Title: The Fear Trials
(The Murder Complex #0.5)
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Thriller, Novella
First published: May 17th 2014
Finished reading: October 29th 2015 
Pages: 100
Rating 4,5qqq

“We have choices. We can die, or we can choose to fight so that we may live.”


In a way I wish I would have read this prequel novella a lot sooner, because it would have definitely convinced me to pick up the first book right away. The Fear Trials is entertaining for those who have already read The Murder Complex (like me) or perfect for those who are not completely convinced they want to read the series. I agree The Fear Trials is not for everyone and those who don’t like violent stories are probably better off staying away from this one. But if you like a good dystopian thriller this series is perfect. Both the plot, worldbuilding and the characters are very well done and it shows even in this short novella. It is the perfect teaser for those who are thinking of trying this series and I would definitely recommend reading it if you enjoy the genre. Lindsay Cummings‘ writing is excellent and you won’t be disappointed!


Meadow Woodson has been trained by her father to survive in a dystopian world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. As a rite of passage in their family, Meadow has to complete the Fear Trials with his brother as her competition. The trials are supposed to harden her and prepare her for the violent world outside of their houseboat… Her brother doesn’t seem strong enough to do what he must do, but will Meadow end up being strong like her father? Will she be able to complete the fear trials en finally claim her own weapon?


The Fear Trials gives you a glimpse of the violent and crazy dystopian world the main characters have to survive in every day. The worldbuilding is very well done (even in this novella), the prose is excellent and the pace is fast. If you enjoy dystopian thrillers and don’t mind a healthy dose of violence, you will probably love this series. And even if you are not fully convinced, this short novella is the perfect way to find out if this story is for you. Recommended!