The Furies

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Member Reviews

This book was blurbed as a successor to the Craft, and in parts this is true, but equally apt is a partial comparison to The Secret History. In reality though this book was very hard to quantify. The tale of a new girl to an existing group of three friends who meet in secret and are displaying an increasing interest in spells and rituals is almost a trope, but this mixes in a tragic home life for our main character Violet which provides some real pathos as she tries to navigate a private school environment. What follows could be a supernatural tale of spell driven revenge and self destruction involving the mysterious disappearance of Violets predecessor in her new group - before escalating to encompass revenge, domestic violence, abuse and murder. Equally though the book presents the idea that magic is nothing more than a shared delusion as a product of simmering frustration at the place of women in the world harnessing their sense of rage and injustice.

As someone who would have been approximately this age at this time, (late 1990’s) and was brought up in a run down seaside town the nostalgia was very real. The teen feelings and behaviours rang true, as they made increasingly illogical, yet understandable, decisions. As an adult you can see an easy fix to a lot of the dramas and fraught situations they encounter, but their reactions were very appropriate (if heightened). 

Where this book really worked for me was the previously mentioned exploration of the place of women. It explores the expectations on young women around sex, explores a violent home life for one of the girls and the wilful way everyone politely ignores it. Through unorthodox history lessons it explores the erasure of powerful women in myth and hints at the power that could be drawn from those we do know of. It also shows how delicate friendships can be during hormonal teenage years, and how quickly misunderstandings and resentments take hold. 

The voice of the protagonist, Violet, is clear and distinct and the way in which she wastes her potential during the novel is both believable and frustrating. 

If you’re looking for an action packed explosive teen thriller with set pieces and supernatural whizzes and bangs, then this book is not for you. What you will discover is a careful study of the chaotic teen mind, an exploration of how friendship, loyalty and love can become sour and twisted, and an interesting study of what it shouldn’t, yet does, mean to be a young woman today. 

Very thought provoking.
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Urgh this book was SO frustrating because it was so close to being absolutely brilliant.

*insert Tyra Banks "I was rooting for you" GIF*

The opening is stunning, the description of a dead girl on a swing, dewdrops glittering in her hair, delicate silver chains binding her wrists is totally gripping and achieving a beautifully elegiac tone as Violet, our narrator, reflects back from a distance of 20 years.

It's when the narrative switches to the past, to tell the story of how the girl got there, that things weaken.

Because although crammed with so much good stuff - from feminist perspectives of the Greek myths, to the history of witchcraft and witch trials - the fatal flaw is that the characters just aren't that interesting.

So, for various reasons Violet washes up at an exclusive girls' private school, the evocatively-named Elm Hollow Academy, and immediately falls in with a gang of mysterious and glamorous girls. Or, we're told that they're mysterious and glamorous but (and herein lies the problem), they're just... not. At no point is this allure demonstrated to the reader; instead Robin, Alex and Grace come across as ciphers straight from teen-movie central casting. Equally, there's no tension or build-up to Violet becoming friends with them: she thinks they look cool, they ask her to go for coffee, and bang, instant best mates. This speed of set-up is necessary because there is so much action packed into the latter half of the book, mostly because there are so many villains on whom the girls, emboldened by their membership of a secret society at school, decide to get revenge.  

The Secret History, by which The Furies is clearly influenced, is so successful partly because it revolves around a single crime which is all the more terrible for its senselessness. Lowe could have done with taking a leaf from Tartt's book (no pun intended!) and choosing one storyline, one element of revenge, to focus on more closely. Because while the central message (best summed up as 'men are trash, and women have suffered for millennia because of that') certainly resonates with me, the narrative felt too scattered to do it justice.
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Well this book makes Mean Girls look like The Waltons!

That was going to be my review but then I thought I should probably write something a bit longer as the publisher was kind enough to lend me this to read.

I have mixed feelings about the book. I think it was good and can see the appeal it will have for many, but it wasn't for me. There are some very uncomfortable abuse/attack scenes which could have been off the page and still been as awful, so that lowered the score straight away. I also thought it was going to be more about the witchery aspect than it was. IT really is a story about teenage girls and their power struggle,clan mentality and sheer nastiness - jeepers I am SO pleased I am no longer in my teenage years! 

The characters were a mixed bag as well. Violet was the outsider and in a bad place as were all the others. But why did no one go to the police or authorities for help in some way?
. I feel a bit like I was missing something here, and again it might be a matter of personal preference (or me being a goody-two-shoes) but this bothered me throughout. The whole gang mentality of the girls was frightening to see develop and the witchery history of the school weirdly whispering around the edges. More focus on the witchery aspect would have been really good I think.

So, not at all what I thought it was going to be according to the blurb and marketing. Too much violence,abuse and dark shadows. Uncomfortable reading for me so not one I would recommend.
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I ended up giving this book three stars because, while I think it will be good for some people, it wasn’t quite for me. I’ve been having a think about what it was that didn’t quite gel with me, because there was a lot about this book that I enjoyed, and it ended up boiling down to pretty much just personal preference, so take what I say with a pinch of salt (or whichever condiment you prefer).

Content warning: On-page rape. Child abuse.

Violet. I think I was too much of a goody-two-shoes to connect with Violet. I just couldn’t quite understand some of the choices she made? I appreciate that she is set up as something of a damaged character, and one that is obviously vulnerable and susceptible to the pressure of others, but it did feel like she slipped into a life of drug taking (and worse) very quickly? I’m not sure I got enough of her character before she attended Elm Hollow to really appreciate either how the girls changed her, or how she was already in a bad place. I did kind of start off on the wrong foot with this book because I couldn’t really relate to the protagonist. I also have a hard time believing that none of the girls, particularly Violet who was more of the outsider from the start, would even consider contacting the police. I feel a bit like I was missing something here, and again it might be a matter of personal preference (or me being a goody-two-shoes) but this bothered me throughout.

The writing. This was one of the things I really enjoyed. This is one of the best examples of the ‘thing happens on page one and the rest of the book is building up to/explaining it’ kind of fiction. I thought that this book balanced the dramatic irony well and that the narrator (Violet in the future) read well on the page. You get those little inklings of things to come and it certainly hooks you. I was intrigued enough to want to keep reading all the way through to the end, this is the kind of story where you just must know how it concludes.

The Furies. The girls themselves. I did think that Lowe managed to capture the charisma and the otherworldly popularity that some teenage girls manage to have. I found than Robin was incredibly well-written (to the point where it is a bit more understandable as to why Violet would befriend her). I wasn’t as convinced by the other two, but I can see how they were necessary for the plot. What I did appreciate is that, while the girls aren’t uncool, they are also kind of on the fringe of school life. This isn’t just a ‘mean girls but darker’ narrative, Violet doesn’t have to hang out with them to gain clout at the school, they are cool partly because they aren’t mainstream. That felt like something a little more different in this kind of narrative.

Reading this book was a good experience, and it is certainly something outside of my comfort zone. With that being said, I don’t think this is a book I would re-read, it’s quite uncomfortable at times and it’s not very hopeful – which is something I need in a book. As I say, a lot of the issues I had with the book were personal preference and if you know that those things don’t bother you then I think you might really enjoy this story.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.

The Furies is publishing on May 2nd so if this is your cup-of-tea then preorder your copy now!
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Really enjoyed this book. Kept me thoroughly engrossed and can't wait to read more by the same author
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As an exploration of girls gone bad, this does a decent job, but it feels like an echo. It's been done before and better. Definitely more The Craft than The Secret History, the book struggled to hit the depth of character or theme necessary for it to be truly absorbing. The characters were light: Violet's voice held little attraction, overwhelmed by the darker threads of her new best friend, Robin, and the others are straight out of every teen drama you've ever seen/read. The problem is that it's just not that engaging, nothing explored to the necessary extent to give it real feeling, with actions lacking genuine motivations, consequences, or validity.

It nevertheless had some wonderfully pointed discussions about the danger of female power as told through mythic, literary, and artistic representation. As a huge fan of women in Greek tragedy, these parts spoke to me. Honestly, the secret society part was thrilling- if I had the opportunity to join, I wouldn't have been mucking around with witchcraft and murder, I would have been too busy reading. These moments are layered through the narrative, seemingly to explain or even incite the action, a whole history of female revenge with this as only the latest incarnation. It's not entirely convincing but my interest in the subject made me love these flashes regardless. 

There's so much potential in the writing here that I wanted to see more, and will read the author's next offering when it comes, but this just didn't hit the spot.

ARC via Netgalley
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The Secret History meets Girls on Fire meets The Graces. 

"It seems that women are doomed to two fates. It is our lot to either be seen as unpredictable and irrational mortals, maligned and repressed by the actions of men; or sacred beings, goddesses of higher realm, among the Fates and Furies."

The Furies is yet another YA novel that focuses on the potential toxicity of female friendships. Quite honestly, those are all my buzzwords and I will devour anything on the topic, no matter how many seemingly similar novels appear on the shelves. This book, however, also had something far more sinister to offer the reader, that appeared in the prologue and framed the narrative with its horrifying imagery. And right from this initial scene of terror I was hooked!

Asides from the interplay involved in teen girl friendships, academic settings are another of my bookish buzzwords. An elite school is erected for these fictional creations that could draw its source from many real-world alternatives. The abundance and the pretension lured me into this world and when this veneer became scratched Lowe exposed the sinister history it tremulously resided upon. The historic abuse of women and the rumoured witchcraft of those females deemed unsavoury is not a new discovery, and yet what Lowe does with this most certainly is. She brings home the image of the witch and lets it rest and grow, unknown and yet right in the heart of the patriarchal regime that once condemned it to the outskirts.

This is a novel ripe with sensual and sexual undertones that tainted every scene with an atmospheric foreboding that disallowed any facet to be taken at face value. The suspense mounts incrementally and ensures the reader is hooked to every word, as myth and history begin to collide with reality. Nothing can be trusted. All will be revealed. And in the wake of this discovery the reader will be left reeling.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. I really really tried to like this; it ticks all the boxes for what I want in a thriller but I’m afraid ultimately I felt disappointed and let down. 
This is narrated by Violet who is now a teacher at Elms Academy looking back at her teenage years starting from when she lost her sister and Dad in an accident and received a scholarship to Elms Academy. There she is selected for advance lessons by Annabel (who wasn’t in the book as much as I’d expected her to be nor was she pivotal plot-wise either) and befriended by Robin, Alex and Grace. The shoplift and do magic and the body of Emily Frost is found. Emily was Robin’s friend and looks eerily a lot like Violet...
There was so much potential with this book yet the story just doesn’t materialise. I thought the resemblance between Emily and Violet would have some sort significance but it’s only coincidental and hardly fledged out. While the prose was beautiful (even though it does turn purple at times), the biggest problem for me was that I just couldn’t connect with the 4 characters who were caricatures and interchangeable (as was all the female characters in this book frankly), as were their motivations for doing the things they did which was paper-thin and seemed to stem out of privileged white-girl boredom. The magic element in the book had no consequences, rules or any logic, was easily done without batting an eyelash and had absolutely no stakes, which resulted in me not caring about it at all unlike in The Secret History and in The Craft. Personally for me I felt like this book needed another draft or two to realise fully what it intends to do.
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Billed as The Craft meets The Secret History, I had high hopes for this novel.  

When loner Violet starts at prestigious private school and meets Robin, Grace and Alex, it seems like she's found a friendship group that really gets her. But what happened to their friend who died in the summer and what have their secret art history classes got to do with it? Witchcraft, jealousy, rumours, hormones and classical mythology combine to make a potentially potent mix.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel and much of the language was mesmerising and beautiful. The description of the girls in their prom clothes was incredible. But there were times where I was confused as to what was happening and I didn't really engage fully with Violet. She was clearly a very damaged person - her reactions and responses proved that, but I wanted that explored further. Robin was fascinating but as the tale was from Violet's POV I almost engaged more with Robin despite that.

I think this book was an incredible debut even if it didn't quite live up to its promise and I'd definitely be interested to see what Katie Lowe does next.
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Its 1998, and a teenage girl is found dead at Elm Hallow Academy, a school with a mysterious and menacing history. Violet is back in her hometown after an accident tore her family apart and took her away. As she arrives at the school she meet three girls, Robin, Grace and Alex. Before long she has joined an advanced learning group where she is thrown in to a history of the school and the novel takes a more mystical turn. 

The novel throws up predicable twists and turns but it’s a largely forgettable tale. Any good moment that came from the book came in the exposure and vulnerability of youth. There were several baffling moments throughout but the fragility was the only thing to take from it. The novel was set up to build up an intrinsic bond between the girls but it was left wanting from the get go. There was no incentive to care about any of them, despite any tragic back-story. It left any dramatic decision or friendship twist feeling flat and never built up any momentum. 

A story invested in magical dark arts limped to an end and was a disappointing read. There was one small segment about “Girls who don’t..” which was a mesmerizing extract, but that’s the only notable exception in an unmemorable read.
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As soon as I read the synopsis for this novel, I knew I just had to read it! Witchcraft, private school, a shady disappearance and mythological references? Count me in! 

The Furies was so much more than I expected. At times it was so insightful and touched on some really heavy topics like grief, substance abuse, sexual and physical assault to name a few. I also quite enjoyed the many literary references which are included throughout the book, it just made it more stimulating for me and taught me some more stories!

The story is told through the perspective of Violet, a teen girl who is utterly lost and isolated. After the accident which claimed the lives of her father and younger sister, it’s clear that Violet is struggling to deal with her grief. Whereas her mother seems to be in a downward spiral, Violet seems to be in denial completely. I think this is a realistic portrayal of grief and how it can manifest in such different ways depending on the individual. 

When Violet gains entrance to the prestigious Elm Hollow Academy, which has a mysterious and violent past, that’s where our story gets more twisted. When Violet meets the enigmatic and edgy Robin, she can’t help but be caught up in her and her world of parties, drugs and strange rituals…they can’t be real…or can they?

Lowe also does a great job in portraying the realities of toxic friendships and how they can have such a drastic effect on a persons life – in some cases irrevocably. Violet gets so caught up in the idea of Robin and is consumed by pleasing her and trying to live up to expectations. I feel like many readers will be able to relate or at least see some similarities between their own experiences and what Lowe so skilfully portrays with this relationship. 

Perhaps the most interesting element in the book is the fact that the story is told in hindsight by Violet. This added a sense of melancholy and a wistfulness to her recollections which was nothing short of haunting. I always find narratives like this fascinating and some of my favourite pieces of literature have this technique. 

Overall, while The Furies wasn’t quite the story I was expecting, in that it delved so much deeper and was so much darker than I thought it would be – it’s definitely worth a read. I could totally see this being a really successful film or mini series. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading Y/A with a female centric narrative as well as fans of Heathers or The Craft.
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The Furies is a dark literary thriller about friendship and the artistic history of female power and revenge. After an accident claims the lives of her father and sister, Violet ends up at a private girls' school for her A Levels, Elm Hollow Academy. It has a grisly history of witchcraft and Violet isn't sure she cares about being there, but then she's drawn into the world of Robin, a charismatic girl with red hair, and her friends Grace and Alex. Together they take extra classes with Annabel, an art teacher who follows the tradition of teaching a few students about mythology, art, and literature. The strange power she describes starts to sound like it could be real, and just when it does, the body of a missing former student and member of Annabel's study group is found on campus.

This is The Secret History crossed with a girls' school in the 90s and a sharp gothic edge. It follows a classic kind of structure for stories about a group in an isolated environment (here, a private school in a run down seaside town), with the narrator lonely and easily obsessed with their new friends. The narrative style is distinctive, causing purposeful confusion at times as Violet narrates with hindsight and leaving elements ambiguous. Notably, the witchcraft history—and the apparent summoning of the Furies of Greek mythology—is more of an inspiration and catalyst than the entire plot, and the story itself follows the tangles of friendship, violence, and revenge. 

Violet and Robin's friendship is crucial and well-written, tinged by Violet's perspective and her lack of self-awareness around it. Grace and Alex are also great characters, though it is a little frustrating that Violet often ignores them in favour of Robin, meaning they don't get as much exploration as they could. Otherwise, Violet's single-mindedness works well to create an atmosphere in which she doesn't notice much else going on outside of their circle, intoxicated by what they're doing and by drink and drugs.

The Furies may seem at first like it could be a young adult novel about toxic friendships, it turns into something much darker, in which the academic view of the teacher is essentially turned into reality by the students who aren't so captivated by the art and literature as by the meaning. This gives it a different edge to other reference-laden literary thrillers, as it is the drinking, dancing, and revenge that means most to the teenage protagonists. This is a book that fans of The Secret History, Heathers, and the new Netflix reboot of Sabrina (preferably of all three) will likely devour.
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Gorgeous gothic twisty book that delivered on all its promises for me. Cannot WAIT to see more from this author, love the writing and the atmosphere.
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This book has so, so much promise. But it just wasn’t for me as it didn’t live up to the blurb or what I wanted it to be. I found it hard to get into a little heavy and I found my mind wondering more times then I like in a book.
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Did not finish. Fell in love with the blurb and really wanted to love the story as well. Unfortunately it's dull and even after reading more than a third of this I have no idea what's going on! Language is pretty, elegant and flows nicely but it doesn't tell a good story.
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I LOVED this. Without doubt the best book I’ve read featuring toxic female friendship since “Girls on Fire” – The Furies is haunting, evocative and sits in your head, that underlying sense of menace and anticipation resonates throughout.

Violet desperately wants friendship, even as she tells herself she doesn’t need it, so when she is befriended by the enigmatic and edgy Robin and drawn into a circle of secrets and lies, she will do anything to protect it. Darkness and obsession, fatal ties and dangerous magic make for an utter page turner of a literary novel, with some beautiful writing and intelligent layered nuance.

The Furies is both observational and insightful, as Violet tells the tale of this fascinating group, of both love and hate, random happiness and sudden horror. Katie Lowe uses cutting edge prose to draw the reader into Violet’s world then doesn’t allow you to look away, it is utterly gripping from the vivid opening to the melancholy finish.

Absolutely excellent.

Highly Recommended.
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