At all of 13 years of age, fearless Ruby Redfort has seen more than the most adventurous of adults. She's a secret service agent, a position that gives her plenty of chances to exercise her mental and physical capabilities, but also comes with a high risk for injury. In the past she's dealt with a number of villains, but now that her town is plagued by a strange serial burglar and Ruby can't even keep her job, catastrophe might just strike.
Ruby Redfort: Feel the Fear is a refreshing read not only because of its very-original plotline, but also because of its interesting physical format and high quality of writing. The font changes, occasional diagrams, and section dividers make the story engaging and unique. Though Feel the Fear is the fourth in a series, Child's characterization, backstory, and descriptions are done so well that I didn't realize the book existed in a series until I finished it.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is the quality of narration. Childs writes with a tone slightly reminiscent of Lemony Snicket or Pseudonymous Bosch; her characters have distinctive personalities, and every piece of dialogue, whether it is Ruby's repeated use of the title "buster" or Hitch's consistently affectionate grouchiness, sounds completely natural and complements a cast of well fleshed-out characters.
Anton Chekhov said once, "one must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off," meaning that every element included in fiction should be irreplaceable and woven into the storyline, and unnecessary details have no place. As I proceeded through this book, I was impressed by the intricacy of Child's forethought. Throughout the concurrent development of a number of interconnected plotlines, it seemed that no detail was left out and yet every single detail Child included either was used to build suspense or would come to play an important role. In all, Child handles the pace, suspense, and action with a practiced hand, creating an overall very pleasant read.
As to the cover design, it's interesting and action-packed enough to capture a potential reader's attention. I liked that there were details on the cover -- like the hairpin and the tightrope -- I didn't pay much attention to when I picked the book up, but whose significance became apparent after I finished reading. Of course, upon further research (googling), I discovered that the cover of Feel the Fear is similar to the covers of all the rest of the books in the series, which makes for a nice sense of uniformity.
I would call Feel the Fear is a mystery or thriller. The young age of the protagonist seems to also lower the target audience, but as a 16-year-old, I still thought this was an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who would like a complex story without excessively-sophisticated narration. Those who enjoyed the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch or those who like suspense and mysteries in general would likely also enjoy this book.