Published: February 20th, 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Gothic Fiction, Paramanoranol Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction
Thank you to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in this readalong and to HarperCollinsUK for the gifted copy of the book.
IT’S 1997. VIOLET IS A NEW STUDENT AT ELM HOLLOW ACADEMY AND DESPERATE TO FIT IN.
Quiet, artistic, unremarkable. When invited to an advanced study group by her alluring art teacher, Annabel, she is at once terrified and delighted.
There she meets Robin, Grace, and Alex: charismatic outsiders who invite her into their clique.
But once the study sessions on the school’s history of seventeenth-century witchcraft and magic become more than just theory, Violet must decide what she’s prepared to do in order to stay popular.
And maybe she’ll solve the mystery of what happened to a former member of their group. The one who went missing.
“Some things simply cannot be believed. Even when you know they’re true.”
The Furies is a story about power and vengeance. It follows four teenage girls full of insecurities and desperate to fit in who, like the mythological Furies, use their powers to punish evil deeds. It shows the force peer pressure can wield and the damage that can be done by choosing the wrong friends.
Violet is the new girl at Elm Hollow College, a prestigious school with a past steeped in rumours of witchcraft. She is soon befriended by Robin, who is the yin to Violet’s yang. The pair soon become inseparable and Violet becomes friends with Robin’s other friends Alex and Grace. After being invited to be part of a secret group by one of the teachers, Violet learns more about the school’s inauspicious history and the four girls begin to study witchcraft, using it to wield power and seek vengeance on those they deem deserving.
Violet and Robin are drawn to each other for very different reasons – one wants a follower, the other to be accepted. Violet is a quiet, intelligent girl who overthinks everything. She is still coming to terms with the death of her father and sister and is just trying to get through each day, preferring to blend into the shadows. Robin is gregarious, spontaneous and loves any kind of attention. She has a reputation as a bad girl that she thrives on. Violet is beguiled by her and blindly follows wherever she goes, finding herself drawn down a dark path of debauchery, obsession and death. I liked their differences and felt like deep down they both had a vulnerability that’s rooted in a need to belong and feel seen. At times it seemed a stretch how Violet would do whatever Robin wanted without thinking, but peer pressure is a strong thing and many teenagers find themselves in situations they’d never have even considered because a friend dared or encouraged them to do it.
The Furies opens with a stunning prologue full of beautiful prose that is at odds with the dark, macabre things being described. There is a promise of something sinister and foreboding. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is a slow-burn and feels a bit lacklustre after such a compelling start.
But while I didn’t love the book, I did like it. The atmospheric, lyrical prose draws you in and brings the world to life around you. I enjoyed the school lore and the interesting perspective on vengeance that is offered through the study of myth and witchcraft – something that was clearly well researched. I did find some things about this book a little disappointing, such as the story was told like a stroll down memory lane rather than the eerie, murder mystery that the prologue and synopsis teased. Also, I found the characters in the book unlikeable and was unable to bring myself to really care who lived or died or what had happened to the missing girl.
Overall, this was a well-written book that was just a little too slow and not witchy enough for me. It may be more suited to a younger reader and I would recommend this if you’re looking for a coming-of-age story rather than a mystery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Katie is a writer living in Worcester, UK, whose debut novel The Furies is published by Harperfiction (UK), St Martin’s Press (US) and eight other territories worldwide.
A graduate of the University of Birmingham, Katie has a BA(Hons) in English and an MPhil in Literature & Modernity. She returned to Birmingham in 2019 to complete a PhD in English Literature, with her thesis on female rage in literary modernism and the #MeToo era.
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