I got the Fear University series a while ago after reading a sample in the back of another Meg Collett book. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but it was intriguing. I finally got a chance to read it, and it was pretty good. Collett dives into the issues of identity and prejudice head-first. In her carefully crafted world, she delivers characters with depth (for the most part) and a story that flows with minimal effort.
Ollie is a character that has moments of surprising depth, but I think her need/desire for a parental figure is something that feels off with the rest of her character. She’s got this strength while recognizing her weaknesses…except when it comes to father figures. For some reason, her need to have somebody be a parent overrides every lesson she holds on to for the rest of the book. Her craving to have that parental caring and attention are really what causes the majority of her issues. Almost every betrayal comes at the hands of somebody she trusts solely because they act like a father. After seeing so much ugly at the hands of a foster parent, seeing what the parents of the other students (and her instructor) are like, you’d think she wouldn’t be so eager to forgive and forget when it comes to parental figures. Every time she trusted somebody implicitly almost immediatley, I wanted to stop reading. It drove me nuts that she was stand-offish and untrusting of everybody else (even those who had done her no harm), but immediately fell for the trap of ‘father’.
The intricate weaving of nurture vs. nature into the already delicate question of prejudice and hate creates an atmosphere that drags the reader through the slow parts of the story. I think the most interesting part of this series is that good and bad really does depend on the side you’re on. The POV changes really show that, as well as the betrayals that Ollie faces from the people she trusts. Both sides of this conflict believe fully in what they’re doing…and are willing to do anything to achieve their goals. The fact that neither trusts Ollie to make an informed decision, instead feeding her tidbits and pieces of their goals and plans, mean that Ollie has to trust more than her emotions and their words. She has to trust her instincts, the people who have proven time and again that they can be trusted, and her own knowledge that she picks up along the way.
There was a part of the story that I still don’t understand the purpose. At one point, Ollie and crew team up with the ‘swangs to fight another supernatural being. I don’t understand the purpose of this being for the book. It barely moves the story along. While it takes up ‘time’ in the storyline, the things achieved during this hunt could be achieved through other means. I just can’t seem to figure out what the purpose is, other than Collett wanted that creature in the story? There are other supernatural creatures that don’t get the air time, but could have proven just as ‘useful’. That bothers me. I hate when authors throw something into the story with no real goal or purpose (or at least one that isn’t easily discernable).
Overall, I enjoyed the series and will potentially buy more books in this universe. However, beware that character inconsistencies with the FMC caused a few issues with really getting into the story. Grab your copy of the first 3 books + a bonus prequel novella by clicking the image below!