Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.
Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?
I really enjoyed how completely unique this novel ended up being. Elizabeth does not feel emotion, so she forces herself to play the part day in and day out as she struggles through her abusive existence. Her ability to talk to the emotions was intriguing and I liked how they materialized from nowhere and were able to carbon copy themselves to control all human emotions in the world at the same time. The novel went off in a completely different direction than I thought it would, and I loved the surprises. Kudos to Sutton because I believe it’s virtually impossible to write a character with zero emotions, and Sutton does a very good job with this, even though on occasion Elizabeth does show emotion in a muted sort of sense.
This novel has a great pace, but I felt that the ending went on for much longer than it needed to. Everything seems to come to a climax about 70% in, but it doesn’t end there. Instead, it takes a turn for the worst and a whole new story seems to develop, fleshing out the truth behind Elizabeth’s past, and while it was definitely well done, I just found it a little long for my tastes.
I also would have liked to see the weak, abusive characters get their due. There are multiple instances in which characters hurt, mock, and abuse Elizabeth, and she allows it because she does not feel emotion, but these evil people are never put to task for their actions. Bullying should never go unpunished, and neither should abuse, in my opinion, and I really would have liked to see repercussions for these actions.
But all in all, this is a very interesting story about emotions, or lack there of, and the different plains that exist outside our reality. I’ve never thought of emotions as having human thoughts and feelings (sort of like the four horsemen, in a way), and I loved how their characterization came across to really show their traits. Fears appearance, actions, and dialogue fit him well, as did Courage’s and all the other emotions. As I said before, this novel went in a completely different direction than I expected it to, and it was a fun read, though a little drawn out here and there. Three and a half stars.