The Furies

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Member Reviews

Four teenage girls and life in a private school, Elm Tree Hollow set in 1998.

I thought I was going to enjoy it, with hints of witchcraft and murder, but I found the whole thing rather unbelievable. Did the four girls ever attend all the lessons? 

I failed to finish the book, unfortunately..
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This is a disappointing debut. The premise, with all its intrigue and excitement, exploring young female friendship in a gothic setting of a modern day boarding school, is really not executed well. Lowe is guilty of significantly over-writing and perpetrating the idea of the 'cool' girl for every single character that she writes. I was really trying to push myself to continue reading. After the first 10%, you get the feeling that there's a superior tone in the writing, that you're supposed to read this and think it's a masterpiece. I have to admit, this book just fell flat as soon as the story started actually moving. The main character is immensely unlikeable and not in a good way. Just because the prose is trying to be intelligent, doesn't mean it's a good book. Not for me.
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This book centres on the new relationship between Violet, a young, grieving lonely girl seeking companionship, who becomes caught up with the ambiguous, Robin and her group who meet for an advanced study group, that discusses art and literature and most importantly disturbing events in the school's past.  What follows is an exploration of corrosive female relationships and a murder mystery; the reader follows Violet as she tries to work out what is happening and who can she trust.
With lots of gothic overtones, this mystery book is an engaging young adult novel that I'm sure many people will enjoy. 

Many thanks for the review copy!
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I really struggled to finish this book and on a few occasions I thought I would just give up. The problem with this book was I wasn’t invested in the characters as they were not the most likeable, particularly the main character Violet. My other problem with this book was it was really long winded and I struggled to work out what the overarching plot was, even as I neared the end of the book. I was disappointed too with the ending. On a positive the book was well written, it just lacked a decent plot
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Really wanted to like this book but just couldn't get into it.

I just did not like the characters and felt a bit frustrated by them at times
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Honestly? I didn't realise this book was about toxic female friendships. If I had I wouldn't have requested it because I have had enough of that in fiction (and in real life!) BUT it would have missed out. It may not have been what I wanted but The Furies was remarkably intelligent and authentic in its portrayal of girls against girls. It may not be something I want to see in fiction but there's no doubt it's important. There were times when it even rang a little too true for comfort. So my verdict is a great book, I'm sorry I didn't love it more.
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exhilarating days of youth. A private school at the centre of seventeenth century witch trials is haunted by centuries of murder, magic, and revenge. Violet starts her new school, and is quickly drawn into a web of secrets by her new and mysterious friends. Anxieties around the potential of female power are brought to terrifying life as the group of friends experiment with ancient spells and rituals. We follow the latest generation of persecuted women as they discover their true and ferocious power. This is no supernatural thriller, however, but a book that explores the disordered and twisted teen mind after spilt blood and tragedy.  

Themes of sexual violence, and violence.
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I had differing views on this book as I read it.
Some of the language is delightful and thought provoking but this is interspersed with characters that are nit engaging..
The main protagonist Violet  is not a likeable person and the other girls in the secret club are similar with the exception of Robin who I found to be the most engaging character..
The storyline is difficult to follow at times and I had to reread certain parts to follow the plot or rather the subplots.
The secret club run by Annabel was well thought out.
I have given the book 3 stars for reasons above and because I struggled to read to the end - taking me several days in total.
The ending was written well.
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The narrator, Violet, is the new kid at a prestigious all girls school, and is immediately befriended by Robin and her friends. After a few weeks, this friend group turns out to be a part of a secret club, and Violet is invited to join the club as along as she promises to keep it a secret. What transpires is a pull-and-tug of Violet's will, with the girls practicing witchcraft with dangerous consequences, and it all ultimately comes down to the question of, just how far will Violet go to be one of the gang? How will everything that happens, end?

This just didn't go the way I thought it would. I found I was detached whilst reading this, because I didn't really enjoy the book for a multitude of reasons. I wasn't invested in the characters because they weren't likeable or well developed, the prose was long-winded at times and it was far too slow to really get me as a reader connected to the story. I contemplated DNFing this at least 3 times, but I persevered to the end.

For me, the area that let this book down was unlikeable and poor characters, and random/inconsistent attempts of character development.  The main character, Violet, wasn't a naturally likeable character. I couldn't stomach how little self-respect she had, albeit I understand why she had this issue, due to how she felt as a social outcast.  I think it’s always difficult to engage a reader when the narrator isn’t likeable, which was what happened here.  Any chance of resolving this problem was lost, as Violet was completely written off in my book after her random "sashaying hips out the room" moment.

Ironically, I felt Robin was the most explored and completed character, despite her not being the story's narrator. I felt her actions were understandable by the establishment of who she was as a character. However, I felt this didn't happen for Violet, which was really frustrating and confusing.  And the other two girls – Grace and Alex – were portrayed as so secondary, they felt rather irrelevant.

It felt like the book was brimming with a handful of subplots that muddled any distinction of what the overarching plot was. Even now, with it being finished, I still find this tricky. All the subplots weren't explored enough to a satisfying level to have much of an impact.  For me, it was only at about 60% to the end of the book, that was actually interesting.  I found the prose throughout was too focused on describing things like room layouts, the weather etc., when it could have been used to improve the character problems.

I appreciated the use of mythology as a backdrop to the ongoings of the four main girls activities, it supported their behaviour as a foreshadowing technique and/or as a way of inducing the strong belief that witchcraft was the course of action the girls should take, to right the wrongs done to them.  However, at times, the mythology/history felt a little overkill. 
I liked how through the girls friendships, a psychological power was explored, for example, how people can obtain power through exerting influence over another person.  I also really liked the minor twist at the end (involving the fish tank).

My advice on whether prospective readers should read this: if you like straightforward and clearly reasoned plots, I wouldn't recommend this. Or, if you can enjoy stories that leaves the reader to create motives and what not, maybe give it a go.  
Overall, I read this over 2 days and I’m rating it 2 stars. There were too many problems than elements that I liked, and I was left feeling that, I most definitely wouldn't kill to be one of them.

Thank you kindly to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an e-copy, in exchange for this honest review.
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In a world where Sabrina and Riverdale reign Netflix-supreme - The Furies hits every note pitch perfect for a wonderfully macabre YA tale. It's completely entrancing and gloriously bewitching. I was gripped from the first page. Katie Lowe laces her story with the heady intensity of teenage friendships and the intoxicating pressure of infatuation. With a gory series of crimes at the centre of this Gothic tale, The Furies will be the book of 2019 that gets all the tongues wagging.
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I so wanted to love this book - it's like a witchy, slightly YA The Secret History. The writing is, in places, really great, and I was almost under its spell. However, the whole thing felt quite uneven, the pace lagged often, and the book felt like it could have done with another edit. Amazing atmosphere, great potential, but didn't quite deliver for me in the end.
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But undecided on this, I enjoyed the story but found the characters a bit flat and couldn’t really like them/empathise so it left me at odds 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest review
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I really enjoyed this book. Though the characters aren’t that likeable, they are compelling. Unique premise, well executed. Proper page turner.
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The opening image of THE FURIES is a striking and poignant one: the body of a teenage girl sits on a swing, dressed in white. How did she get there? How did she die? This is the story of how she ended up in that state…

THE FURIES is a novel tailor-made for those who devour dark, witchy thrillers like THE GRACES, but I’d say it’s adult rather than YA (it’s being published as adult). It has definite crossover appeal, though, and I can see any fans of witchcraft-infused mysteries snapping this up quickly.

The novel is narrated through the voice of Violet, a teenage girl who has lost her father and sister in a terrible accident. She joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private school in coastal town which has its own dark history involving witchcraft and murder. Violet is soon absorbed into a small society formed of three other girls and her art teacher, Annabel – and together they study the classics and arts and literature. What starts as an exclusive and advanced study group soon becomes something more twisted – despite Annabel’s warnings, the four girls become convinced that magic exists, and that they can control it. These beliefs have deadly results.

Violet and Robin are fairly intriguing characters, though they felt very familiar – Violet, as the new girl, has a past swamped in sadness, and Robin is exciting and dangerous to her. I felt Grace and Alex – the other two members of the group – were a bit flat in comparison and so it didn’t really feel like they were a “four”. It was more like the book was about Violet and Robin, while Grace and Alex were just sort of there to fill out the rest of the group. I think this book was definitely an example of concept over characters – the witchy, thrilling atmosphere was what kept me going, not any attachment to the figures of the story.

I really enjoyed watching the girls sink further and further into their beliefs that they had power, and must use that power to commit vengeance on the men who deserved punishment. The suspense grows with every chapter, and when the inevitable climax is reached, I found myself both satisfied and in quiet horror. The references to images of witchcraft and female power and toxicity were carefully woven through the narrative, expertly invoking images of witches taking their revenge for centuries of female oppression.

The language of THE FURIES is lyrical and flowery, and it’s for this reason I would place this book into the adult fiction category. It has a very “literary” quality to it – the prose wanders at times in a stream of consciousness and the plot can be quite slow-moving on occasion. I feel that had it been YA, it would have been a little more pacy, and a bit shorter. However, if you loved books like THE GRACES and GIRLS ON FIRE, and appreciate some delicate language, then you should pick this one up.
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The Furies as a legend/myth is something I have heard about before so I was expecting lots of spells and the Furies turning up a lot. I was a little disappointed that they were only ‘seen’ once and not really many spells or rituals happened either. 
That said, I really enjoyed the history of Elm Hollow Academy, it was explained in great detail, which is great as it helps the mind vision it.
The friendship between the four girls seemed quite strange to me as it felt like two of the girls were only interested in Violet when Robin was about, It felt as though Violet tried too hard to be accepted into the group and she felt awkward at times.  She seemed to be lead easily, maybe because of her past and her home life and wanting to ‘fit in’.
It was a slow starting book, but it did get better as it went along, it was written well but when the book ended I felt that something was missing.
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The Furies, the four of us, taking revenge. The things that we could do, the power we possessed...
Our narrator, a sixteen year old girl with the rather unlikely sounding name of Violet, is the survivor of an accident which killed her father and sister. Her mother, endlessly trapped in grief, has more or less checked out of normal life; Violet, funded by the accident compensation, begins attending a private girls’ school, Elm Hollow, which she soon learns has a dark history of witchcraft and death.

Befriended by the unpredictable Robin - who for a lot of the time doesn’t seem entirely mentally well - and her friends Alex and Grace, Violet soon finds herself enraptured by her new friends and fully absorbed in their twisted world. But what really happened to the original fourth member of the group, the mysteriously disappeared Emily Frost, who Violet apparently resembles? What are the girls - possibly with the encouragement, or at least complicity, of alarming art teacher Annabel - prepared to do in the name of revenge?

The Furies is a very well written and eventful story (there are a number of deaths, some of them fairly blood-soaked) but for some reason I struggled to really engage with it. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood. Violet, even while recounting some very painful and intense experiences, felt strangely detached, and by extension so did I. By the end, I was trying to get my head around everything that had happened and why - I’m still not sure I fully understood it all. And I’m still not sure how a girl manages to die while seated on a swing and not immediately fall off.

I think a lot of people will love this book and I did enjoy reading it, but somehow it never quite pulled me in to the extent I hoped it would. That said, the author does a good job of depicting the febrile, dangerous world of these teenage girls and the character of Robin, in particular, is very well done.
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Captivating from the first page, Lowe creates a vivid world peopled with relatable characters, chilling in their plausibility. Superbly written and relentlessly paced, we are left breathless, shocked anew by each turn of the page yet unable to turn away.
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This book felt like a cross between Secret History and The Craft and I wanted to love it so much. I loved the delving into witchcraft and the search in ancient myths and legends for its origins and I really enjoyed how it explored toxic female friendships. Unfortunately I found it a little slow and I wasn't fully engrossed or captivated by the story, I didn't find myself wanting to constantly go back to it. Saying that, I did still enjoy it and I think it will absolutely appeal to people when it's released.
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This book was described to me as "The Secret History meets Girls on Fire meets The Graces" and so I knew I absolutely HAD to read it straight away ... and while I feel like this book never quite touched the lofty bar set by Donna Tartt's novel of secret societies dabbling in the occult and the occasional murder, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story. Violet and Robin were excellent depictions of uncertain teen girls masking their insecurities with ballsy bravado, and the mystery of what happened to Emily Frost kept me reading well into the night.
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Some stories have the power to suck you in from the very first time you lay your eyes on the pages; The Furies opens with a dead girl on a swing, so it’s clear from the get go we are dealing with something dark and delicious here.

Set in 1998, The Furies tells the story of Violet, Robin, Alex and Grace, four teenage girls who have a taste for witchcraft. They all go to Elm Hollow Academy (if that’s not a creepy enough name, I don’t know what is), an all girl’s school, famous for being founded by a woman who was later executed for being a witch. Was she really one? Or was she an innocent victim, so much like other women during that time?

Back in 1998 I was the same age as these girls, and guess what. I was super into all things witchy. I had a ton of books on the occult, spells, mythology, and was secretly hoping witches are actually real. What a trip down memory lane this was! The girls however are way more advanced than I ever could have dreamed of. They attend super secret meetings with Annabelle, the odd art teacher, and even practice some of the dubious rituals they found in those old books to exact revenge on those who wronged them. Do these work? Well, you tell me!

I was lost and mesmerized, as the the events unfolded; chill crept down my spine and the subtle creaking noises in the house took on a sinister, hidden meaning. But not all evil is coming from the spirit world. Some are very, very real. Bullies, manipulative people who bring out the worst in you, push you to do things you never wanted to do are way worse and their numbers are plenty at Elm Hollow.

While the author got quite heavy handed on the atmosphere and the creepy vibes, the four girls seemed a bit superficial, including Violet, our narrator. They are surrounded by people, and yet, the school somehow felt empty. For me this didn’t take away from the enjoyment however; I was carried away with all the doom and gloom just fine, and found the stories about the tragic Greek heroines absolutely fascinating.

A beautifully written, haunting novel, The Furies puts a disturbing twist on teenage friendships. After school clubs will never feel the same again!
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