American thriller writer James Patterson is a very prolific author, having sold more than 400 million books, whether that’s books he has written or co-written with other authors. He has over 200 titles with his name of the front cover. He doesn’t just write crime thrillers but also writes books for children and the YA market, such as the Crazy House series (co-authored with Gabrielle Charbonnet). For me, Crazy House (the first book in the series) left a lot of answered questions and was an incomplete story. I have now just finished reading the sequel, The Fall of Crazy House, which fills in a lot of the missing gaps.
The Fall of Crazy House is the sequel to Crazy House, a two book series. It is a dystopian thriller suitable for the YA (young adult) reader. It follows the adventures of identical twin sisters Becca and Cassie Greenfield, now 18, as they fight against the totalitarian regime that rules their society.
In Crazy House, the story is set over 100 years in the future. Something has happened (we don’t find out in the first book), but everybody lives in nation divided into cells and strictly controlled by one leader under the regime of The United. Everybody goes to school or has a job (given to them by the government), curfews are in place, you can’t have a baby unless licenced and someone else has died etc. The first book follows the then 17 year old twins as they are abducted and put in a prison for teenagers where they are tested, trained and fight in brutal combat against each other before executions take place. Book one finishes with their escape from prison but that is only half the story.
The Fall of Crazy House continues the story. After escaping the Crazy House and the brutal and fearful Ms. Strepp, the twins have been re-captured again. This time they find out shocking truths behind what was happening at the Crazy House and join the resistance forces, alongside Ms. Strepp. They continue with their training, learning skills that they need to bring down the government and start a massive uprising.
Overall, reading The Fall of Crazy House immediately after Crazy House made the series a much better novel. It fills in a lot of detail missing from the first book and gives a more complete picture of why the girls were kidnapped in the first place and how The United and cells came into being. It is an entertaining read, simply written with short fast-paced chapters and plenty of action to keep the attention of teenagers and young adult readers. The two books together, make up one better story. Although, for me, it still isn’t a patch on The Hunger Games and at times it very much reminded me of Stephen King’s The Stand with some elements of the story (although not nearly as good).
It is an enjoyable action-packed story of an uprising against an oppressive regime, one that creates a terrifying picture of a dystopian society where freedom, privacy, and individuality are suppressed for the benefit of the few. It also explores themes such as power, corruption, rebellion, family, identity, and love.
The characters of Becca and Cassie are very different from each other but have changed a lot since the beginning of the first book. They share a strong bond that is tested by their different choices and opinions. Even Ms. Strepp has undergone a change and starts to become more likeable as the book progresses.
The Fall of Crazy House brings both books together for a more satisfying and rounded conclusion. I think that is probably best to treat the two books as one longer novel to enjoy the story more.
I don’t think it is as good as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, but it is still an interesting and enjoyable tale, if a bit simplistic with everything wrapped up all too neatly. A good dystopian thriller that teenagers will enjoy.
RRP: £14 (Hardback) / £6.99 (Paperback) £4.99 (Kindle)