Quick synopsis: 1998. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing. No known cause of death. Four girls know what happened. They’ve kept their silence. Until now.
Review: The Furies is a haunting, spell-binding novel set in the sinister grounds of Elm Hollow Academy. Witchcraft, wizardry and four wicked young women propel the plot behind this dark debut and, for me, it was an enchanting read, rich with beautiful prose, gorgeous, in-keeping, historical references and an interesting exploration of toxic teenage relationships.
The positives: The Furies is truly gripping at times. The characterisation is wonderful, especially Robin, the most devilish of them all. Robin takes Violet, our protagonist, under her wing and into the underworld of secret societies, alcohol-fuelled parties, drug-taking and criminal activity. The girls relationships were really twisted and I loved that about this book. I enjoyed the twist towards the end, too – which took me by surprise – and the almost supernatural imagery when we discover the Wych Elm’s secret. Beautifully harrowing!
The negatives: The story slightly loses its thrust in the mid-section, it’s not clear what the plan is or what we’re investigating. At times, a thread will be picked up and chased for a bit, then we’re onto something new, or not. As such the language, though beautiful, sort of gets in the way and I found myself skimming sections so I could get to the good bits that I knew, and were, right around the corner. For me, personally, the chapters could have been more concise – I think that might have helped keep things moving.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars.