Book Review: The Fear (The Enemy #3)

The Fear (The Enemy #3)The Fear by Charlie Higson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Compared to the first two books in the series, I had a difficult time involving myself with this one. Yet once I was in, I was in. The book took off slowly, but as I turned the pages I was engaged quite a bit more than I had been in either of the two first books. And where I’d thought this series a borderline “take or leave” proposition, I’m now champing at the bit to get my hands on the finale.

Way too much going on that ah gots to find out. To use a silly example of my present state of mind: I remember reading something about a 19th century tragedy in (I believe) Baltimore. So many people had crowded onto a pier awaiting the arrival via steamer of the latest installment of one of Dickens’ potboilers that their combined weight actually caused the pier to collapse. Many drowned, IIRC. Never could quite understand that crowd’s motivation. (And over Dickens? The novel as shaggy dog story personified? Blerg.)

Until now. (Except the Dickens bit.) I suppose one advantage of living in this digital age is that such pier standing is now passe, but that won’t make the wait for the ones and zeroes that will eventually “cross the pond” any easier to bear for all that. Especially “The [nagging] Fear” that the fourth book won’t be the equal of the third.

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Apropos of nothing: I made the mistake of looking, and I’m now torn between my Luddite tendencies and my desire to read the fourth book. Errm, plus my inherent cheapness as well, though that doesn’t seem as much a factor as I would have thought.

At Amazon.co.uk the book is available, curiously ONLY in Kindle form, for £7.99 + VAT + credit card cornholing on a transaction in a foreign currency and miscellaneous and mysterious but seemingly unavoidable fees. Or in Ugly American Speak… [£7.99/.65 = $12.29] + [weirdo Limey sales tax variant (rate unknown and seemingly unknowable)] + [credit card cornholing on a transaction in a foreign currency and miscellaneous and mysterious but seemingly unavoidable fees (presumably the same world-wide); ditto the unknown and unknowable bit)]. In any event, I’m guesstimating the cost to put it on my first generation Kindle to be somewhere in the $20 to $25 range.

At Amazon.com the book is not available, either in paper or electronically. And will NOT be available until mid-June. But when it is, it will cost only $10.79…at least as a hard cover…at least if this pre-order price holds. No sales tax (god bless the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution for that) and no credit card cuteness. No ability to pre-order for Kindle, either, at least yet. Indeed, no indication it even will be available for the Kindle. And for no sensible reason, a different cover. Possibly a tip-off that you’ll be reading about “flashlights” and not “torches,” “soccer” and not “football,” “trucks” and not “lorries,” and so on?

At my local library network, it will cost me nothing. But I’d be surprised if it showed up in any of the towns’ inventory until late 2013, possibly even 2014.

And third-party sellers, via Amazon or Ebay or wherever are off the table for me. I’ve been burnt twice in three tries using them in the past year. Not happening, at least for the present.

And then there’s me. The analog guy in a digital age. I’m sure I’d manage to screw things up somehow if I tried that UK site. And that presumes they even allow Amurricans to get stuff from the site. I vaguely remember reading Amazon was considering some kind of restrictions to keep publishers happy.

What does all this have to do with anything? Not a damn thing. Other than to show the last paragraph of the review makes sense if you live in my skin.

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Even further Beyond the Pale: Tres amused when I opened the Higson Amazon.co.uk page and found the visage of Scooby Doo staring back at me…

In front of the haunted house, the gang decamped from the Mystery Machine. Upon entering, Fred, Daphne and Velma went left and Scooby and Shaggy went right. But it didn’t matter. The gym bunnies descended upon them en masse, leaving only Velma’s glasses and Scooby’s collar behind in their wake. No more meddling kids.

…or such is what would happen in a perfect world. And I will say nothing of a world where the UK sends the US a writer like Higson and the US sends the UK…Scooby Doo? Too depressing to dwell upon.

View all my reviews

Links to captures of the web pages noted above[PDFs via Skydrive]:

Too lazy to cut and paste an image of the comment I made, noting that I goofed when I said the book was in “Kindle only” format.”

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