Fear University

New Adult

PARANORMAL:  Ollie Andrews scratches out an existence in the quiet town of Kodiak, Alaska. That is, until one night when she meets a dog who isn’t a dog. The animal can somehow mentally communicate with her, and is surprised by her lack of fear. Her inability to feel pain results in her being fearless. After all, fear is only the byproduct of pain. When a person can’t feel pain, there isn’t anything to fear...well, almost nothing.

Ollie finds herself kidnapped and locked into Fear University where she trains to fight the mythical aswang  - a creature that is part vampire, witch, and ghoul. There is a war between the aswangs and legacy fighters. Luke is a jaded fighter from the original hunter family while Ollie is only a civilian, an outcast in the school. Still, they strike sparks off one another when not killing aswangs.

Ollie's narrative has authentic young adult feel to it. The aswang is an unusual villain and adds a nice twist, which ups the suspense. Luke and Ollie start as adversaries who find something compelling about one another. The "enemies at first" is a time-worn ploy that usually works. “Fear University” is a fast-moving adventure interspersed with tense, violent fight scenes. The downside is the forced chemistry between Luke and Ollie. What was supposed to be a love scene between two sexually aggressive individuals resembled two trucks ramming into each other.

“Fear University” should appeal to teens with its gossipy characters, teen angst, and lovers from opposite sides of the tracks.

Morgan Stamm