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Thursday, October 17, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Furies by Katie Lowe @jessmapreviews

The Furies 
by Katie Lowe

Thank you St. Martin's Press for these copies.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: October 8, 2019
368 Pages
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller

This page-turning, harrowing debut is the story of a girl trying to fit in, whose obsessive new friends and desperation to belong leads her to places she'd never imagined...dark, dangerous, and possibly even violent.

In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead.

She's posed on a swing on her boarding school's property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. Whispers and rumors swirl, with no answers. But there are a few who know what happened; there is one girl who will never forget.

One year earlier: a new student, Violet, steps on the campus of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl's boarding school on the outskirts of a sleepy coastal town. This is her fresh start, her chance to begin again in the wake of tragedy, leave her demons behind. Bright but a little strange, uncertain and desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to an advanced study group, led by her alluring and mysterious art teacher, Annabel.

There, with three other girls--Alex, Grace, and Robin--the five of them delve into the school's long-buried grim history: of Greek and Celtic legends; of the school founder's "academic" interest in the occult; of gruesome 17th century witch trials. Annabel does her best to convince the girls that her classes aren't related to ancient rites and rituals, and that they are just history and mythology. But the more she tries to warn the girls off the topic, the more they drawn to it, and the possibility that they can harness magic for themselves.

Violet quickly finds herself wrapped up in this heady new world of lawless power--except she is needled by the disappearance of a former member of the group, one with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance. As her friends' actions take a turn for the darker and spiral out of control, she begins to wonder who she can trust, all the while becoming more deeply entangled. How far will these young girls go to protect one another...or to destroy one another?

My Review:

Hail to the Guardians of the Watchtower of the Struggle Bus! As a HUGE fan of the Craft it was hard NOT to do comparisons of this and as such, this is how the casting would've compared:
Robin is Nancy (hello crazy town).  Violet is Sarah (the new girl to complete the circle).  Alex is probably Rochelle and Grace Bonnie (but both characters felt a bit interchangeable).  Chris is Tom, Nicky is definitely Laura (but a little bit nicer) and The Furies are Manon.  We never get a beautiful butterfly scene but we do see the escalation as things play out.

Taking away from any comparisons, the beginning and middle of this book are slow going.  There's a lot of build up without a lot of bang.  HOWEVER, the last quarter of the book does make up for this somewhat as I did like where the author took us with the story.  I just felt disengaged at this point.  All the characters are terrible people, either doing terrible things or having terrible things done to them.  I wouldn't have minded if everyone died (and let's be clear, I actually don't mind feeling this way towards characters so this was all a plus in my book).  

I think those that love the slow burn with the witchy feel of a group of girls taking matters into their own hands will enjoy this read.  


Jessica's Review:

When I heard people comparing THE FURIES to The Craft, I got really excited! This was a great debut for author Katie Lowe and I can see fans of the YA thriller genre loving it. I think going into this I wasn't necessarily anticipating a YA read, so that kind of threw me for a little bit. I also want to point out that this one is a slower moving book. So I would classify this less as a thriller and more of a suspense.

A murder at an all girls boarding school, witchcraft, secrets, and a group of friends all at the center of it. All elements that I love and the author did a great job setting up the atmosphere of the school and the surroundings. That prologue had me instantly intrigued and sucked in, but like a lot of other readers, the middle portion of the book really dragged for me. I found myself setting it aside a few times to pick up other books in between. The ending really picked up the pacing though and that helped a lot to end the book strong. I think some readers won't be happy with the way the book was left open-ended and up to the reader's interpretation. I personally didn't mind it.

I wasn't the biggest fan of any of the characters (not a bad thing) and only a couple really stood out in terms of their own voice and being developed. Overall, I loved the idea and premise of this book, there were just a couple things that didn't work for me as a reader. I would definitely still try more from this author in the future.

2.5 stars

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