Ann Halam: The Fear Man

The Fear Man (or The Nightwindow – Das Nachtfenster) is the second of the four books I wanted to finish before the weekend and the third review of the Book-Week.

What is it about?

3 of 5 stars

Andrei is an ordinary boy, that just wants to live an ordinary life, but it has something else in mind for him. His mother is constantly on the run from something she is not telling her children, but this time she tries to settle down and provide them with a proper home. Her plan might have worked if it weren’t for the Fear Man and his garbage-monsters that keep following them, since Andrei and his sister Elsa explored an old house with a hidden secret…

The reading experience

Again I read this book in the bus and was finished quite soon as it didn’t hit the 200 pages either.
The chapters were rather long with little spacings for stops, but many sentences ended with the page end and the stopping problem I mentioned yesterday, wasn’t that bad through this.

Most of the story was rather slow, but the pace picked up whenever there was a threat to the children and during the finale. This was probably due to the first person narrator, which was a bit odd at the beginning, but I soon got used to it.

The characters

Andrei is the narrator of the story and the slow pace kind of resembles his thought process. He is far from being stupid, but he has his moments of stupidity single-mindedness. Though the decisions he makes are explained through his upbringing, it’s not always understandable why he is being so stubborn.

Elsa on the other hand is open minded and seemingly knows the things she needs to do without much thinking about them. This, however, also made her quite an arrogant person, but one of those that kind of have the right to be, thanks to their abilities. I enjoyed it when she – and the other female lead, Dita – confronted Andrei with what he didn’t want to think about. His reaction was most of the time unsatisfying, yet understandable for his kind of character.

Those three are pretty much the whole cast. We learn about the mother, Andrei’s father and other adults (and kids), but even if they play a plot-related role they don’t appear that often.
Still, there was some kind of sympathy for the mother and aversion towards the father, on my part.

All three women (Elsa, Dita, mother) were a nice change to the lovey-dovey girls/women I had to read about in The Awakening and The Hunter’s Moon. They were strong, stubborn, independent and simply women who don’t let anyone tell them how to live their life. Of course they also had their issues, but they were still a nice variation of the most common interpretation of the gender.

General Opinion

This one was definitely better than Tiger Tiger, even though it also follows a boy – this time even his point of view the whole time.

From quite early on it was clear that there would be another element in the mix. The creatures attacking them let you think as much already in the blurb. Elsa later gave it a name: Magic. And this time it was explained how it works, who is able to use it and how this gift is inherited. All the information I missed in the previous novel. I enjoyed the descriptions of the magic and its user. It was nice, something different, something phantastical, yet still a bit sciency and rational. I like that, but there still could have been a little more of it. Like how did Elsa know which spells/enchantments to use? Is the knowledge inherited as well or did she read something? It was only described as her being a natural talent, but I still would have liked a bit more about it.

The story was really an improvement and made me wonder whether I should really give the book away or simply keep it until I have or know kids in the proper age that want to start reading. It seems to me like a nice start into more elaborate fiction.

Stuff I’d like to add

As I learned while looking for the book on GoodReads is Ann Halam the pseudonym of the authoress Gwyneth Jones.

And I cheated a bit with the posting date as I wanted to post a review a day, but right now it’s already the 24th and I wasn’t finished. After attending the advanced showing of Wacken 3D we spontaneously decided to have a drink in the English pub and well, one drink became two and bam was it close to midnight and after midnight when I arrived at my place…


© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.


  1. Also auf deinem Blog muss ich mich erstmal zurecht finden…zumal ich etwas länger brauch um das englische zu übersetzen…auch ohne Übersetzer^^ Ich danke dir für meinen Besuch auf meinem Blog und ich drück uns beiden die Daumen, das wir bei Kai Meyers Gewinnspiel gewinnen 😀
    LG Scatty

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