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Book Review ♡ The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast

Surprising myself with a consistent post today – let’s just say that two days in a row is a fluke. Unless I make it three of course. Then it’s planned! Anyways, today I bring to you a book I became interested in when I saw my fellow Goodreads friends marking it up as ‘two star’ and below. Given the interesting (and quite relevant) synopsis, I had to see for myself why this book just wasn’t hitting the spot for reads. Buckle up for another review; this one perhaps not as positive as the last.


title ♡ key to fear, the
author ♡ kristin cast
genre ♡ young adult; dystopian; romance; sci fi
pages ♡ 420
publisher ♡ head of zeus; blackstone
series ♡ key, the #1
release date ♡ 13 oct, 2020 (head of zeus); 5 nov, 2020 (blackstone)

goodreads ♡ amazon

Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…

Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…

After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.

Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God

I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone to read this one, but given the current global pandemic, I genuinely thought maybe I could get into some dystopian fiction. I have a personal vendetta when it comes to dystopian novels because I find them incredibly dull and so damn predictable. The Key to Fear was an interesting read, but the jury is still out as to whether I actually enjoyed the book overall and whether I would consider picking up the second instalment on release.

The book follows Elodie, law-abiding citizen who has her life set out for her. She has a fiancé, a career she enjoys and what some people would argue, the trappings of a good life set out for her. And although she is pretty straight-laced in the beginning, it’s easy to tell that she isn’t one-hundred percent satisfied. Her mother is awful to her and her fiancé is one of the worst people I could imagine – all style and no substance. When she meets Aiden, with his mohawk and disregard for authority, it’s clear that this is going to be the turning point in Elodie’s boring life. I’ll admit that the predictability was quite strong with the book. I felt like I had seen this situation play out before, maybe in movies or video games (I’m not sure). Given the current worldwide crisis we’re going through, I would have figured that the book would have been a little more applicable to the way we’re living at the moment. I felt like I should have been wowed, when in reality the book maybe just fell flat of where it probably should have been. However, before I judge the plot too harshly, I keep reminding myself that normally these sorts of stories are a no-go for me; so perhaps it’s just my genre prejudice coming out to play a little.

I’m not sure how else to describe Elodie’s character in words other than boring. Sure, there were moments I felt for her but it was never anything substantial – just small pangs of sympathy. I failed to understand how she could be so loyal to a system which denied her the right to physical or emotional attachments. Even when the truth was thrust into her face, she failed to appreciate it for what it was until the very last moment. It just didn’t feel exactly real to me – I could tell she was a character and not a person with thoughts and feelings. Aiden brought a lot more life to the story, and I found him to be a much better character than Elodie. He was brave and bold; while not being the definition of a ‘dreamboat’. While he was much more aware of the truth and the world around him, I found his interest in the real world over the synthetic one much more appreciative. There was a romance sub-plot to the story, which came out of nowhere and kind of blossomed into something sweet. It didn’t feel to overpowering but at times it seemed a little forced. I would have understand something like that establishing in further instalments, but given where the plot left off, it all seemed a bit premature for me.

Pacing of the book was definitely not the strongest area of the book. Several times I found myself considering whether it was time to shelve the read. Yes, I’m glad I persevered but I also feel like I could have maybe saved myself a few hours by stopped when I had originally wanted to. I don’t feel like many of my questions were answered, especially with the cliff-hanger introduced at the end of the book. I did however, enjoy the switching of positions. To have read the entire book for Elodie’s point of view would have been sudden death – so the fact we get chapters focussed around Elodie and Aiden and Blair and even secondary characters was quite enjoyable. It broke up the story and helped to ease out parts which felt like they were dragging on a little. There are definitely parts I wish will be expanded on further into the series, because to brush over them now would be a disgrace.

Side note, can we take a minute to appreciate how absolutely stunning the cover is? Like damn, who is she?! I’ve said this before and I will say it again – the cover always makes such a big impact and normally can be the difference between me choosing to read the book or not. That’s awful to admit, but it’s true. I wanted to read the book at first because the cover was pretty. The synopsis had me hooked, I won’t lie – but the cover …

I think to give The Key to Fear a rating lower than a three would be extremely harsh because essentially, I’m easing myself into a genre which I don’t normally have much time for. Though I appreciated the book for what it was, I definitely felt like it could have been a little better. I’m still undecided as to whether I will read the second instalment whenever that is published, but I will be monitoring updates to make my decision a little easier when the time comes. I can admit that for the most part, the book was okay. I was interested in reaching the conclusion or I would have stopped reading after page seventy-five. At the same time, I don’t think there is a word better than ‘okay’ to describe the story – and so I’m pretty limited in what else to say. Of course, the only way to decide for yourself is to give the book a go!

Remember that not everybody will have the same opinion! Something that worked for me might not work for you, and visa versa. The whole internet has an opinion, so check out a few others before you decide to dish or ditch this book!

Jen @ BookBookOwl says “Aiden was by far the realest character and the highlight of the book.”

Sifa @ Sifa Elizabeth Reads says “I had to fight my way through the first 100 pages as there was nothing that grabbed me in the story.”

goodreads ♡  twitter ♡  website

Kristin is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who was born on an Air Force base in Japan and grew up in Oklahoma where she explored everything from tattoo modelling to broadcast journalism. After battling addiction, Kristin made her way to the Pacific Northwest and landed in Portland. She rediscovered her passion for storytelling in the stacks at dusty bookstores and in rickety chairs in old coffeehouses. For as long as she can remember, Kristin’s been telling stories. Thankfully, she’s been writing them down since 2005.

Another book down, another review uploaded! Can you name a book you want to know more about but can’t find on my blog? Something stuck on your TBR list? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. All read requests are acknowledged and appreciated! Until next time guys,

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