The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith
Available now from Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR (Macmillan)
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I enjoyed Alexander Gordon Smith's Escape from Furnace series and looked forward to THE FURY. But then, I almost put it down immediately because I had a major Do Not Want in the first couple of passages. Daisy, one of the main characters, mentions that she's almost thirteen.
I know I'm getting old when that's enough to make me hesitant to keep reading. I mean, I knew I was signing up to read a novel where teens faced a great deal of violence, but almost thirteen?!
I'm quite happy that I stuck with it, however. THE FURY is not a conventional horror novel at all, and it almost becomes an outright fantasy adventure at the end. It takes several unconventional turns that keep things interesting and fresh throughout the many pages. This book is an absolute brick, but it reads surprisingly fast. I finished the last five hundred pages in half a day.
There are a lot of characters. The main three, initially, are Daisy, Cal, and Brick. They have very different temperaments, and readers are likely to identify with at least one of them. The characters, minor, major, likeable, unlikeable, multiply quickly after that. I didn't find it too hard to keep track, but I warn you not to become too attached to anyone. I did like how Smith managed to develop a variety of characters amongst all the plot. Everyone with a scene through their point of view has a personality and independent motivation.
I quite liked THE FURY. It's fast, thrilling, and ultimately optimistic. I don't think I could take all the scares and brutality if the book weren't kind in the end. And Cal and Daisy's budding brother/sister relationship is absolutely adorable. It's a different sort of read, and I suspect it will attract reluctant readers despite its hefty size.