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The Key to Fear

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To Health. To Life. To the Future. We are The Key. 'No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.' Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to... Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn't do what he's told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance... After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. Th To Health. To Life. To the Future. We are The Key. 'No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.' Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to... Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn't do what he's told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance... After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems. Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.


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To Health. To Life. To the Future. We are The Key. 'No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.' Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to... Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn't do what he's told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance... After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. Th To Health. To Life. To the Future. We are The Key. 'No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.' Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to... Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn't do what he's told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance... After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems. Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.

30 review for The Key to Fear

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    Lauren Oliver's DELIRIUM but make it Coronavirus. Lauren Oliver's DELIRIUM but make it Coronavirus.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    [ARC Provided by NetGalley, my review is unbiased] Wordpress Blog | Twitter | Pinterest 📗 Hello and welcome to the review of the worst book I have read this 2020. Now you probably know how much I love YA Dystopia, I read so many in the early 2000s, both great and utterly terrible, and this book is even worse. This story is completely senseless, an insta-love romance using borrowed tropes from other Dystopia novels with seemingly no new ideas of it's own, before delivering a truly mediocre ending t [ARC Provided by NetGalley, my review is unbiased] Wordpress Blog | Twitter | Pinterest 📗 Hello and welcome to the review of the worst book I have read this 2020. Now you probably know how much I love YA Dystopia, I read so many in the early 2000s, both great and utterly terrible, and this book is even worse. This story is completely senseless, an insta-love romance using borrowed tropes from other Dystopia novels with seemingly no new ideas of it's own, before delivering a truly mediocre ending that I easily predicted. 📕 Elodie and Aiden are out main characters, plus Blair, who I'll talk about later. Elodie is the stand out main character, a very bland YA protagonist nurse, who doesn't seem to have many duties than sit and watch patients. She has an abusive mother, but the story never goes into depth about this. Aiden, the second, confusingly lacks chapters, getting very few compared to Elodie and Blair. Major events happen in his life off-page, on page seems to be dedicated to his thoughts about Elodie. 📘 The world itself... everything about this book is bland and this is no exception. It's a futuristic city with amazing technology that can keep it's world uncontaminated. There are holograms for every citizen, keeping a watchful eye and barring access to places citizens don't have access to. How was this amazing tech developed in 50 years? This is never explained. Meanwhile other things, like fashion, language and events stay pretty much exactly the same. 📙 Blair is the other POV, and mind-numbingly boring. She's older than Elodie and Aiden, with an office job, and aspirations to rule the city I guess. Her whole chapters are just her being shallow and scheming poorly. While these characters have these assigned jobs, one stated to have been working since 13, the actual education system is never explained, and young children (aside from one who is unconscious) never make an appearance. 📒 The resistance is a big part of a Dystopia, and we get to see Elodie as she doesn't join the Resistance because she never fully meets them, gasp as she breaks the mold and climbs a tree one time and be in a state of shock and wonder as she... eats corn. Katniss would bow to Elodie's fearlessness, it's just incredible. Aside from this, I can't actually say much of anything about Eos, because I didn't find out anything. 📓 Other gripes I had was Elodie's secret book, which we get sections of is so poorly written and annoying, I skim read that. There's a lot of chapters and they're all in roman numerals, so after a certain point I have no idea which chapter I was on. Blair spends most of the book trying to get her brother a job for some reason. Aiden's home life does not exist, we never see it. The VR games are never explained. I could go on! I won't be picking up the sequel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Despite being shockingly relevant to our pandemic lives, this YA novel fails to convince. Set in the years after a virus killed the most of the world's population, the characters live in fear of a new outbreak. This is a dystopian nightmare based on the safety of distance. How very modern. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow Except Elodie and Aiden want to do the touchy touchy. Of course, this causes any number of problems. Instalove plus a really slow pace means this didn't hit the spot. I' Despite being shockingly relevant to our pandemic lives, this YA novel fails to convince. Set in the years after a virus killed the most of the world's population, the characters live in fear of a new outbreak. This is a dystopian nightmare based on the safety of distance. How very modern. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow Except Elodie and Aiden want to do the touchy touchy. Of course, this causes any number of problems. Instalove plus a really slow pace means this didn't hit the spot. I'm not even sure I'd recommend it for the younger crowd- it doesn't have the emotional impact necessary to distract from the bittiness of the narrative and batshit crazy ending. Overall, an underwhelming read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. These are the words that the inhabitants of this futuristic world live by. After a pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population, touch is no longer allowed. Babies are conceived using science, not by love. There is no touching, no kissing, no hugging, no anything. Spouses are basically chosen for you by the Key, the government. This dystopian, post-apocalyptic world created by Kristin Cast was definitely an eerie look into a possible future, especial No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. These are the words that the inhabitants of this futuristic world live by. After a pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population, touch is no longer allowed. Babies are conceived using science, not by love. There is no touching, no kissing, no hugging, no anything. Spouses are basically chosen for you by the Key, the government. This dystopian, post-apocalyptic world created by Kristin Cast was definitely an eerie look into a possible future, especially after we’re still reeling from 2020 and the coronavirus. The Key to Fear is 2020 x 1000 on steroids. The world building and future tech was amazing and I loved reading about it. I wasn’t that enamored with Elodie and Aiden and wasn’t thrilled about the insta-love. I did, however, want to know what was going to happen next so kept being pulled back into this story. The book ended on a cliffhanger so I do need to see how Elodie and Aiden fare on their next major adventure. *Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for the advance copy!*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    ARC received via publisher!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    There’s nothing more timely than reading a post-apocalyptic book that’s the result of a pandemic in 2020. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. After a pandemic decimates most of the population, those who remain live by this mantra. Physical contact of any kind has been outlawed. Babies are now conceived by science. The ruling government, which is referred to as the Key, chooses your career and love interest (amongst other things). The freedoms that once seemed obvious have ceased to exist. The There’s nothing more timely than reading a post-apocalyptic book that’s the result of a pandemic in 2020. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. After a pandemic decimates most of the population, those who remain live by this mantra. Physical contact of any kind has been outlawed. Babies are now conceived by science. The ruling government, which is referred to as the Key, chooses your career and love interest (amongst other things). The freedoms that once seemed obvious have ceased to exist. The story starts off as a bit of a slow burn as the author does a spectacular job of immersing you into this eerie and desolate environment that makes 2020 seem like child’s play. The intricate set up of the Key and how it controls its citizens was equal parts fascinating and frightening. This book is told from multiple POVs, but Elodie and Aidan were by far my favorites. Elodie is wicked smart and lives and breathes the rules that have been set forth by the Key. Well, that is until she meets Aidan who is pretty set on doing the exact opposite. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Elodie and Aidan and watching them work together to take on the Key. Overall, if you love a good character driven dystopian novel filled with lush world building, action, and a government that you can’t trust, this one will definitely be for you. Thank you to MTMC for the tour invite. Thank you to Blackstone Audio for providing a review copy through NetGalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sentranced Jem

    The blurb sucked me in..It IS 2020 after all...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Somewhat timely and a good dystopian. I thought the ending gathered far too much speed, and was beginning to think she didn't save anything for the next book, but she definitely did. It will be interesting to see what comes next. Somewhat timely and a good dystopian. I thought the ending gathered far too much speed, and was beginning to think she didn't save anything for the next book, but she definitely did. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isla and Maya

    The Key to Fear Author: Kristen Cast Genre: YA Sci-Fi Rating: ⭐️ / 5 Reviewed: Maya [Trigger Warning: fatphobia, fat shaming, pandemic, death of a parent, emotional abuse, suicide, human experimentation] - PLEASE BE AWARE THAT I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK - I only got through 7% of this book but I knew that I would be unable to handle the information dumps because they kept coming. The writing style was okay - nothing extraordinarily and needing some work, so it was unable to pull me into the novel. The The Key to Fear Author: Kristen Cast Genre: YA Sci-Fi Rating: ⭐️ / 5 Reviewed: Maya [Trigger Warning: fatphobia, fat shaming, pandemic, death of a parent, emotional abuse, suicide, human experimentation] - PLEASE BE AWARE THAT I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK - I only got through 7% of this book but I knew that I would be unable to handle the information dumps because they kept coming. The writing style was okay - nothing extraordinarily and needing some work, so it was unable to pull me into the novel. The characters were bland and I didn’t feel that I would be connecting with either of them as the book progressed, which always ruins the book even if there is amazing writing or plots (which this book did not have). Elodie’s secret book passages were confusing and very poorly written; I can’t see how they have any relation to the plot of the book. I could have probably pushed through and finished this book but after reading other reviews and glares from my extensive TBR, I’m going to accept that this book is not for me. Huge thanks to Netgalley, Head of Zeus and of course Kristen Cast for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date was set for the 5th of November, 2020.

  10. 5 out of 5

    hollie

    3.5 stars! I’ve been craving a dystopian read recently and this seemed to fit the bill. It was a mix between dystopian, romance and a bit of sci-fi and I enjoyed it. - Well developed characters. Initially I didn’t like how we got multiple perspectives but this grew on me as the story developed. I think the best part of this was Elodie’s character development. She genuinely grew so much and I really liked her in the end. - I really thought the plot was decent. I think there were some plot holes in 3.5 stars! I’ve been craving a dystopian read recently and this seemed to fit the bill. It was a mix between dystopian, romance and a bit of sci-fi and I enjoyed it. - Well developed characters. Initially I didn’t like how we got multiple perspectives but this grew on me as the story developed. I think the best part of this was Elodie’s character development. She genuinely grew so much and I really liked her in the end. - I really thought the plot was decent. I think there were some plot holes in some places and I had to double back a lot. I think more background info needed to be given for the reader to truly understand the world that’s created. - The ending definitely led up well for a second book and I definitely would pick book two up. Overall, a decent YA dystopian book with an interesting plot line and well developed characters. I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)

    Remember when YA dystopian was a massive craze? The Key to Fear makes me think, maybe the genre still has a bit more life to it. Maybe it's time for a comeback. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. The Key is the corporation that governs after a pandemic nearly wiped out the human race. It creates the rules. It keeps people safe. Elodie obeys the rules, at least, she used to. When she meets Aidan things begin to change, he's different, and she likes it. She's drawn deeper into the world o Remember when YA dystopian was a massive craze? The Key to Fear makes me think, maybe the genre still has a bit more life to it. Maybe it's time for a comeback. No touching today for a healthy tomorrow. The Key is the corporation that governs after a pandemic nearly wiped out the human race. It creates the rules. It keeps people safe. Elodie obeys the rules, at least, she used to. When she meets Aidan things begin to change, he's different, and she likes it. She's drawn deeper into the world of resistance, but there are consequences to every action. The scent of bleach tickled her nose. It was the way life would always smell, a fact Elodie found reassuring. Actually, she found it more than reassuring. Bleach was sterile. Bleach was safe. And, therefore, life was safe. What I look for in a good dystopia is compelling worldbuilding, and this book pulled through. Set fifty years after 75% of the population are wiped out by disease. The Key takes responsibility for saving the remaining people. The world has strict rules, including, no touching, ever. It's slow-paced, but I love immersing myself in a world before everything falls apart. It's been a long time since I've read dystopia, so I was excited regardless, but if you don't like the genre, this book won't convince you otherwise. It doesn't do much new, but it's fun. I enjoyed the romance, it had instalove elements, but it takes a long time for them to come together, so the dynamic worked well. It's a romance-forward book, although that looks like it might change in future instalments. Overall, fun but not particularly deep read. CW: fatphobia, emotional abuse, suicide, illness, death, human experimentation (Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.) If you like sci-fi and fantasy check out my Blog! You could also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    One thing I think you need to do if you’re going to write a book set in an alternate world is offer some attempt to build it up and help us to understand how this came into being. Sadly, this was lacking. In spite of numerous references to the Key and how it controls the lives of its citizens, and mention of some kind of virus that has affected people beyond ways they might imagine, there was little to explain this world. Our two main characters are Elodie and Aiden. They have a brief run-in and One thing I think you need to do if you’re going to write a book set in an alternate world is offer some attempt to build it up and help us to understand how this came into being. Sadly, this was lacking. In spite of numerous references to the Key and how it controls the lives of its citizens, and mention of some kind of virus that has affected people beyond ways they might imagine, there was little to explain this world. Our two main characters are Elodie and Aiden. They have a brief run-in and before you now it are falling in love and renouncing everything they believe in to be together. I know sometimes you can’t explain how you feel, but an attempt to rationalise it would be welcome. There’s some focus on their families and how this impacts on other choices, but not enough to really make me care too much. The signs pointing to the big twist were pretty obvious. Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this before publication. It sounded as if it would be better than it was. For me, Aiden and Elodie shall stay in Area Seven and I will remain none the wiser of the fate that befalls them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Isabel (The Reader & The Chef)

    *I received this book for free from MTMC Tours, Blackstone in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. You can also find this review at The Reader and the Chef * It is chilling how The Key to Fear is so close to our current situation right now. In a post pandemic world, The Key was created to prevent any viruses that show any potential threat to humanity. No touching is allowed, no kissing, no hugging, no fiction books *gasps*, pe *I received this book for free from MTMC Tours, Blackstone in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. You can also find this review at The Reader and the Chef * It is chilling how The Key to Fear is so close to our current situation right now. In a post pandemic world, The Key was created to prevent any viruses that show any potential threat to humanity. No touching is allowed, no kissing, no hugging, no fiction books *gasps*, people walk around in protective pods, the Key chooses your career and love interest, among other life-changing decisions. I really enjoyed reading this book, it has several POVs, but definitely my favorites were Elodie and Aidan. Elodie is a dedicated and smart young woman, she is a model resident, but as time passes she starts to question her everyday life and it all happens as soon as she meets Aidan, a funny, genuine and sweet guy to whom she instantly becomes friends with. Another character that I really liked was Tavia, she works with Adrian and constant banter between the two was hilarious, I only wish we could have read more of her! Something that caught my attention was the VR. Humanity in this dystopic world cannot do every day life activities so in order to socialize or travel, they enter into a Virtual Reality program were they can choose to meet up with friends in any type of setting and it feels like if you were really there. I thought that was pretty cool even though it does not beat experiencing this in real life. The Key to Fear was a great read for me and after that cliffhanger, I am looking forward to read what comes next!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    Thank you to Netgalley for an audio advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars This book was ok. It had an interesting premise, but it didn't hold my attention well. I think part of it was the fact that it hit so close to home for all of us right now. There had been a pandemic that killed (I think?) 75% of the population? No one is supposed to touch. People get their careers chosen for them, their friends and partners chosen for them. I really was interested in the beginning listeni Thank you to Netgalley for an audio advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars This book was ok. It had an interesting premise, but it didn't hold my attention well. I think part of it was the fact that it hit so close to home for all of us right now. There had been a pandemic that killed (I think?) 75% of the population? No one is supposed to touch. People get their careers chosen for them, their friends and partners chosen for them. I really was interested in the beginning listening to Elodie and Aidan work their separate jobs, but the middle kind of lost me. The ending picked back up and I did enjoy the end. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, Aidan may have been my favorite. I think part of it was because I listened to the audiobook and there was one narrator for the whole thing, even though there were 3 POV's, one of which was male. It was a little bit hard to remember whose POV we were on at times. While I did like Elodie for the most part, I feel like her "revelation" was kind of too quick to be believable. The ending was kind of the typical dystopian/sci-fi ending with a cliffhanger, so I can't wait to see how book 2 turns out!

  15. 4 out of 5

    El Hyrst

    Full review on my blog 9th November: https://inkandplasma.com/2020/11/09/t... Rating: 3.5 Trigger Warnings: sickness, death, fatphobia, emotional abuse, controlling relationship, human experimentation, virus, pandemic, suicide Thanks to Head of Zeus for the review copy and the tour invite, it has not impacted my honest opinion. The Key to Fear is a strong opener to a new series, a dystopian story that’s a little more familiar than anyone could have expected. I found it to be an interesting read, tho Full review on my blog 9th November: https://inkandplasma.com/2020/11/09/t... Rating: 3.5 Trigger Warnings: sickness, death, fatphobia, emotional abuse, controlling relationship, human experimentation, virus, pandemic, suicide Thanks to Head of Zeus for the review copy and the tour invite, it has not impacted my honest opinion. The Key to Fear is a strong opener to a new series, a dystopian story that’s a little more familiar than anyone could have expected. I found it to be an interesting read, though admittedly I was expecting it to me mostly focused on the dystopian virus element whereas this book has a strong romance focus. Not a bad thing, by any measure, just not quite what I expected. The premise of The Key to Fear is, in 2020, particularly eerie. Fifty years prior to the book a virus struck the world and the resulting pandemic nearly wiped out humanity. Out of the disaster of the Cerberus virus, the Key rose. A conglomerate focused on controlling the spread of the virus and protecting humanity, the Key outlawed dangerous behaviours and took control, with everything from banning books, choosing relationship matches and identifying career paths to outlawing touch itself. I found the first half of the book and the shady as hell mystery surrounding the Key, the Key’s behaviour and missing victims super super interesting. It’s rare that worldbuilding wins me over that simply but this was a realistic seeming version of a post pandemic world that never adjusted back to closeness and intimacy. The ongoing, intense fear of the virus was powerful and the technological steps that society has taken to avoid touch. There were moments where Elodie explained adaptions the world had made, like spacing out subway seats that a year ago would have seemed strange to me. Now, well. It was very, very eerie. The banned book aspect was a little strange, there wasn’t much in-text to explain why they were banned, other than the Key generally controlling things. I don’t mind that so much though, as this was the start of a series so there could be more information coming in later books, especially after the way this book ended. There’s a lot more to know about this world, particularly outside of the Zones the book starts in, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Despite not expecting it, I did think the romance was good, though not something I generally look for in a book, and I did like the way that Aiden and Elodie’s relationship was tied into the conflict in the story. It tied into several plot points (that I won’t spoil here) and there were several twists that I didn’t guess. One of them, in hindsight, was so obvious that I felt like an idiot, but it did surprise me very well. The end of the book built up into a complex ending that had my heart in my throat and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens in the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lydia 🌻

    Huge thank you to @headofzeus for having me as part of the book tour and sending me a copy to review. I LOVED this book! It was so unique and yet so hauntingly fitting for the current world situation. A world where touching is forbidden, books are banned and the Key governs the people with tight rules, err yes please! We are given a story filled with drama, mystery, adventure and romance and @kcastauthor does not disappoint. The characters were well written and fleshed out. I loved Elodie and Aide Huge thank you to @headofzeus for having me as part of the book tour and sending me a copy to review. I LOVED this book! It was so unique and yet so hauntingly fitting for the current world situation. A world where touching is forbidden, books are banned and the Key governs the people with tight rules, err yes please! We are given a story filled with drama, mystery, adventure and romance and @kcastauthor does not disappoint. The characters were well written and fleshed out. I loved Elodie and Aiden so much! Elodie trusts the Key completely and yet when she meets Aiden everything takes a turn and the world isn’t quite what Elodie thought she knew. The mystery and intrigue they find themselves on are action packed and their dynamics with the other characters gives the story that extra depth. The secondary characters build the tension and add extra levels, however I felt some of their storylines were a bit choppy. That said the world building is so unique and the intrigue is high! A world were there are monsters and contagion beyond where the government permits you to go. A world where you can’t touch. I cannot wait to read book two and see where these characters go!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher Head of Zeus via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.25 stars At first I was so drawn to this book because of this cover and its plot. It really sounded like my cup of tea. The Key to Fear is presented as a dystopian novel set in a world where touching is forbidden, books are banned and the power is in the hands of The Key, who are playing God instead of truly protecting the people. We find ourselves in a future where touching is no long The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher Head of Zeus via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.25 stars At first I was so drawn to this book because of this cover and its plot. It really sounded like my cup of tea. The Key to Fear is presented as a dystopian novel set in a world where touching is forbidden, books are banned and the power is in the hands of The Key, who are playing God instead of truly protecting the people. We find ourselves in a future where touching is no longer allowed because of a pandemic that wiped away most od the population. Given the time we are living in, this gave me goosebumps but I was very curious to find out more about this story and futuristic setting. This premise sounded extremely interesting to me also because I'm a sucker for dystopian novels and it reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale, Divergent, Hunger Games and Maze Runner. I think this book was not bad per se, but it was not the right one for me. Even though the plot here created was interesting, I think it was too similar to other things I already read and I couldn't find something really innovative.As for the character, I wasn't the biggest fan of the protagonist, but I really liked Aiden. However, I guess a younger target might be able to appreciate it a lot.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hâf

    Is it a good idea to read a book about the events that happened after a pandemic.. during a pandemic? Who knows, but I enjoyed it! The Key to Fear is a dystopian novel based on two characters, obedient rule abiding Elodie who studies and works hard, and Aidan, a rebel, a troublemaker who doesn't fit in to the carefully constructed system created by The Key. Both characters were quite cliché but still likable! It was very fascinating to read about a pandemic with a different perspective due to the Is it a good idea to read a book about the events that happened after a pandemic.. during a pandemic? Who knows, but I enjoyed it! The Key to Fear is a dystopian novel based on two characters, obedient rule abiding Elodie who studies and works hard, and Aidan, a rebel, a troublemaker who doesn't fit in to the carefully constructed system created by The Key. Both characters were quite cliché but still likable! It was very fascinating to read about a pandemic with a different perspective due to the current events in the real world, the following quote definitely hit home! 'No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.' I definitely see dystopian novels in a different light now. The Key to Fear is a very short, quick read at just about 300 pages, perfect if you're in the mood for a post-pandemic novel!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tiara

    "No touching today for a healthy tomorrow." This is the motto the citizens of Kristen Cast's newest novel, The Key to Fear, live by. In this YA dystopian novel, based 50 years post pandemic the citizens of New America are governed by a corporation called The Key. The Key controls everything. From selecting your perfect career and your ideal match, to policing human contact and creating babies in a lab. Most people live the majority of their life in VR and doing anything out in the real world is co "No touching today for a healthy tomorrow." This is the motto the citizens of Kristen Cast's newest novel, The Key to Fear, live by. In this YA dystopian novel, based 50 years post pandemic the citizens of New America are governed by a corporation called The Key. The Key controls everything. From selecting your perfect career and your ideal match, to policing human contact and creating babies in a lab. Most people live the majority of their life in VR and doing anything out in the real world is considered out of the ordinary. Elodie is a stickler for the rules. She takes her job at the Long Term Care Unity seriously and being the sole nurse overseeing a few comatose patients is quite and suites her perfectly. Everything changes when one little girl wakes up, before later dissapearing completely. With the help from Aiden, the strange boy working at The End Of Life Unit, Elodie will not stop until she has answers. She soon learns that everything she has always known is not as it seems and her whole world unravels around her. The character development in this novel was amazing and I loved watching Elodie's character mature in such a short period of time. I also enjoyed the world building though I can't help but to feel like there is so much more for us to explore and I can't wait to see where this series goes in future novels. While I did really enjoy the storyline in this book I found it to be quite slow for the first 75% and struggled to get through the pages. This is why I am only giving this book 3.5/5. If you are looking for a new dystopian to help you get through our current pandemic this is the book for you! Many thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus publishing for giving me an eARC of this novel in return for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review. First, the novel seems SO applicable currently with the crazy pandemic going on! This novel is a futuristic novel where a virus has wiped out most of the human population and now so many safety precautions are in place. The biggest is all these rules that The Key corporation has in place that are safety measures to keep the population safe and healthy...right? Elodie has always followed the rules because the rules I received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review. First, the novel seems SO applicable currently with the crazy pandemic going on! This novel is a futuristic novel where a virus has wiped out most of the human population and now so many safety precautions are in place. The biggest is all these rules that The Key corporation has in place that are safety measures to keep the population safe and healthy...right? Elodie has always followed the rules because the rules are meant to keep everyone safe, but is that all the rules are doing? And then Elodie meets Aiden. Aiden and his laissez-faire attitude, Aiden who doesn't seem to follow the rules, Aiden who Elodie wonders about... I was quite excited for this novel and then overall story and concept was enjoyable, my biggest complaint (and reason for 3 stars) was it was wwwwwaaaaaaaayyyyyyy tttoooooooooo S L O W for most of the novel! Then it sped way up and finished with some bombshells! Mind you, the extremely slow pace wasn't enough to make me want to toss the novel aside, however, I would give that warning to others. I will definitely pick up the next novel and I sure hope it isn't the reverse where it's now going to be TOO busy and fast-paced. The story was neat and interesting, I just wish I had been given more substance throughout the novel instead of just the slow burn romance.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amybibliophile

    This was a fairly fast read that interested me because of its pandemic plot-line. The book was mainly focused on the romance between Elodie and Aidan and I would have preferred more information on the virus that wiped out 90% of the population and the details of those that the virus took hold of (especially Zone Seven). It had Divergent feel to it and a lot of it I felt was predictable plot-wise nonetheless I enjoyed the story line but would have liked the author to have given me more detail. A s This was a fairly fast read that interested me because of its pandemic plot-line. The book was mainly focused on the romance between Elodie and Aidan and I would have preferred more information on the virus that wiped out 90% of the population and the details of those that the virus took hold of (especially Zone Seven). It had Divergent feel to it and a lot of it I felt was predictable plot-wise nonetheless I enjoyed the story line but would have liked the author to have given me more detail. A strong 3 of of 5 stars from me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    I received a review copy from the publisher as part of a tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. I really wanted to like this book - I really wanted dystopia to be on the rise again, but with a fresh new perspective. However, this mostly felt like a book that would have fit right into the tail end of the earlier dystopia surge with nothing really to distinguish it. So here's my problem with dystopia - it has a lot of cliches and it's hard to find a way to put a new I received a review copy from the publisher as part of a tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. I really wanted to like this book - I really wanted dystopia to be on the rise again, but with a fresh new perspective. However, this mostly felt like a book that would have fit right into the tail end of the earlier dystopia surge with nothing really to distinguish it. So here's my problem with dystopia - it has a lot of cliches and it's hard to find a way to put a new spin on it, given how many books there were out there. The main one is that the government lies is a big theme and it's supposed to be a shocking twist, but it just can't be anymore because it's expected. It's a genre I want to see resurgent, to get a new, fresh take, but everything just feels a poor copy cat of the originals. I had to fight my way through the first 100 pages as there was nothing that grabbed me in the story. It was obvious where the story was going, and that the no touching rule meant that the world would be undone by love, which it did. It was not only predictable and so cliché, but also felt like it was missing out on the enormous potential of looking into what a world without touch means psychologically. Plus the writing fell really flat for me as there was no emotion in it. It just sort of ambled along between events without evoking any chemistry between the characters. Given the whole "no touching will be broken by love" destination of the book, there really needed to be a strong romance, but I didn't find one. Instead, it felt like their "romance" was entirely being set up by the comparison to Elodie's betrothed - but any semi-decent man who bothered to hold a conversation with her would be made to look romantic by that comparison. It did get easier to read as the story went on, because I'd got into the swing of it and could read quickly thanks to knowing where it was going. Plus it was a short book. Reading a book about a post pandemic world given *gestures around* was a strange experience. Having the only thing being banned as touch felt rather unrealistic - because it left me with a lot of questions about how it was enforced, how they overcome love, and why they even had to match people to make families if the babies were grown in labs anyway. Plus there were a few flaws in how the world now deals with avoiding transmission. Sure, people have walking shields that they can pop up around them, but it didn't all follow through. If you're going to say that touch is the main transmission vector, then sharing workspaces is impossible without a thorough sanitisation - and yet that happens. Giving people objects is also out, and yet that happens. Showers are apparently out of fashion as it's perceived unsanitary (so have a UV light bath instead - even though that kills germs it doesn't remove matter from your skin etc). There are three POVs (plus maybe one or two chapters from someone else? I can't really recall), but the third - Blair - is one I'm still trying to work out why she was in there. She's an ambitious woman high up in the Key's structure, but the plot would be basically the same without her. She seems to be there to make Aiden's identity reveal a "big moment" (which was another cliché tick box moment, and also fell flat as I hadn't cared about Blair, so her information coming into Aiden's story was "eh, so what?" for me.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca (Bex the Bibliophile)

    Thank you to the publisher Head of Zeus for providing me with an arc copy of this book via NetGalley. The Key to Fear is the first Kristin Cast book that I have read, and my first dystopian novel in a long time. I am not sure what I was expecting heading into this, but the plot didn't surprise me that much, as it seemed the same as every other dystopian that I have read. One thing that I did find unique about the plot and setting was that it was set post-pandemic rather than post-war/post-natural Thank you to the publisher Head of Zeus for providing me with an arc copy of this book via NetGalley. The Key to Fear is the first Kristin Cast book that I have read, and my first dystopian novel in a long time. I am not sure what I was expecting heading into this, but the plot didn't surprise me that much, as it seemed the same as every other dystopian that I have read. One thing that I did find unique about the plot and setting was that it was set post-pandemic rather than post-war/post-natural disaster. And a post-pandemic book seems very apt at this moment. The Key to Fear switches between three different PoV's which made it initially hard to get attached towards any of the characters, but as the plot was developing, it was easier to connect to them. While I could see the point of both Elodie's and Aiden's PoV, Blair's felt a little unnecessary for this book, but I have a feeling she will become much more key later in the series, so it was good to understand her motivations before that plotline develops. In The Key to Fear there is a developing romantic relationship between Aiden and Elodie, but to me it felt like insta-love, which is not something that I like from my romances. Because as soon as they meet Elodie is in love with Aiden and he is all she can think about. But I can see the possible development of a more realistic romantic relationship in future books. I did find part of the book hard to read, as Elodie's relationship with both her mother and her matched fiance are very toxic. Within the first chapter of the book, her mother is fat-shaming her, so please do be aware if that is a trigger for you. Later in the book, her mother is also verbally abusive towards her, just because she is not the perfect clone of herself like she wanted. Rhett, her fiance, is very misogynistic, blaming her emotions and not wanting to shoot a gun on her being a woman. I found this hard to read and a little bit unnecessary for the plot as it didn't add anything to it, so it didn't need to be there. One issue that I did have with The Key to Fear was that there was a lot of missing information and context. As events would be mentioned in early chapters, and I thought everything was going to circle back round to them, yet they were never mentioned again. This left me with questions, which I probably will have forgotten by the time the second book in the series is released. I would have also loved to have got an explanation as to how the Key came about, and what actually happened during the pandemic as it is never addressed. This made it feel like necessary context was missing, making the book very confusing at certain points. Overall, The Key to Fear was a solid start to a new dystopian series. I definitely feel that there is room for improvement within the plot and the relationships, but I have high hopes for the series. I will probably pick up the sequel when it is released.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    This book hooked me right away. Obviously from the description I was immediately feeling the tension of art impersonated reality. With the way the world is now, I’m often thinking about the loss of “touch”. Those quick hugs when greeting a friend. The longer embraces of comfort offered to a loved one in pain. The simple act of holding one’s hand while watching a movie or going for a walk. These are things I personally already miss and I can still do them occasionally. The description of a world This book hooked me right away. Obviously from the description I was immediately feeling the tension of art impersonated reality. With the way the world is now, I’m often thinking about the loss of “touch”. Those quick hugs when greeting a friend. The longer embraces of comfort offered to a loved one in pain. The simple act of holding one’s hand while watching a movie or going for a walk. These are things I personally already miss and I can still do them occasionally. The description of a world years after a pandemic decimated the human race and those that survived living under the rule of a corporation know as the Key. Living by the strictest law of all no touching. Well it drew me in right off the bat. The main players in this story Elodie, Aiden, and Blaire, along with many interesting supporting characters did a great job of bringing this world to life. Elodie and Aiden seem at first to be so different from everyone they know. Why do they question? Why do they each engage in small acts of defiance almost daily? It seems only natural that they would find each other and feel connected immediately. But that very connection leads them down a path that they might not be able to return from. This book is clearly set up to be the start of a series. The pacing is fast and the reader races along just wanting to know what happens next? I would recommend this book to fans of the Hunger Games, Divergent or even the lesser known Matched trilogies for the similar dystopian settings, first person narratives as well as the underlying idea of free will vs. determinism. For the narrator Descha Polanco was wonderful. Descha’s voice gave this story a slightly ethnic feel which I appreciated. I knew I had heard this voice a lot somewhere and I finally looked the name up on IMDB. Seeing Descha’s face OITNB immediately jumped to mind. Since this is a YA book I’m not sure how recognizable she will be to teens, but I really enjoyed the narration. I will definitely be looking for the next in this series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bo0kSLoth

    This story will creep up on you. It has a relevant post-apocalyptic vibe that feels eerily like foreshadowing for real life. It's set in a world that has suffered catastrophic effects from a virus that has wiped out most of the world's population. The Key corporation was able to safe the few survivors with a vaccine and other safety measures (like a Violet personal bubble) because of this the Key pretty much now runs the remaining world cities (for the good of the people - of course!!). In the f This story will creep up on you. It has a relevant post-apocalyptic vibe that feels eerily like foreshadowing for real life. It's set in a world that has suffered catastrophic effects from a virus that has wiped out most of the world's population. The Key corporation was able to safe the few survivors with a vaccine and other safety measures (like a Violet personal bubble) because of this the Key pretty much now runs the remaining world cities (for the good of the people - of course!!). In the fifty years since the pandemic, there is no longer social touching, hand holding, kissing, ANY intimate contact of any kind. All child are made in vitro uteruses and delivered to the families with a nanny bot to care for them for the first 4 years of life. Jobs are selected for you; marriage are made up of the perfect scientific matches. Perfect society, right?!? Elodie has been living the life she has been told to live, working the job she has been told to work; she is even engaged to merry the man the Key told her to marry. She should be happy, but she isn't. She is restless, but doesn't know why. Aidan is a rebel within the rules. He tries the boundaries, but never breaks them. He knows the consequences; he just wants to know how far he can push. When he meets Elodie, he sees the the hidden rebel on her. He just needs to help her find her way. No problem. No one will find out or get hurt. It will stay a secret. But in Westfall, nothing stays a secret for long and soon this little rebellion will end up having unexpected consequences, consequences that change both of their lives forever. This story had a lot of different POVs and can get confusing sometimes as the authors is weaving this story and pulling this plot together. Even now there are still strings of storyline hanging that, I as the reader, hope will be addressed in the following book. It is a story that in my head I think of like piece of art. It starts out slow and vague with the reader trying to get a feeling of what is going on. Then it starts to pickup as more detail and fine tuning is added to give definition and intrigue to the story. Finally, you get that clearer picture of a scene and see what is going on and start to understand the portion that the author was trying to convey. The story unfolded very well. I can't wait for the next book. ** I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review. **

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Hart

    The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast I have been in search of a new YA dystopian novel, as it’s a genre I do love reading. I am so glad that I read this amazing novel by Kristin Cast. It’s compared to novels like The Handmaids Tale and Vox, both equally amazing dystopias. The Key governs the world, they tell their citizens that they must not touch. Intimacy between people is absolutely forbidden. This is due to a pandemic that wiped out Billions of people, and The Key blames humans for this and seeks The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast I have been in search of a new YA dystopian novel, as it’s a genre I do love reading. I am so glad that I read this amazing novel by Kristin Cast. It’s compared to novels like The Handmaids Tale and Vox, both equally amazing dystopias. The Key governs the world, they tell their citizens that they must not touch. Intimacy between people is absolutely forbidden. This is due to a pandemic that wiped out Billions of people, and The Key blames humans for this and seeks to control all in a bid to stop another deadly pandemic. They don’t stop at making touching illegal, they have banned books and expect people to live their lives through VR, hardly meeting with actual people in real life. Elodie the main character takes The Keys rules seriously and trusts their advice. However, in walks Aiden, a boy that makes Elodie think and ask questions, he makes her wonder if life can be lived another way, and whether the all-knowing The Key is actually the protector, or the captor playing with their lives, playing at being God. I would recommend to anyone who loves YA dystopia.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denice Langley

    The "Key" in THE KEY TO FEAR is an organization that assumes control of the few humans left alive after a virus kills off most of the world. The humans left alive are so afraid of contracting this virus that they allow this organization to control their lives. There is no touching allowed for fear of disease transmission. No kisses, no hugs, so sex....you get the picture. Violations of this rule are punishable by death. This is the first book in a new series. Two individuals start to question th The "Key" in THE KEY TO FEAR is an organization that assumes control of the few humans left alive after a virus kills off most of the world. The humans left alive are so afraid of contracting this virus that they allow this organization to control their lives. There is no touching allowed for fear of disease transmission. No kisses, no hugs, so sex....you get the picture. Violations of this rule are punishable by death. This is the first book in a new series. Two individuals start to question the total control of the Key. When their paths cross, they join forces to investigate who is controlling the controllers. A unique start to a new series. Kristin Cast has done an excellent job of building a world that feels all too real these days and setting two people on the road to finding a solution that we could only hope would help us too. A sci fi that seems too close to nonfiction for comfort.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roseanna

    This story is absolutely fantastic. I bought this book because I am a fan of the author (not normally a reader of dystopian type stories) and I was not disappointed. "No touching today for a healthy tomorrow " completely resonates with our current lives. The eerily prophetic way Kristin Cast has created this world for us really makes you think about our future.. This story sucked me in had me begging for more. Its crazy how the characters can't touch but so much feeling and emotion is written be This story is absolutely fantastic. I bought this book because I am a fan of the author (not normally a reader of dystopian type stories) and I was not disappointed. "No touching today for a healthy tomorrow " completely resonates with our current lives. The eerily prophetic way Kristin Cast has created this world for us really makes you think about our future.. This story sucked me in had me begging for more. Its crazy how the characters can't touch but so much feeling and emotion is written between them. Can you imagine never kissing your husband, never hugging your mother, or never cuddling your newborn? Elodie is a like a flower waiting to bloom. She has so much inside that she just needed a little encouragement to let out. I love watching her grow into a strong woman. I cant wait for more of this series it has truly sucked me in.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Short and Sweet Reviews by Sam

    Before I begin my review for The Key to Fear (The Key book one) by Kristin Cast, I would personally like to thank the author, the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC and I have reviewed it honestly. Dystopian tales have never been more possible. 50 years after a global pandemic wipes out a large percentage of human kind, The Key takes hold and governs a stringent society with rigid rules. Rule number one? No touching. Join a contrasting cast of characters as secrets a Before I begin my review for The Key to Fear (The Key book one) by Kristin Cast, I would personally like to thank the author, the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC and I have reviewed it honestly. Dystopian tales have never been more possible. 50 years after a global pandemic wipes out a large percentage of human kind, The Key takes hold and governs a stringent society with rigid rules. Rule number one? No touching. Join a contrasting cast of characters as secrets are shared, rules are broken and hearts are destroyed. The Key to Fear features, but is not limited to, the following themes: ○ YA fantasy ○ YA romance ○ Dystopian ○ Strict society ○ Futuristic technology ○ Post pandemic My overall rating for The Key to Fear is… 4 Stars! This book was such a crazy concept of a post pandemic world where people are not allowed to touch each other. I see touching another person as a basic need for human kind and the possibility of having that taken away is unimaginable! Cast creates an eerie world with relatable characters and shocking events that will leave you utterly devastated.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    I received this book free for review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I had to have this book when I saw it was by one of my favourite authors Kristin Cast! I love the house of night series. Plus how could I not read a book that is my favourite genre dystopian and the main character works in a hospital (I am a nurse). I really liked the characters and the story and the little bit of a twist. I can’t wait to continue on in the series (only bad park about ARCs are you have to wait I received this book free for review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I had to have this book when I saw it was by one of my favourite authors Kristin Cast! I love the house of night series. Plus how could I not read a book that is my favourite genre dystopian and the main character works in a hospital (I am a nurse). I really liked the characters and the story and the little bit of a twist. I can’t wait to continue on in the series (only bad park about ARCs are you have to wait even longer for the next book haha). I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone!

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