’ve neither really enjoyed ‘Orange is the New Black’ or another book I read based in a prison recently ‘The Captives’. If you’re looking for a slow, gently disturbing read that’s full to the brim with characters and emotion, this may very well work for you!
Profile Image for Kajwan Abehesht.
Author 9 books118 followers
February 13, 2017
چقدر من با نثر آقای کری به قول خودمان گفتنی «حال می‌کنم.» نحوهٔ پرداخت شخصیت‌ و خلق موقعیت را در این دو کتابی که از ایشان خوانده‌ام بسیار می‌پسندم. خاطرم نیست این را کجا و از چه کسی شنیده‌ام اما نقل به‌مضمون می‌کنم که یک اثر داستانی خوب، شخصیت‌هایی دارد که خوب پرداخت شده‌اند و بعد باقی فرآیند داستان از تأثیر متقابل آن‌ها بر هم است که پدید می‌آید. کری به‌زیبایی هرچه‌تمام‌تر در فلساید این گفته را اجرا می‌کند و نتیجه را من حیرت‌انگیز می‌دانم. بی‌نظیر و خواندنی است.
کمی طول می‌کشد خواننده به اثر نزدیک شود اما وقتی شد دیگر از اثر رهایی ندارد.
Profile Image for Bill Kupersmith.
Author 1 book196 followers
February 9, 2017
Heroin addict Jessica Moulson receives a life tariff for starting a fire that causes the death of a small boy. She had no intention of harming the boy Alex - didn’t know that he was even in the building. But the prosecution claimed that she did intend to kill her fellow addict boyfriend & she was convicted on his testimony, which legally makes her a child killer. At 1st sight that seems unfair, but when you think about it, it makes sense. Suppose I’m in the zebra crossing along with your ex, whom you try to run over with your motor car, only the ex jumps safely out of the way & you obliterate me instead. You’ve certainly murdered me even tho’ you never so intended.

If you’ve read books like Alex Marwood’s The Wicked Girls, you know what public fury & media frenzy those convicted of murdering innocent children arouse, & prison inmates are as judgemental as most of us, so we’re not surprised that Jess will become an object of opprobrium & a target for bullying. Which logically & morally is senseless in her case, but brings out the distinction between legal guilt & moral responsibility. She is only supposed to have tired to kill the druggie boyfriend, so whilst legally she is guilty for the death of the child, morally she is blameworthy only for encompassing death of boyfriend. Even before we learn a lot more about him in this book, we’d hardly see his demise worthy public outrage.

Thinking about that paradox was only the beginning of the moral & spiritual issues you’ll find yourself facing in Fellside. I think M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts was a better executed story, but Fellside is on a higher artistic level. Both are quest stories. Girl with All the Gifts a journey quest whose progenitors are The Odyssey, the Anabasis, the Morte d’Arthur, Pilgrim’s Progress, Journal of the Plague Year & The Lord of the Rings. These recount journeys by a group of friends trying to find their way to a safe haven through many dangerous adventures. The present story is a katabasis, a descensus Averno, like the sixth book of the Aeneid, the gospel of Nicodemus, & Dante's Inferno. H.M. Prison Fellside is supposed to be in the Yorkshire moors geographically; spiritually it is directly over the pit of Hell. Normally on such a quest the pilgrim voyager is accompanied by a spirit-guide: Aeneas by his father Anchises, Dante by Virgil. Jess’s spirit-guide is apparently the ghost of the dead boy Alex who perished in the fire she was convicted of starting. Jess initially attempts to starve herself till as she approaches death she meets this spirit in her dreams who leads her to choosing life, even life in prison. Slowly Jess develops her spiritual powers & her friendship with this spirit, who gradually reveals yet another identity.

You may read other reviewers who were disappointed by Fellside, because they loved The Girl with All the Gifts & wanted another adventure story, or maybe a mystery story, or a supernatural horror story. There are all of these elements in Fellside, but spiritually it’s much more elevated. As an example of one of those standard fictional genres, Carey could have ended this book 60 pages earlier than he did - & I would happily have given it four stars & it could have had an HEA epilogue as well. When I heard where Jessica stood up in the appeals court after the verdict to make a personal statement & I sensed the direction the book was taking, I wanted to stop the car & scream ‘Jess, Don’t do it!’ But of course she had to do it. This is a story of redemption. Now that we’ve been redeemed, what do we do about it? We don’t want anything bad to happen to anybody. But when it does, we want to be there. So we ask to be posted back to the front line, to the trauma unit, to the mission outpost, to the entrance to the dark cave concealing the downward path leading straight to . . . . As long as there’s unfinished business to take care of, we don’t leave anyone behind. In this book M. R. Carey chooses to have his hero Jess go for full-blown tragedy: unnecessary, excessive, cruel, but also inevitable & right - & very beautiful.
Profile Image for Richard.
451 reviews103 followers
May 25, 2016

Overall I was disappointed with this one. The Girl with all the Gifts blew me away and I was so impressed with it that I became a pusher and got loads of friends and family to read it. As soon as I saw that this was available on NetGalley I dusted off my account details and requested away. After a couple of days waiting (you old tease NetGalley) I was approved and ready to get going with it. Then I read some less than flattering reviews about it and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I waited for a bit until I felt I was in the right frame of mind for this to not let those review tarnish my experience but I might not have waited long enough.

Don't get me wrong, 3 stars means it's a good book, but who wants beef when you've had steak before or some such metaphor. For me it felt like the book didn't know what it wanted to be. Is it a horror (nope), is it a prison drama (sometimes), is it about addiction (in parts), is it a legal thriller (towards the end), is it trying to fit into everything without ever really settling on what it should be (YES!).

The style of writing makes up for the pacing and plotting as I find that in certain passages the pages whizzed by due to a nice flow and there are some interesting characters here but then when the genre confusion started battling it out on the page things slowed down and attention vanished.

For me the worst part was and I couldn't get behind these parts and found my attention drifting. By the end I was more keen to just finish than actually find out what happens which sums up my thoughts quite a bit. There were good bits here but not in the majority, a shame really after the stellar TGWATG.

If you like this try: "The Shinning" by Stephen King for some real atmosphere

I received a free copy from NetGalley for review
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews920 followers
April 28, 2016
Jess Moulson has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of setting a fire that not only left her face destroyed and her boyfriend injured but unintentionally killed a young boy named Alex. The problem is, she doesn’t remember setting the fire, but she quickly begins to believe herself capable what with all the evidence stacked against her. Resigned to her fate she beings her life in Fellside, a prison deep in the moors of Yorkshire, knowing she won’t have to suffer for long after she begins refusing food. As her body and mind weaken more and more each day, she’s visited by the ghost of Alex, and he proposes that she work to discover who truly killed him so that they can both be at peace.

Honestly, I don’t remember even reading the synopsis of this before falling all over myself in excitement. I simply adored The Girl with All the Gifts and maybe that’s where I went wrong. My expectations were astronomical. Regardless, there’s nothing in the synopsis that would have normally turned me away from reading the book but ultimately this one fell flatter than a pancake for me.

Yep, I’m definitely part of the black sheep crowd with this one. I’m pretty broken-hearted about it though because this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The majority of my complaints are spoilers so I’ll do my best to explain without revealing too much.

There are not only a ton of characters and scenes told from various points-of-view but somehow they all managed to be completely lackluster. Jess Moulson is not a likable character having been convicted of killing a child, however, that’s never been an issue for me since I liked Lolita and even Tampa. There just wasn’t anything about these people that captivated me or even interested me in the least. The storyline started off slightly interesting with the mystery of the fire but that quickly dissolved into prison drama with a “bad” warden that’s helping bring drugs into the prison and all the threatening of inmates to be the drug mules. There was the prison doctor that had a sad personal story that wasn’t explored very much that did nothing in the pity part of my heart, the nurse with her questionable yet excessive anger towards Jess for the crime she was convicted for, and the various stories of other inmates and the lives they’ve led and the losses they’ve suffered. There was a really strange side story about Jess’ lawyer too that I felt was pretty ludicrous to say the least. AND THEN, enter the ghostie to really complicate shit further.

You’d think adding a flair of paranormal to a story would help it but it ended up just being strangely bizarre and by the end it left more questions than answers. This book was a whopping 496 pages but it still shouldn’t have taken me over a month to finish. It’s one of those really slow-going stories where you feel that pressure slowly building in the background and you’re waiting for that big reveal that’s going to take your breath away. That eagerness to find out the truth of it all was the only thing that kept me going. Sadly, by the time the “secrets” are all revealed I couldn’t help but feel equal parts


I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Skip.
3,249 reviews393 followers
September 27, 2016
A hard book to classify/shelve. M.R. Carey is an excellent writer, and draws you into a book, which seems like a classic who dunnit. Jess Moulson is on trial for murder when a young boy dies in a fire, supposedly caused by her carelessness when she was shooting heroin. Convinced of her own duplicity by the evidence and testimony of her own boyfriend, she is sent to Fellside Prison in the British moors, where she commences a hunger strike. However, she is visited by the ghost of the murder boy (Alex), who asks for her help in finding out what really happened. Lots of women prison drama, and traipsing through inmates' dreams. Kind of trippy, weird. I thought the book lost some momentum and creativity towards the end, but the ending was decent enough.
Profile Image for Sahar Dehqani.
18 reviews
March 16, 2018
آدمها شبیه کتابها هستن،یا کتابها شبیه آدم ها هستن؟
در هر صورت جفتشون رو باید چندبار بخونی تا معنیش رو درک کنی
Profile Image for Mehrshad Zarei.
117 reviews28 followers
November 4, 2019
این نویسنده‌، همانطور که انتظار می‌رود به‌قدری در پرداخت به شخصیت‌‌ها‌ و گفت‌و‌گوها مهارت به خرج داده است که بعید نیست اگر بگویم تمام محور داستان‌ش را بر پایه‌ی همین دو گردانده و به تنهایی با وجود همین‌ها از پس داستان‌ش بر آمده است.

تنهاییِ انسان در عین نیازِ به دیگری و تأثیر آنکه دوستش می‌داری بر فرایند یک زندگی و در سرشت و سرنوشت آدمی مهم‌ترین چیزی‌ست که نویسنده در این کتاب سعی بر گفتنش دارد، خواه این تأثیر خوشایند باشد و خواه روح و روان را اسیر خویش سازد.

با این وجود کتابی نیست که هر سلیقه‌ای با آن کنار بیاید و از آن لذت ببرد. روند داستان بسیار آرام و در پی داستان هیجان چشم‌گیری دیده نمی‌شود و همانطور که گفتم شخصیت‌ها این کتاب را زنده و خواندنی نگه داشته‌اند و با وجود همین‌هاست که می‌توان ادامه داد و کتاب را به پایان رسانید.
Profile Image for Carly.
456 reviews185 followers
March 21, 2016
Mike Carey has a real genius for making me care about characters that I don't want to care about. No matter how unprincipled or corrupt they are, no matter how destructive their decisions, no matter how foreordained their fates, I end up empathizing with them despite myself. In Fellside, he exploits this talent more ruthlessly than ever before.

Fellside is a very different book than anything else I've read by Carey. Yes, like 90% of his other books, it involves ghosts. Yes, like several of his most recent books, it's in some ways a story about stories, with the narrative woven in and around the life stories of the characters. But Fellside is darker, grittier, and grimmer than any book that came before. Much of this has to do with the cast of characters. The narrative switches between the perspectives of a convicted childkiller, a corrupt guard, a viciously sanctimonious nurse, a pliable and defeated doctor, and more. And the worst of all of it is that I ended up caring about almost all of them, aching as they made destructive choice after destructive choice. Fellside deals punch after punch to the gut, then somehow transforms itself into something heartwrenching but also bittersweet and oddly beautiful.

I can't describe much of the plot; I don't want to even give my usual blurb for fear that details will lessen the book's impact. While there is an overall mystery, it isn't the driving force behind the plot. Instead, the story is composed of smaller arcs and the slow complex entangling of the characters' lives. While I did guess the solution to the mystery, the ending took me utterly by surprise. Most of the narrative is an exploration of morality through the microcosm of Fellside prison. Some of my favourite quotes:
“The facts are in the outside world. You can verify them with your senses or with objective tests. The truth is something that people build inside their heads, using the facts as raw materials. And sometimes the facts get bent or broken in the process. [...]
Justice? Justice is even more problematic than truth. It’s an emergent property of a very complicated system. [...] It’s neither an ingredient in the pie nor the pie itself. It’s the smell that rises up out of the pie if you’ve cooked it right. We don’t aim for justice, Ms Moulson. We perform our roles and justice happens."
"Doing time, she thought inconsequentially. As though time were a drug. If it was, she might have dosed herself more carefully."
"The dead were dreams that dreamed themselves alive. Maybe the living were too. Another time for that."

Fellside itself is startlingly different than Carey's other works. While I'm not quite sure its audience is a perfect match for fans of The Girl with All the Gifts or The Steel Seraglio, if you're in the mood for a uniquely dark, peculiarly gripping story, Fellside is well worth a look.


~~I received this ebook from the publisher, Orbit Books, in exchange for my honest review. Thank you! Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~

Also posted on BookLikes.
Profile Image for Nima Kohandani.
Author 16 books334 followers
August 8, 2017
فضایی بس عجیب و بس غریب

پر از جملات و دیالوگ های پرمعنا و عمیق

شخصیت پردازی هایی فوق العاده، چیزی که از مایک کری سراغ داریم

در یک سفری ادیسه وار برای جس مولسون، این بار درون یک زندان، کاوشی روانشناسانه درون خود کاراکترها

داستان اما کاملا مبتنی بر کاراکترها هم نبود. داستان رو بیشتر موقعیت محور دیدم تا کاراکتر محور، علی رغم کاراکترهای جذاب داستان

بیشتر از این حرفی ندارم بزنم

مخوف، عمیق، و پر از آدم هایی که مفهوم انسانیت رو ترسناک جلوه میدن
Profile Image for Kate.
1,217 reviews2,210 followers
August 19, 2018

this was fine. i feel like i can't give it any higher of a rating just because of how much it dragged for me and i had to FORCE myself to speed through to the end just cause i was not into it that much. but it was a decent enough story and the second half was definitely better than the first. i would say its too long of a book 1, and it focused way too much on the more boring elements (the prison, the main character going on hunger strike for a while, doctors i didn't care about) and less on the stuff i actually was interested in (the supernatural stuff).

definitely a let down after "the girl with all the gifts" but by itself its fine.
Profile Image for Lisa.
346 reviews533 followers
February 10, 2017
Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2016/0...

Fellside is haunting and unique and at times, quite grim. Once I was hooked, I was firmly hooked. Our introduction to the protagonist is memorable and it takes a little time for both her and for us the readers to piece together the story of what brought her to that initial scene in the book. Turns out, our protagonist is actually a heroin addict. A horrible fire destroyed her apartment complex, killing a young boy. The last thing Jess remembers is shooting up, so when they place the blame on her, she can remember nothing in her defense.

The book takes place largely in the women’s prison that Jess is sent to. Her case was high profile in the media, she comes in to an atmosphere where some of the inmates have already decided to make her life harder. The one highlight for Jess, the one individual that really seems friendly and supportive (or at a minimum not openly hostile?) comes not from another inmate, but from what appears to be a ghost. A ghost in the form of the little boy she is charged with killing. Yeah, it kinda seems sad when the closest thing you can find to a friend is an apparition of the kid you were convicted of killing.

As you can imagine, there are lots of good characters and interplays between inmates. Well, good as in perhaps fun to read, not as in “good people”. Its a different atmosphere, and one were the most conniving seem to thrive, and we definitely get to see a lot of the darker side of human nature in this book. The fantastical elements of this really come in to play more later in the book. Before then it is more a creepy, ghostly mystery. I honestly feel like my only real complaint is that it took me longer to than I would have preferred. Maybe this is just because it is so different from The Girl With All the Gifts. But by the time I was hooked, I honestly could not remember why I wasn’t instantly hooked because it does get extremely good.

The narration was well done, capturing the emotion and tension throughout without ever feeling over the top. Definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Nigel.
161 reviews30 followers
November 13, 2018
3.5 stars

A well done prison drama, with a little bit of a supernatural/ghost theme as well. Sort of 'Orange is the New Black' (but better) mixed with 'The Sixth Sense'. The prison drama does follow well-worn themes, but it is well done enough to still be interesting, and overall the writing is good.

If I was going to criticise, it would be that the 'mystery' or 'twists' were fairly predictable.
Firstly, it was pretty obvious that
Profile Image for Helen Power.
Author 10 books444 followers
June 30, 2021
Orange is the New Black meets the Haunting of Hill House.
I entered this book looking for a good ghost story/mystery, similar to the novel that I have written. While it does have a ghost story, there’s a lot more of a focus on what’s going on in the prison than I was expecting. The drug dealing and other criminal behaviour overshadowed the main mystery plotline. I wouldn’t have minded, but the story is very slowly paced. It’s categorized as a “horror”, but aside from a couple of scenes that were more gory than scary, I would say it’s more of a literary suspense.
One thing that bothered me a lot about this book was the way that characters are referred to. The entire book is in third person omniscient, and there are a lot of characters in the prison, and we jump between what they’re doing quite frequently. This in itself would be hard to follow, BUT in the narrative (not just dialogue), the author refers to characters by different names, switching seemingly at random. If the chapter were from a specific character’s point of view, then referring to other characters consistently depending on how they view that character would be expected. (For instance, if the chapter was from Grace’s point of view, disrespecting Dr. Salazar by calling him “Sally” would make far more sense). But because it was in third person omniscient, I would have expected the referring to characters to be even more consistent than that. Instead, the author changes how he refers to characters frequently within the same chapter, same page, same paragraph. For instance, at one point he randomly started calling Jess “Moulson” in the text, and it took me a few seconds of staring blankly at the page for me to remember that’s her last name. When he switched to calling Dr. Salazar “Sally”, I was genuinely confused, because there was also a nurse named Shelley (or Shelby or something like that), and I thought for a while that he was talking about her. This made the reading of an already slow-paced book even slower, and I was irritated by this.

While the book is slow paced, it does pick up a lot during the last 100 pages, when, pardon my French, sh&t finally happens. Parts of the story are predictable, and other parts were pleasantly surprising.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy a very slow burn thriller that places a lot of emphasis on prison life and less on the fact that there’s a ghost in the prison.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,034 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.