Fearless (novel series)

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Fearless (novel series)
Fearlness
Author Francine Pascal
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young-adult fiction

Fearless is a series of teen novels written by Francine Pascal, creator of the Sweet Valley High franchise.[1] The first book in the series, Fearless, was published in 1999 through Simon Pulse and concluded in 2004 with the 36th entry, Gone.[2] A spinoff series, Fearless FBI was launched in 2005.[3] The first book in the primary series, Fearless, was named one of YALSA's "Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers" for 2001.[4]

The series takes place in the 1990s and focuses on Gaia Moore, a seventeen-year-old girl who is incapable of feeling fear.[5] Fearless focuses predominantly on Gaia's interactions and relationships with the people around her, as well as her search for an explanation for her condition and her struggle to feel like a normal teenager.[6] The series is told primarily in three story arcs, each of which has its own primary antagonist, and concludes with Gaia graduating from high school.

Backstory[edit]

Gaia has had past strife in her family as a result of a love triangle between Gaia's mother (Katia) and the twin siblings Tom and Oliver Moore. Katia ultimately rejected Oliver, which caused him to become obsessed with her. Katia eventually married Tom, but on the night of the wedding Oliver pretended to be Tom and had sex with Katia. She eventually conceived Gaia with Tom, only for Oliver to believe that Gaia is his daughter. This is later revealed to be untrue, as Oliver had become sterile due to a life saving medical operation he received as a child, which also contributed to his unstable mental status.

Oliver spent many years evading the CIA but was eventually caught by Katia's father, a Russian terrorist named Yuri. Yuri contained Oliver, who eventually overtook Yuri's organization and became its leader, adopting the moniker of Loki. He would later try to connect with Gaia by visiting her under the guise of being her father Tom and teaching her martial arts. This confused Gaia, who eventually rejected Oliver. Oliver's actions were eventually detected by Tom and Oliver went into hiding once again. It was during this time that Gaia began to show a lack of fear, which was eventually confirmed by CIA testing that proclaimed her genetically unable to experience fear for herself.

Oliver did not re-emerge in Gaia's life until she was twelve, when he tried to assassinate Tom but instead killed Katia by accident. This spurred Tom to essentially abandon Gaia in hopes of sparing her from Oliver's attentions, which would embitter her towards her father and cause her to become emotionally withdrawn and antisocial. Gaia spent the remainder of her childhood in several abusive foster homes.

Story arcs[edit]

First story arc[edit]

The first story arc shows Oliver "Loki" Moore, the leader of a Russian terrorist organization, trying to regain Gaia's trust due to his mistaken belief that she is his daughter. He uses several extreme methods to get close to her and issues commands for his agents to track her movements, which continues throughout the entire series. This endangers not only Gaia, but the people around her, as she has recently begun her freshman year at a New York City high school. She makes several friends such as the paraplegic Ed Fargo and more notably, the college student Sam, whom Gaia has a crush on. Her crush is made complicated by the fact Sam is dating Gaia's rival Heather.

Loki attempts to isolate Gaia by kidnapping or killing anyone close to her, which results in the kidnapping of Sam. Gaia manages to rescue Sam from Loki, but is unable to save her best friend Mary or her foster mother Ella from Loki's attempts. Heather breaks up with Sam and begins dating Ed, but dumps him shortly after her older sister Phoebe goes to rehab for anorexia nervosa. Gaia begins to date Sam, but the relationship is strained by stress placed upon Sam by his RA Josh and is later ended completely with Sam's apparent death. Things are further complicated when it is revealed that not only is Josh one of four clones created by Loki, but that he has given Heather a "fearless serum" that has caused her to go blind.

During this time Ed undergoes a surgery that corrects his paraplegia and Gaia manages to befriend Heather after she rescues her from a murder attempt. The characters of Natasha and Tatiana, a Russian mother and daughter, are introduced into the series and move in with Tom and Gaia. Eventually Gaia begins to date Ed and the two form a romantic and sexual relationship together, but become distant after Ed is almost killed by an assassin.

Loki eventually realizes that he will never gain Gaia's full trust and attempts to clone Gaia and to create a successful serum to replicate her fearlessness. He tries to take the serum, only to end up in a coma. The story arc ends with Tom also falling into a coma after partaking in a dinner with Gaia, Ed, Natasha and Tatiana. Tom goes missing and is presumed to have been captured by a mysterious organization operating out of Loki's control.

Second story arc[edit]

In the second arc it is revealed that Gaia's ex-boyfriend Sam is not dead, but was held hostage for several months in Loki's terrorist compound, which is now abandoned. Upon being freed he and Gaia search the compound in hopes of finding a clue to her father Tom's whereabouts, but find only an old man named Dmitri. Sam discovers that Gaia is dating Ed, which wounds him emotionally.

During this time several attempts are made upon Gaia's life, which prompt Gaia to suspect that Sam was brainwashed into becoming her enemy. It is eventually revealed to be Tatiana and Natasha, who work for an organization that is outside of Loki's control. The reason for the attempts was due to Gaia's status as the heir of her grandfather Yuri's criminal organization, a status that Gaia was unaware of. Things grow more tense when it is revealed that Dmitri is actually Yuri and that Natasha and Tatiana are cousins of Gaia's mother. The two are captured in a trap set by the FBI and Gaia.

With help from Loki, who has awakened from his coma, Gaia discovers that her father is in Siberia. She leaves for Siberia with Jake and Loki, a charismatic classmate that is skilled in martial arts. It is shown that the coma and serum have left Loki with a more benevolent persona, prompting him to eschew his former actions as Loki and assume the name Oliver. The group succeeds in not only rescuing Tom, but also capturing Loki. The success of the operation prompts Gaia to begin a relationship with Jake, who had been romantically pursuing her throughout the arc. Gaia is left with the hope that because Yuri's organization has been toppled and Oliver now has a different personality, that her troubles are over.

Third Story Arc[edit]

The final story arc introduces the Rodke family, a wealthy family that owns a well-known global pharmaceutical company. Gaia befriends the youngest two Rodke siblings, Liz and her twin brother Chris. During this time a drug dealer known only by the name "God" introduces a new street drug called "Invince", named as such because it makes the user feel invincible and fearless. While not the same drug, it greatly resembles the one created by Oliver while he was Loki, but has the additional side effect of extreme aggression.

Meanwhile Gaia is under a series of new attacks, which her uncle Oliver and boyfriend Jake try to investigate. She also tries to approach the geneticist Dr. Ulrich, an employee for Rodke Pharmaceuticals, with the hope of finding a cure for her fearless condition. He tells her that he can cure her by way of a surgical procedure, which is ultimately successful. This is further proven when later on she flees from a group of Invince drug addicts rather than stay and fight. Her new status leads to mixed emotions when she discovers that the same group of addicts attacks her friend Ed and his new girlfriend Kai, leaving them both with scars. Gaia's new fearful disposition prompts her to begin hanging out with Skylar Rodke, the brother of Liz and Chris. He emotionally manipulates Gaia into staying several days with him and skipping prom, which strains her relationship with Jake.

Jake soon discovers that Chris is the one selling Invince, which results in Chris issuing an order for all of the Invince addicts to kill Jake upon sight. He survives one such attempt on his life only by the interception of Oliver. It is ultimately revealed that Chris had distributed the drug in an attempt to show the military Invince's dangers, as well as because Chris's father shunned him for being gay and the second sibling. The military, who had expressed interest in purchasing the drug, backed out of the contract.

The effects of Gaia's surgery begin to wear off, leaving her with her fearless state once again. She overhears a plan that the Rodkes are going to dissect her in order to examine her DNA for the source of her condition, but ultimately fails to escape Skylar and the Rodke's clutches. She's saved from death by the arrival of her family and Jake. Chris appears and informs Skylar that the police are on their way, which prompts the two siblings to try to kill one another. In the process Chris tries to shoot at Gaia, who is saved when Jake takes the bullet for her. He dies as a result of this, which leaves Gaia completely traumatized and prompts her to leave New York forever.

Protagonists[edit]

  • Gaia Moore: The seventeen-year-old protagonist, Gaia is extremely intelligent and is heavily trained in various martial arts. She is incapable of feeling fear, which gives her more physical strength than the average person. Gaia has dated three people throughout the series, Sam, Ed, and Jake. By the series end she has graduated from high school but leaves New York after the death of her boyfriend Jake.
  • Tom Moore: The father of Gaia and D Moore, Tom is also the twin brother of Oliver. He is a CIA field agent that went by the codename Enigma, but previously worked as a Green Beret. After his brother killed his wife Katia, Tom sent Gaia away in hopes of saving her from death and danger.
  • Katia Moore: Gaia's mother and love interest of Oliver "Loki" Moore, she was accidentally killed in an assassination attempt meant for her husband Tom.
  • D Moore: Gaia's younger brother, D was introduced in the second super edition and has the ability to see auras. He was kidnapped shortly after birth and his parents were told that he had died in childbirth. Unlike Gaia, D has little physical abilities and is slightly autistic and handicapped. He eventually ends up living on a farm with caring parents.
  • Mary Moss: A drug user introduced in the fourth book, Mary befriended Gaia but was eventually killed by Loki after he thought that she was growing too close to Gaia.
  • Ed Fargo: Gaia's first friend in New York, Ed was originally paraplegic but was fixed through surgery. He had a crush on Gaia that is eventually reciprocated, but the constant danger in Gaia's life ends the relationship. Ed eventually becomes disillusioned with Gaia and her unstable and dangerous lifestyle, and begins dating someone else.
  • Sam Moon: Sam Moon is a college student and Gaia's first romantic love interest in the book. He is first shown to be dating Heather, but begins dating Gaia after Heather breaks up with him. Sam is temporarily believed to be dead after his RA Josh shoots him, but was actually held captive at Loki's stronghold. He's eventually rescued by Gaia, but their reunion is strained once he realizes she is dating Ed. He does not return in the story until the last book, where he is shown escorting Heather to the prom.
  • Heather Gannis: She was formerly the most popular girl at school and once acted as Gaia's rival. The two eventually make friends with one another after Heather is struck blind by the fearless serum and an attempt is made upon her life. Heather briefly dated Ed, but by the series' end she is shown to be dating Sam once again.
  • Jake Montone: Jake is Gaia's third romantic interest, after Sam and Ed. He is well trained in martial arts and is very popular at their school. Gaia isn't initially interested in Jake, but begins to date him after he helps her rescue her father and put an end to her grandfather Yuri's terrorist organization. He dies at the end of the series after he jumps in the path of a bullet meant for Gaia.

Antagonists[edit]

  • Loki: A pseudonym for Oliver Moore, Gaia's uncle and Tom's twin brother. He contracted a rare disease that prompted him to require a surgery during his childhood, which seemed to have a negative effect on his psychological state. He eventually joined Yuri's terrorist organization and overthrew Yuri. He tried to insinuate himself into Gaia's life, but ultimately failed. He later reappeared after falling into a coma caused by taking the fearless serum, but with an entirely new and benevolent personality. It is implied several times throughout the series that the personalities of Loki and Oliver are two separate entities. He eventually checks himself into a mental hospital after the events in the final story arc.
  • David Twain: He is similar to Gaia in that he is unable to feel any fear towards himself. He was discovered by Loki, who broke David's psyche and caused him to believe that he was better than Gaia. He became obsessed with proving himself and ended up killing a girl that looks similar to Gaia. David is killed by Loki after he has fulfilled the extent of his usefulness.
  • Ella and George Niven: The wife of George Niven, Tom's old CIA friend. She and her husband initially act as Gaia's guardians, but are actually sleeper agents working for Loki. Ella is infatuated with Loki and is enraged when she realizes that Loki was going to move to Europe without telling her. She is eventually murdered by one of Loki's assassins. Her husband George isn't trusted as much as Ella due to George's friendship with Tom. After his wife's death he becomes more and more disillusioned with himself.
  • Josh Kendall: One of Loki's henchmen, he is one of four clones created by Loki in an attempt to re-create Gaia's fearless condition. The first Josh fell in love with Gaia's friend Heather, but is later killed. All four of the clones are eventually killed by Loki.
  • Timmy: A classmate of Gaia that is later revealed to be a rapist after a failed attempt to rape Gaia. He is eventually arrested for his crimes.
  • Doctor Ulrich A geneticist working for the Rodke Family that managed to temporarily cure Gaia's fearlessness. He made an attempt on Gaia's life in the hopes of creating a perfect fearless serum, but was shot to death by Chris Rodke.
  • Chris Rodke: A minor antagonist in the third story arc, Chris is initially a friend of Gaia's. He is eventually revealed to be the person who is distributing the destructive drug Invince as a way of revenge against his father for his homophobia and because the drug is truly harmful.
  • Skylar Rodke The eldest Rodke sibling, Skylar captured Gaia after she realized that he was part of an attempt to kill her in order to create a perfect fearless serum. At the end of the book he is arrested for his crimes.
  • Mr.Rodke The father of the Rodke children and the creator of Rodke Pharmaceuticals. He is very wealthy and tries to kill Gaia in an attempt to create a fearless serum.
  • Natasha Tatiana's mother and for a time, Tom's lover due to her similarity to his dead wife Katia. She moved in with Tom but eventually betrayed him and Gaia after she realized that Tatiana would not inherit Yuri's organization, as the two are actually related to Katia, Yuri, and Gaia. She is eventually arrested for her crimes.
  • Tatiana Natasha's daughter, she is behind several attempts on Gaia's life after they discover that Gaia is next in line to inherit her grandfather Yuri's organization.
  • Yuri The grandfather of Gaia and uncle to Natasha and Tatiana. He led a large criminal organization and at one point captured Oliver/Loki for raping his daughter Katia, but was overthrown by Loki and imprisoned. He is rescued by Gaia and Sam, who are unaware of his true identity. He chooses to have Gaia run his organization rather than Tatiana, as he believes her to be a better candidate. He is eventually captured.

Titles[edit]

  1. Fearless (1999)
  2. Sam (1999)
  3. Run (1999)
  4. Twisted (1999)[7]
  5. Kiss (2000)
  6. Payback (2000)
  7. Rebel (2000)
  8. Heat (2000)
  9. Blood (2000)
  10. Liar (2000)
  11. Trust (2000)
  12. Killer (2000)
  13. Bad (2001)
  14. Missing (2001)
  15. Tears (2001)
  16. Naked (2001)
  17. Flee (2001)
  18. Love (2001)
  19. Twins (2001)
  20. Sex (released in the UK as Hurt) (2002)
  21. Blind (2002)
  22. Alone (2002)
  23. Fear (2002)
  24. Betrayed (2002)
  25. Lost (2002)
  26. Escape (2003)
  27. Shock (2003)
  28. Chase (2003)
  29. Lust (2003)
  30. Freak (2003)
  31. Normal (2004)
  32. Terror (2004)
  33. Wired (2004)
  34. Fake (2004)
  35. Exposed (2004)
  36. Gone (2004)

Super Editions[edit]

  1. Before Gaia (2002)
  2. Gaia Abducted (2003)
  3. The Silent Hand (never published)
  4. The Screaming Heart (never published)

Fearless FBI[edit]

  1. Kill Game (2005)
  2. Live Bait (2005)
  3. Agent Out (2006)
  4. Naked Eye (2006)

Television pilot[edit]

Columbia TriStar Television optioned the television rights for Fearless in 1999 and a pilot episode was filmed for The WB for the Fall 2003 television season.[8] The series would have starred Rachael Leigh Cook as Gaia, who would now be a 23-year-old field agent for the FBI. The show was never aired, as producer Jerry Bruckheimer pulled the show due to various concerns and the time slot was later filled with One Tree Hill.[9] Warren Ellis later reviewed the pilot episode and criticized it as "too unfocussed [sic] to make consistently engaging television, and I think it's the wrong composition of concepts to hook the young audience I assume they're playing for."[10]

Spinoff[edit]

In June 2005 a spinoff series entitled Fearless FBI was launched. The series describes Gaia's post-college life, where she decides to join the FBI as opposed to the CIA, the organization her father belongs to. Gaia forms a working relationship and friendship with her partner Catherine Sanders, as well as a romantic relationship with Will Taylor.

The series currently only has four books and the series was left unfinished as of Naked Eye, the fourth book in the series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shain, MIchael (Oct 9, 1998). "'FEARLESS' GRAB FOR TEEN SERIES". New York Post. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Zeisler, Andi (2008). Feminism and Pop Culture: Seal Studies. Seal Press. p. 97. ISBN 1580052371. 
  3. ^ Newcomb, Melissa. "‘Kill Game’ should be put out of its misery.". Fredricksburg.com. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "2001 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers". YALSA. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Harrison, Judy (Dec 6, 1999). "'Fearless' aims for teen reader". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Carpan, Carolyn (2008). Sisters, Schoolgirls, and Sleuths: Girls' Series Books in America. Scarecrow Press. pp. 130, 138. ISBN 0810857561. 
  7. ^ "Fearless 4: Twisted. (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Maughan, Shannon. "Children's Books Go Hollywood". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  9. ^ McFarland, Melanie (July 14, 2003). "Cookie-cutter stars offer little variety at WB". Seattle PI. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Warren Ellis Reviews the WB's FEARLESS!!". AICN. Retrieved 25 October 2013.